It was Mother’s Day Sunday, Knox United Church in Kenora Ontario.

Knox United Church Kenora, is a place where I spent a significant amount of time in my youth. Sundays at Church and Sunday school were just matter of fact growing up. We had a terrific youth group under the direction and support of the late Harold Boyd. I still have visions of our 24 hours “rockathon”…on my ! And, to this day, I have many life long friends that were part of those Sunday school gatherings each and every week.

Growing up in a small town (or any community for that matter), the congregation becomes a place of security, confidence, learning, experience and study. It is one of those touch points where people gather, share, converse, get together.

“Church” in recent years has been more of a special occasion outing for me. At Christmas we will often attend, or some of the family will attend…all depending where we are on Christmas Eve and what everyone has going on.

What struck me about “Church” in Kenora on Mother’s Day this year was not so much about “church” as a pysical place or place of worship. It truly made me reflect upon church as a place of community.

I saw parents of some of my friends who are now quite aged (ha…and they no doubt think the same of me) but they still had that common thread of inquisitiveness, community, of growing together through good times and bad. There were former school teachers of mine, junior, middle school and high school. Gosh, my grade three teacher, who still tells stories of a life long friend of mine and our mischievous ways. Former associates from various campaigns over the years. Neighbours, who I’d not seen in many years. Friends who were also in the congregation carrying the torch of another generation. Choir members who are still bringing the wonderful sound of the hymn book on Sunday morning. The pianist/organist, who was one of my grade seven teachers and an accomplished local talent. And inspiring for certain was a whole new group of young parents and their children, participating fully in what is Sunday’s ongoing ritual for these young families…a new generation of “community builders” for sure !

So what of this reflection ? I think it is simply to express how thankful I am for what I know the town of Kenora and its community taught me for life.  A sense of community. A sense of giving. A sense of faith. A sense of support and a place to turn in a time or times of need.

I don’t belittle larger cities or larger centres, I just know that I got that from my upbringing. I’ hopeful that my children will also feel a similar expression when they look back at their development in their community in Toronto in similar but different inspiring and grounding ways. There may not have been the same degree of “church” but we have certainly been active in our community.

We are  all individuals in many different communities and it is but our duty to keep those communities vibrant, strong and everlasting It’s up to “us”.  Cheers to community. @FergDevins