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Hitting the high notes: Summerside church hosts annual hymn-sing fundraiser for new roof

St. Mary's Church rector Rev. Colin Nicolle points to the roof and custom-crafted crosses that were recently installed. The congregation is holding a hymn sing fundraiser in May.
St. Mary's Church rector Rev. Colin Nicolle points to the roof and custom-crafted crosses that were recently installed. The congregation is holding a hymn sing fundraiser in May. - Prabhjit Kaur
SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. —

A Summerside congregation is looking to raise the roof with its voices – literally.

St. Mary’s Anglican Church is sending the proceeds from its annual Memorial Hymn Sing to a fund set up for a new roof and locally crafted crosses they recently had installed.

Anyone can sponsor a hymn for a small fee.

“It’s an opportunity for people to remember their loved ones. It’s a time when you get together as a community and recognize them,” said Rev. Colin Nicolle, priest at the church.

St. Mary’s Anglican Church is the oldest Anglican church in Summerside. The original sanctuary was built in 1861, but it was destroyed in the downtown fire of 1906. The congregation rebuilt it 1909.

“It’s been both our hall and community centre for everything,” Nicolle said. “People know us for music, for worship and for all kinds of things we do.”

“Some people are not brave enough to come out on their own yet. This is a way for them to come out as a group.”
-Clair Sudsbury

The Anglican Church represents the oldest part of Canada in the sense that people have been worshipping in the Anglican faith since before confederation.

“It’s special because it’s a spiritual home to people and it’s been a home for people for years,” he said.

These churches represent how families have worshiped for generations, said Nicolle. But, as is often the case, with age come necessary repairs for a congregation that has kept its aging building. 

“We weren’t having any major problems yet, but we know it’s just around the corner if (the roof) wasn’t done,” he said.  

Clair Sudsbury is a member of the fundraising committee for the St. Mary’s Memorial Hymn Sing. He knows just how much the building needed a new roof.

“It was old. The [last] repair was done 18-20 years ago,” said Sudsbury.

The fundraising event has been going on for about 10 years. It rotates between the two Anglican churches in Summerside each year.

Guest singers have been invited to sing with the choir for the special event. The audience is invited to join in as well.

Not only an opportunity to remember the loved ones, the event will help people connect with each other, Sudsbury said.

“People can come in and participate rather than just sit and listen,” said Sudsbury.

People who feel hesitant to explore the Anglican church on their own can visit for the hymn sing.

“Some people are not brave enough to come out on their own yet. This is a way for them to come out as a group,” said Sudsbury.

The hymn sing is May 5, at St. Mary’s Anglican Church at 7 p.m. Anyone is welcome to dedicate a hymn in memory of a loved one by calling the church at 902-888-2234. Hymns are $15 each. Deadline is April 26.

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