200th Anniversary St. John’s, Ida 1819 - 2019
In 2019, throughout the year we celebrated the 200th anniversary of Christian ministry here at St. John’s, “the church on the hill just north of Cavan”. We began to gather as a congregation in 1819, in the cabin of the Rev. Joseph Thompson, a Church of England missionary for the Society of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. Our present church and cemetery stand on part of his original land grant which he described in one of his letters as being situated “in the wastelands of the crown”. When our church was founded the Diocese of Toronto did not exist. We were part of the Diocese of Quebec.
We marked this significant year in our history a number of ways. A Homecoming Service in late June gave us the opportunity to reunite with former clergy and parishioners. We shared memories. Historical records, photographs, maps and drawings, provided insight into our origins and the challenges our fore-bearers faced. With our Community Day in early August we thanked our friends and neighbours throughout the area for their support over the years. A BBQ, ice cream, face painting, bouncy castle and tours of the church and cemetery were provided without cost for all who attended.
We celebrated in song with a concert by the quartet “4 Heaven’s Sake”. We became part of the Cavan-Monaghan Barn Quilt Trail with the erection of a 4 foot by 4 foot “quilt block” bearing the Christian symbols of crosses and fishes. We have marked the occasion, too, by producing a photo directory of our congregation. Special speakers have been part of our celebration.
In April, Bishop Victoria Matthews spoke about “Living as God’s Resurrection People”. In October, Rev. Alan Hayes gave us historical insight with his presentation, “St. John’s and the Anglican Vision for Upper Canada.” In typical St. John’s fashion, each talk was accompanied by a meal. We have had visits from our Primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz; our Area Bishop Ryscilla Shaw and our Diocesan Bishop, Andrew Asbil.
As we enter 2021, our 202nd year of Christian witness in this community, pray that we will be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit so that we will continue to be a light of Christ’s Hope on the hill just north of Cavan – and beyond.