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Contribution of clergy recognized in eastern Kings County

Published on July 13, 2017

A century old now, Canon Russell Elliott, left, greets his old friend from New Ross, Webster Lenihan, who is 97 at the reception.

©Wendy Elliott

PORT WILLIAMS, NS – On July 9 two venerable clergymen from eastern Kings County were recognized in two services.

Rev. Tim McFarland led the service at the Covenanter Church July 9 and the planting of the Japanese Stewartia tree honouring Dr. James R.C. Perkin.
Wendy Elliott

An overflowing church was a testament to the good life Canon Russell Elliott has been living. His 100th birthday was celebrated at St. John’s Anglican Church near Port Williams and the reception featured three cakes.
The Most Rev. Arthur Peters lauded Elliott for the meaningful impact he has had on the church and the wider community.
In 2011, Elliott, who lives in Wolfville, marked seven decades as an Anglican priest. He still offers a brief homily at monthly services at the Wickwire House Assisted Living Facility.
Ordained in 1941 in Christ Church, in his home village of New Ross, Elliott went on to serve parishes in Pugwash, Wallace, Bridgetown, Lantz, Fairview and Liverpool. He was an archdeacon for 15 years, serving Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. In 1979, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of King’s College.
The priest many call Father Elliott will always be known as a member of the Anglican Fellowship for Social Action, more commonly the Briefcase Boys. They were a group of young clergy who worked during the 40s and 50s to challenge the church to recognize and respond to the social implication of the Gospel. Elliott chronicled those efforts in his 1996 book, The Briefcase Boys. He was awarded a lifetime membership with the Nova Scotia Democratic Party several years ago.
Elliott also wrote a 1999 memoir about growing up in New Ross entitled As the Twig is Bent. Like many Nova Scotians born during World War II, his coming of age reflected a great shift in the Canadian context – from a rural, agricultural-based society toward a modern, urban society. In his memoir, he exploring the physical and social environment that was his introduction to the world.
Since moving to Wolfville in 1983, he has been active on a number of boards, including Tideways, L’Arche-Homefires and the Wolfville Area Inter-Church Council.

Honouring Dr. James R.C. Perkin
A tree was planted on July 9 to honour Dr. James R.C. Perkin who is minister emeritus of the Covenanter church in Grand Pre.
Beginning in 1973 Perkin became involved with the renewal of summer services along with Rev. Lloyd Archer. A year later a fall series was added.
Perkin was the main architect, outlining themes each year. In 1984 a Christmas Eve service was added.
Lynn McLelland spoke of the many blessings Perkin “brought to us and we continue to rejoice in the traditions he established that have helped to shape this community.”
She added that Perkin “maintains a distinguished presence in the hearts and minds of so many.”
Perkin was president of Acadia University from 1981 – 1993.