By Wendy Elliott
Physical symbols of seven United Churches came together July 1 during the first service of the Orchard Valley United Church.
Barb Rushton presented a tall, white Christ candle to represent St. Paul and St. Stephen in Kentville.
The New Minas congregation offered two hand crafted plant stands made by Judson Parks.
A Bible from Trinity United Church in Canning carried some family history. It was given by William Burbidge and his sister Margaret Newcomb in memory of the their parents, who were married in 1896.
The 102-year-old Canning church was recently sold. There has been a church on the site since 1854.
Betty Currie, representing United Church Women, contributed two vases from the Lower Horton United Church, which burned in the 1960s. They have been in use since then at the Covenanter Church in Grand Pre.
A quilted wall hanging of Cape Blomidon crafted by Louise Perrin was the symbol from St. Andrew’s United Church in Wolfville. Claudia Tugwell explained it was traditionally hung during Lent.
A British-style communion table that first belonged to the Chipman Corner church, which moved to the Upper Canard Presbyterian Church in 1857, was at the Canard United Church for many years.
Mark Pound and his family presented a quilt made by young families at the Greenwich United Church.
John Peach of Valley Presbytery and Rev. Philip Kennedy, president of Maritime Conference, both spoke. Kennedy called the process of unifying seven churches, “an opportunity to rethink a congregation in this world and here in this Valley.”
June 24 was Rev. Robyn Brown Hewitt’s last service in Wolfville. She served the pastoral charge for 13 years.
Brown Hewitt has officiated at 93 weddings, 51 baptisms and 109 funerals. Over 125 people became members of the congregation.
Wolfville poet Wanda Campbell read a poem entitled Blessed Be the Tide that was commissioned for the occasion. A group of women in the congregation sang a medley in honour.
The same Sunday marked the final service at the United Church of St. Paul and St. Stephen in Kentville. Rev. Randy Crozsman called it a celebration of all the church has been to the community.
A luncheon afterward allowed the congregation to view a photo-filled display of church history.
Summer services for the new Orchard Valley United Church will take place at 10 a.m. at New Minas United Church and 11 a.m. at Covenanter Church in Grand Pre.