Historic St. Mary’s Church in Hudson celebrates 150th Anniversary May 22
PHOTO BY JAMES PARRY
All decked out in period costume from head to toe this week and all bought at Nova Boutique in Hudson, Wanda Bray (left) and Wilf & Bernice Hall are looking forward to welcoming others from far and wide at the 150th Anniversary of St. Mary’s Church in Como.
Built at a cost of less than $2,000 when parishioners showed up for services on horseback, horse and buggy, or on foot, Como's historic little St. Mary's Church celebrates its 150th Anniversary on Sunday, May 22.
And organizers are inviting the entire community, ideally wearing period clothing, to join in the festivities that will see, after the 10 a.m. Eucharistic service, a parade along Main Road to nearby St. Mary's Hall for a very special reception including a catered light lunch and a collection of vintage photos and paintings on display for all to reminisce.
In recent weeks in preparation for the big day, the interior of the church has been painted and professionally cleaned. For the needed seating, the children's play section at the back has been removed and replaced with original pews. The vestry has also been converted into more seating to catch the overflow and extensive work has been done on the beautiful quarry stone building including a new paint colour for the wood and the reconstruction of the wall along Main Road.
Says co-organizer Wanda Bray, “On this very special occasion, there will not be an 11 a.m. service at St. James' Anglican Church and we are expecting 150 parishioners from years’ past and present to be here for our service which will be conducted by The Anglican Bishop of Montreal, Mary Irvin-Gibson, assisted by Padre Carol Bateman. Which is why we are asking anyone planning on attending to call the Anglican Parish of Vaudreuil office at (450) 458-5897 so that we can plan accordingly. We are also encouraging carpooling if possible, as parking space is limited.”
By way of historical background, parishioner David Langlois explains that the foundation stone for St. Mary’s Church was laid by Bishop Fulford, first Bishop of Montreal, on May 27, 1866. Although the date on the stone was painted, not carved, and has long since faded away.
Says Langlois, “The land upon which the church is built was purchased by Isaac Gibb and R. W. Shepherd from John Hodgson in 1865 for the sum of $100. And a subscription list of supporters for the church was created and, eventually, 61 named people contributed $1,826 for its construction. The largest donation of $525 came from R. W. Shepherd, with six members of the Gibb family donating another $470.”
The head carpenter was Louis Rouleau who had also built the now historic Como homes 'Ellesmere' for Gibb and 'Blinkbonnie' for the Cleghorn family. The reading and litany desks, pulpit, altar, communion rails, and pews were made by Como resident John Ivison. Unfortunately, however, the pulpit, subsequently moved to the Parish Hall, was destroyed in the disastrous fire that completely gutted the building in February 1988.
Says Bray, “As we celebrate the past 150 years of faith together, we are extremely proud of our forefathers and look forward to welcoming new friends and families into our house of worship. And we are hoping that people will come either in period dress reflective of a century and a half ago, or of any era since. After all, one has 150 years of fashion to choose from.”