BLESSINGS FOR THE JOURNEY - PART 2
“I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” – Matthew 25:35
This week the blessings continue, as Mary and Jack and Linda and Joanne settle into the Canadian life…
We soon settled in with our two daughters on the Adam dairy farm in south Edmonton (now Millwoods) and finally able to have the rest of our funds transferred, all $300.00. We were warmly welcomed into the Moravian community and invited to worship with the community at the Moravian church. Our first church in Canada, and the first blessing in our new country.
So it felt good to be part of a faith community again. We were blessed with the friendship, caring and support of the community as they helped us settle into our new life and six months later we welcomed our new baby, a son, Graham. We became part of the community and were included in all the community and family activities. This support gave us a good solid base to start our new life in Canada.
As a child and teenager I worshiped with my family as a Presbyterian, attending Sunday School classes, youth group, singing with the choir and as a teen helped with the smaller children. I missed that connection with church family after I married. Living out in the country, no vehicle, it was difficult to keep up that connection.
The future in Canadian agriculture looks no rosier than in Scotland and in 1970 Jack went looking for a trade, choosing his favourite past time taking engines and equipment apart. A local trucking company hired him as an apprentice mechanic beginning at the princely sum of $2.00/ hour. We left the farm and moved to Edmonton to a rental accommodation and began to worship with the folks at Strathcona Presbyterian Church in south Edmonton. There again the welcome and encouragement to be part of that faith family was a blessing to our family. I taught Sunday School and started back at my favourite part of worship, singing with the church choir. Children in Sunday School and Jack on the stewardship committee. Our second church in Canada and the second blessing in our new country.
Soon we grew tired of city living and needed to find somewhere more affordable to live. An acreage in south Edmonton near the farm we had just left came up for rent and situated a mere 15 min drive to Jack's work. We checked it out, was ideal for us. Large garden to grow veggies etc. a shed to raise chickens all to give us a better financial footing. We won out on the applications when Jack told the owner he could leave his herd of Angus cattle and Jack would take care of them.
So here we were back in agricultural country, which thrilled the family, lots of places to poke around, cattle to feed, little calves in spring to look after, chickens to raise, geese with their goslings nesting on the slue and many other water creatures to watch and the school bus picked the kids up at the gate. We continued to attend Strathcona Church and kept up friendships there. We moved again when the acreage and cattle upkeep became too much for Jack to handle, he was now working for Massey and spring was a busy time. We stayed in the school house at Ellerslie and the kids soon made new friends
In 1976 we bought our first home and moved to Calmar. When the driving back and forth to Edmonton became a chore my friend Joan Osmak invited me to come to church with her. Again I found the same welcoming, caring atmosphere. Rev. Neehall had just started his ministry and he was a good shepherd to the Calmar congregation. Our third church in Canada and the third blessing in our country.
As our grandchildren came along, I took them to Sunday service and Sunday school. They were always made welcome and the adults would interact with them. I became part of the UCW and helped with the fundraising efforts. The various bible studies led by Rev. Neehall and Debbie Mouseau were special and my faith grew. I later joined the Devon choir and attended practices and special music Sunday's etc. - it was so much fun with Gwen and Phyllis.
In 1996, it became apparent we could no longer suffer the anxiety of a bully Calmar neighbour and made plans to move. My only choice was Devon as I already had so many friends at church and in the community, Jack was fine with my choice. In October, we moved into our new home and I became part of the Devon United family, with choir and UCW, helping in Thrift when I could and taking part in Sunday worship. I was pastoral charge treasurer for a few years that helped me understand the history and the inner workings of the United Church and this pastoral charge. Our fourth church in Canada and the fourth blessing in our country.
It’s been over 20 years, and I always felt welcome at Devon United and you folks have become my family, I have grown in faith and am more confident in myself. All the communities of faith we have been part of have carried our family through good times and sad times and I am most appreciative of that. “I was a stranger and you welcomed me”. It has been a blessing to have this support along our journey and the blessings continue…
This April 21, 2017, we celebrate our 50th year in Canada!
Thanks be to all. – Mary & Jack Cockburn