St. George's Chapel marks 50 years
Sean Chase/Daily Observer During its golden anniversary service last weekend, St. George's Chapel recognized parishioners with 50 years affiliation with the Garrison Petawawa church. In the photo are (left to right) Brig.-Gen. Guy Chapdelaine, chaplain general of the Canadian Armed Forces, chapel chairwoman Amanda Cheverie, parishioners Elaine and Jack Chalmers, Garrison Petawawa commander Col. Louis Lapointe, Padre Matthew Lucas and Padre Judson Bridgewater.
GARRISON PETAWAWA – St. George's Protestant Chapel reflected on their last 50 years of providing worship to Petawawa's military and civilian community with a special golden anniversary service last weekend.
Although an old H-Hut served as its first chapel back in 1940, the garrison did not have its current home until June 1967 when it was officially consecrated. To mark this special milestone, the chapel invited Brig.-Gen. Guy Chapdelaine, chaplain general of the Canadian Armed Forces, to deliver the sermon.
In his remarks, Brig.-Gen. Chapdelaine said he has prayed that all worshippers will feel the signs of God's presence in chapels on all Canadian bases, including Petawawa's St. George's. He further hoped that “all military members and their loved ones will find their chapels to be places of joy and encouragement and healing, unity and diversity all in one.”
Legend has it St. George fought with a dragon and was victorious. However, the chaplain general wanted to reflected on St. George, the Roman soldier and patron saint of England who was tortured and sentenced to death for failing to recant his Christian faith. Relgious tradition says that St. George showed incredible courage and faith and was finally beheaded near Lydda in Palestine.
“Our mentor and patron saint did not have that place of solice,” noted Brig.-Gen. Chapdelaine. “St. George would have loved to have found a welcoming place as a Christian and as a soldier. May we strive to do better and in his memory ensure that military people of faith always have a home here.”
In celebrating 50 years of ministry, the chapel's pastoral leadership recognized those parishioners who have been affiliated with St. George's for that half-century. Those special parishioners included Doreen Ambroziak, Marie and Bill Arnold, Thelma and John Hanshaw, Elaine and Jack Chalmers, Bob Robertson, Sharon Slaney, Marie Maher, and Bruce and Bernice Westgarth.
“For more than 50 years this chapel has been a place of worship and felloweship for the congregants, chaplains and their families as well as a beacon of inspiration and support to Canadian Armed Forces members and their families from the days Petawawa was a camp to its current status as a garrison,” said Padre Judson Bridgewater.
Following the service, an anniversary cake was served up to the parish and their guests. As a benchmark, some 100 chaplains who have served over those 50 years. The chapel has undergone major changes with the addition of the Padre George Harris Memorial Annex in 1981 and a Sunday School wing in 1993. However, Col. Louis Lapointe, commander of 4th Canadian Division Support Group and Garrison Petawawa, remarked that St. George's greatest strengths remain its people.
“We've seen some very special people who did great things for the church and keep giving,” said Col. Lapointe. “Most of them were not military people and they still came to this church and we are very thankful for them.”