Reverend Mrs. Burgess arrives to celebrate St. Andrew’s Church 250th anniversary

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Photo: Ken Schankler
Rev. Katherine Burgess, new minister at St. Andrew’s

Following her retirement after 30 years as a teacher of music, English and French, Rev. Katherine Burgess said she heard God’s calling. That led her to a degree in Theology at McGill University and, finally, to St. Andrews Church.

"Gosh," said Burgess, who has been at St. Andrews since August. "It sounds flippant, but it's not."

"I arrived here on the 25th of August and it's been non-stop ever since," said Burgess, who comes from "a little town called Wabush" in Labrador. Prior to her arrival here, she was invited to preach at the church in June.

Sunday, Burgess presided over the 250th anniversary celebration at the church, which included church dignitaries, as well as the Choir of St. Andrews Church in Ottawa. The 78th Fraser Highlanders bagpipe ensemble also performed. The church has been marking this anniversary for most of this year.

 

 

78th Fraser Highlanders honor St. Andrew’s

 

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Photo: Ken Schankler,
The 78th Fraser Highlanders practice in the church yard at St. Andrews as part of the festivities marking the church’s 250th anniversary.

After Sunday's service, the crowd that filled the old church on Rue Sainte-Anne gathered outside for refreshments while the Highlanders performed. Though the church has been in existence since 1759, it has been at its current locale since 1810. Kirk Hall, the site of the oldest English school in Quebec, stands a few feet away, as does the Morrin Centre.

For her part, Burgess said changing times helped her attain a position that not that long ago would have been impossible.

"I'd always been in a church," said Burgess, "but there was no room for a woman."

Burgess replaced Dr. Stephen Hayes, who joined St. Andrews in 2004.

 

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Photo: Ken Schankler

The choir of St. Andrews Church, which sang at Sunday’s service at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church on Rue Sainte-Anne commemorating the church’s 250th anniversary.

Over the years, the church's membership declined with the departure of the city's English-speaking population. But Burgess sees a brighter future ahead.

"It's been absolutely wonderful," she said. "We have some young families here and it's hopeful for the future," she said.