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The stone church of St. Columba was dedicated in 1869, replacing an earlier wooden structure.

St. Columba anniversary book a “labour of love”

St. Columba Presbyterian Church in Kirk Hill celebrates the 200th anniversary of its founding this year. To honour the occasion, a group of dedicated volunteers spent two years compiling a commemorative book, St. Columba Presbyterian Church, Kirk Hill, Celebrating 200 Years: 1819-2019.

Audrey Nixon-Crawford, the book committee’s chairperson, said the idea for the book was conceived over two years ago. Initially a plan to develop a timeline of events of the church, Nixon-Crawford and other church members thought a book would serve as a worthy permanent record.

A committed group of volunteers joined Nixon-Crawford for the book project. The two-year timeline made it an ambitious undertaking and committee members worked tirelessly to see it to fruition.

“As head of the committee, I have lived and breathed this project for the past two years,” says Audrey Nixon-Crawford, “but I was assisted by many wonderful people.” Committee members, including Evelyn Westgate, Jessica MacLeod, Lynda Heinsma, Flora Poulton, Margie MacGillivray, Kathy Ryan, and Anne MacGillivray, each brought a wealth of skills to see the book project to completion.

Church and Glengarry Archive records were pored over, photos collected, and current and former church members were contacted to share their memories. Committee members decided to divide the church’s history into 50-year segments, says Nixon-Crawford.

To illustrate important events in each segment, they researched various organizations within the church, such as the Ladies’ Aid group and Sunday School. They also gathered information on gifts to the church, artifacts, banners, and plaques. Cemetery records were delved into, as well as war records to identify those members who had served in the world wars.

Photographs proved to be challenging for the book committee, says Nixon-Crawford. Not only did committee members have to choose among hundreds of photos to use for the book, they had to identify each person in every photo.

The hardcover book will be dedicated on Sunday, June 2, at a special 200th Anniversary service at the church at 11 a.m. Everyone is welcome to attend. Period dress or hats are encouraged but not mandatory. The service features a Gaelic precentor, Darrel MacLeod, and guest speaker the Reverend Jean Franklin Harms, who attended St. Columba in her formative years and now lives in Hamilton.

Music will be provided by the Campbell Trio from Alexandria and Kirk Hill’s own pipe band. Lunch will be served in a tent and there will be displays of historical artifacts and a slide show of photos that did not make it into the book.

St. Columba Church is in Kirk Hill at 20950 Laggan-Glenelg Road (County Road 24) in North Glengarry. Copies of the 200th Anniversary book will be for sale at $60 each

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Barbara Lehtiniemi

Barbara Lehtiniemi is a writer and photographer from North Glengarry, Ontario.
Barbara Lehtiniemi
Follow me

Barbara Lehtiniemi

Barbara Lehtiniemi is a writer and photographer from North Glengarry, Ontario.

barb-lehtiniemi has 26 posts and counting.See all posts by barb-lehtiniemi

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