Monday, May 28, 2007

Busy weekend - auction

Saturday I spent all day at an auction, and I mean ALL day! I left at 7:00 AM (late, as usual - I'd wanted to leave at 6:30 but I had to keep doing things for the kids and get a load of laundry in, so I didn't leave on time), and it was a 2 hour drive west to a farmhouse in the vicinity of Godfrey. It was a very beautiful location; there are lakes everywhere around there, and the property was a small house on 17 acres, with ponds behind it, and a tall rocky hill covered with woods that stretched out of view. I'd have loved to live in a place like that.

I got there at 9:00, precisely the start time for the auction, so I had to browse about the tables and try to keep an eye out for anything interesting that might come up for auction. You wouldn't believe the amount of stuff that was in this place! A lot of it had been stored in the barn, but the auction went on until 6:30PM! Then we had to stand in line for an hour to pay for our purchases - don't know why it was so slow, everyone was commenting on it. And after that, a 2-hour drive back home, so I didn't arrive back in Ottawa until 10:00. I really don't like being out that long; I prefer an auction I can go to and get back from in time for supper, but this one was worth it overall.

I finally got something we've been wanting for a long time - a deepfreeze! It's 10 cu.ft., about 2 years old, but looks brand new, cost $130, and it was just the right size to fit into the van. Dean and I got it into the house on Sunday. Now that we're turning into such farmers, raising our own produce and all, I feel we need somewhere besides the fridge to store stuff. Of course, as soon as I say that I think I'll cut up some rhubarb and freeze it, he's asking if he can't take it to the office and distribute it to people there instead. Oh well, it's not like we can't do both - the rhubarb is getting pretty big, and I've already made 3 pies.

That was the big purchase, but I got a few other things too, including a set of 1970s stainless steel cutlery with a nice modernist pattern for about $25 - now I can get rid of all that tarnished mismatched stuff we've been enduring for the last 2 years. The lady whose estate was being settled had been a primary school teacher, and I also got a box of very old schoolbooks. I swear I recognize some of them, but it may just be the font that they're printed in. There's something about those old fonts - they just don't use them anymore, and the minute you see them, you're back in the 60s. I'll scan a page or two just to show you. There was also a box of old recipe books and clippings, some of which are quite hilarious. My favourite so far was an ad from a 1967 special holiday recipe edition of the Detroit News. An ad for The Honey Baked Ham Co. was advertising hams for your holiday dinner (Christmas or Thanksgiving, they didn't say which), and the slogan read, "So good it will haunt you 'til it's gone". HAUNT you! That's not the first term I'd think of to describe a good ham.

There were also very interesting things to look at at this auction. Among all the bric-a-brac were several pieces of church furnishings, including a huge solid brass eagle lectern. There were also 2 church pews, but those aren't so unusual to find in country homes; what went for a big price was a couple pieces of solid wood panels with arched moldings. I don't know just what they were, but they looked like the front panels from a choir stall. They were very popular (well, comparatively popular - went for just of $100, I think). I was also sad to see a big pile of padded kneelers and a padded altar rail.

From talking to people, I learned that these things had come out of the Anglican Church in Verona, a few miles north, which had been closed about 2 years ago. I tried to find some information about it when I got home, but the most I could find was this planning report for the whole Diocese of Ontario. Verona is dealt with near the end, where it reads,

There were historically three churches in this parish, recently the church in Verona and Harrowsmith were closed. Verona has been sold and the Harrowsmith church is up for sale. The Rev. Art Turnball is the Priest in Charge. He has only been in the parish a few months. St. Paul's Sydenham is a very important location north of Kingston. The average Sunday attendance is 44; the age breakdown of the parish shows an aging congregation. This is already starting to change with the new incumbent.

The new incumbent has been working to enhance the worship and Christian education in the parish. They had a very positive Vestry meeting and several new members are now on Parish Council. They have a small Sunday school and are starting to see new families and young people in the parish. A Server's Guild has been started to get young people involved and community events are being used as an opportunity to meet people. He is running a Lenten Study "Essentials for the Church in the 21st Century" including some book studies. There are 10 to 12 people signed up for it. He hopes that this group may become a new core for the congregation. Integrating the newcomers into a close-knit congregation is often a challenge. There are a handful of people from Harrowsmith that have joined the parish. There are none from Verona attending at this time. Most of the Verona members attend the United Church where they have friends.
And thus it was that Verona's handsome brass lectern ended up at a country auction, where it was sold for $350. It just seems like such a sad way for a church to end up; and the remaining members drifted off to the United Church. I guess they were probably old people, as many are in the churches out there, and didn't want to travel to go worship with some strangers, they stayed where their friends were.

The whole report is pretty sad, actually. On page 29, there's a graph showing the aging of the diocese, compared with the general population of the area. Twice as many people over 65 as there are in the surrounding population. No wonder the whole thing is an endless litany of "final generation churches", which have to be provided with a sort of hospice care for their final years.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The church's name in Verona was St. Martin In The Fields. Al quite sad after 175 years of people who built and kept a church going though all kinds of difficulties

Loughborough Parish
The Anglican circuit was formed in 1848 with Portland, Spafferton, Petworth, Wilmur and Kingston.
Includes St. Paul’s, Sydenham; St. Peter’s, Harrowsmith; St. Martin’s-in-the-Field, Verona; and St.
Andrew’s, Murvale. St. Paul’s was built Conc V lot 3 in 1837 and consecrated in 1852. In 1910 the
property was bought by the CNR. The church was torn down and a new stone church was built in its
present location.

Murvale, St. Andrew
Date of erection uncertain. First mentioned in the Ontario Synod Journal of 1929. Demolished in 195p.

4:48 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Thanks for finding the name - I looked but couldn't seem to find anything. It was as if the place had just been wiped out. And it is sad, because it was obviously a place of some history, predating Confederation.

9:15 pm  
Anonymous ellie m said...

No, no, this can't be true! Our revisionist masters say the Anglican church is thriving and growing! Thriving and growing, do you hear?! Obviously we must be, or why else would my diocese be placing so much emphasis on evangelism... uh... hmm.

12:42 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

And they'll keep saying that, ellie, until the last clod of earth plops down on the last Anglican coffin! Look at St. Paul's Sydenham in this excerpt - it's "an important parish" north of Kingston - now the only Anglican parish for about 40 miles. And even with the closing of 2 other parishes, its weekly attendance is...44. And this is after a new rector has arrived, and started to "turn things around". I've got nothing bad to say about the new rector, whom I don't know at all - it sounds like he's got a lot of ideas and energy, and I wish him luck. But this is a pathetically weak showing, especially considering that this tiny number includes parishioners from another closed church. But this is what passes for good news in the Anglican Church these days.

4:07 pm  

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