Multiculturalism rich in church’s 100-year history

Lisa Goudy
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On Sept. 29, 2013 the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church will have a service, information and picture displays and a private banquet to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

Holy Trinity Orthodox Church to celebrate its centennial

Many cultures make up the congregation of the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Moose Jaw.

“There’s a huge number of people in Moose Jaw that have ties to the church just because they’ve been here so long and because it was a multicultural church,” said Anna Bingham of the church. “It wasn’t just one culture such as Ukrainian Orthodox or Russian Orthodox or Greek Orthodox, but there were people from different cultures that took part in building the parish and we still have a great cross-section of cultures there.”

From refugees from African nations with Orthodox faith to Eastern Europeans, she said there is a “mix of people that wind up having ties to the church in some way.”

The parish was founded in 1913. On Sunday there are celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the church on South Hill. There will be a liturgy at 10 a.m., a display of memorabilia and sharing from noon to 2 p.m. at the Cosmo Senior Citizens Centre and a private banquet and program beginning at 3 p.m.

“We want to honour and recognize the people that have contributed in so many different ways through the years and just have available some pictorial displays,” said Bingham. “We have newspaper articles that we’ve photocopied and laid out through the years, mainly through the '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s and 2000s, but we also do have other pieces of information from the earlier times that are quite interesting to look at and read.”

She said the Bishop will be present for the service.

“We’re hoping that there’ll be a lot of visitors come that have ties to the church through the years,” said Bingham. “In the afternoon at the Cosmo Centre we’ll have more space to kind of stretch out and have our displays and … just allow time for people to talk about their memories about church and about the parish.”

Over the 100 years the church has seen many changes. In 1913 a small group of immigrants built the church on the land in South Hill.

The parishioners were from places such as Bukovina, Galicia, Bessarabia, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, the Baltic States and regions of Greece.

Over the years the church has seen its up and downs.

“The original building, as far as I know, burned down completely in the 1930s, but it was rebuilt again fairly quickly, I think, and then it was renovated and put onto a new foundation in the '50s or the '60s,” said Bingham.

Through the 1950s to the 1980s the church had an active ladies’ group to fundraise for the church and the Moose Jaw community.

“They did fundraising for the United Church when it had a bad fire and for the hospital and they were involved in care homes,” said Bingham. “Just like any other active church, we were involved in the community in many different ways through the years.”

She said the key to the future of the church is flexibility.

“Nowadays, Moose Jaw is becoming a home to refugee and immigrant people. That’s always been the case, but they’re coming from different countries now,” said Bingham. “I think we want to see what the Lord gives us to set our hands to for this period of Moose Jaw’s history.”

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Organizations: Orthodox Church, Cosmo Senior Citizens Centre, Cosmo Centre United Church

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Holy Trinity, South Hill Romania Ukraine Russia Baltic States Greece

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