Welcome to Church on the Hill, Glenavon, Sask, Canada

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

COTH 40th Anniversary Part 1

In May of 1968, the foundation of our church was laid with the gathering of 4 people: Pastor Lorne and his wife Dianne, Rose, and her son, Dennis.

On Sunday, Church on the Hill (COTH) in Glenavon, SK, celebrated its 40th anniversary. In case you missed it, here are some memories of Sunday:

Rev. Doug Lancaster, Pastor of Avonhurst Pentecostal church and Presbyter of our region, brought us the message.

He said that the church was the gateway to heaven and that he'd felt welcomed by the people and the banners when he walked in the door of COTH. But, his thought-provoking words asked what other people expect from church: Do they see us on Tues the same way they see us in church? Are people sitting in the congregation surrounded by people but feeling lonely? Rev. Doug said ‘The moment we ask Christ to come into our heart isn’t the end but the beginning’.

Maurice was the MC for our special anniversary afternoon. He introduced the friends, singers, and former pastors who came to share this special day with us.

Noelle, the Youth Leader, read messages (see below) sent from people who wanted to be here but couldn't. Sorry, no photo of her reading messages but you can see her below when you check out the pics for the presentation of IMPACT's drama 'The River'.

COTH is blessed with 4 worship teams who make up the Music Ministry and take turns leading us in praise and worship each week. Separately, they are testaments to God's blessings and gifts but on Sunday when they joined together for the first time, we heard God's power in their music - especially when they sang their last song: Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone). I was too far back to get a good group shot so you'll have to imagine them together. From left to right:
Jessica - keyboard/vocals
Lori - acoustic guitar/vocals
Dianne - vocals/keyboard
Lorette - vocals
Nelson - bass guitar
Clayton - drums/vocals
Richard - electric guitar/vocals
This group was introduced as 'Tim & the Ladies'. Apparently they haven't sung together in 15 years but we couldn't tell from their melodic singing of 'Sheltered in the Arms of God'. They shook the building with their raised voices and even the window dressing trembled and fell! left to right: Sandra (keyboard), Dianne, Tim and Rondi

Rhonda led the Sunday School class in a drama based on Isaiah 40. Left to right:
(Courtney and Blake - we missed you.) More photos here

Sandra joined her son Blake in a moving song that went like this: "She’s the one who told me about Jesus....taught me to sing....deserves an armful of roses.... she’s satisfied with a handful of weeds." Does anyone know the title to this song?


IMPACT - the COTH youth group presented the drama 'The River'.

Check out the youth page for more photos and maybe even a video if I can figure out how to upload it.


A group photo was taken of the different pastors that have called COTH home. They are from left to right:
Pastor Simon & Jackie Sichangwa (Regina)
Pastor Wayne & Sandra Unger (Virden)
Pastor Lorne & Dianne Bonk (COTH pastor)
Pastor Phil Marshall (Edmonton)
Missing from the photo is Pastor Jim & Colleen Guskjolen


This gorgeous cake measured approx 18 x 26 inches. It was a delectable combination of chocolate, vanilla and butterscotch.

It was made by Lori, one of our worship leaders.


Anne Silversides presented greetings from the Glenavon Catholic church. (sorry no photo). She said that the people of Glenavon are fortunate to have several faith communities that work well together and respect each other’s differences. Anne gave a short testimony on her faith journey. She ended by saying Our Lady Of The Holy Rosary church sends this message, ‘May you be blessed and continue to grow in numbers.”
The following people couldn't attend but sent congrats and memories:

Laurie & Marilyn Winsor (RCMP officer posted to Indian Head now in Nfld): "We were so pleased to be a part of your congregation...almost 20 years ago. we enjoyed the friendship and fellowship greatly. You may never know how well some of you filled the void in our lives as we lived so far away from home and family..."

Pastor Jim & Colleen Guskjolen (pastored at COTH 1981-1985): "We are thankful that we were able to have a part to play in the history of Church on the Hill...This was our first church and we immediately felt loved. We often have told the story of how Church on the Hill was instrumental in developing our ministry. In fact, we tell people that if it had not been for your ministry to us we would not be where we are today in ministry. Wherever we go we feel we are an extension of Church on the Hill...We cherish the friendships and memories we have from those days." Pastor Jim is now the Regional Director for Latin America and Caribbean of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.

Robin Exner (Director of Circle Square Ranch, Wolseley): "...Just wanted to thank you again for all your support and congratulate you on 40 years of reaching our community!"

Rev. Lynette Callfas (Minister of Glenavon United Church): "...I have always enjoyed the fellowship and friendship that I have experienced when visiting at your church. It has been a pleasure working with you in various community ecumenical services. I thank God for your faithfulness in sharing the message of the salvation brought by Jesus Christ..."
Pastor Lorne and Dianne have provided a home for exchange students over the years. The church, especially the youth group, has been blessed to know these young women. They will remain in our hearts no matter where their future lies. They've sent the following messages:

Nikki (Australia) - "Going to Church on the Hill helped me on both a social and spiritual level. It allowed me a chance to meet some GREAT kids my age that went to a different school than I did, and allowed me a chance to be part of a great youth group. However, it also helped me on a spiritual level. It made me realize that even though I could not be over 300,000 km away from my family and my home, my God was still with me. I had the heap of luggage/clothes that I brought, yet I also had somehow packed God into my suitcase. It just goes to show, God really is everywhere, you cannot escape him!"

Mayo (Japan, currently attends University in Winnipeg, MB) - "...Although I have lived in Glenavon only for a year (and a little bit whenever I come back), I have done so many things there with all of the church families and youths and these things are part of most precious memories in my life. Even reading Scriptures in front of everyone when I wasn't able to speak very well is a good memory and something that brings a smile to my face. I am so grateful that I got to meet everyone from Church on the Hill and that you guys are all ways so welcoming even after I left Glenavon. People say that all the Christians are a big family but there is no other place where that is so obvious than Church on the Hill..."

Ashlee (Australia) - "...Something that you may not know, before I came to Canada, I had to ask my pastor or prayer about my choice, I was so worried that it wasn't right for me to be leaving my home and didn't know what God wanted my life, after all I was only sixteen. But I came, and to be honest, it was probably the most amazing time of my life. And I know it was because He placed me in your family, with a church and a youth group, and without that I don't know what kind of people I could have lived with. I know it was God's plan and I made some of the most amazing family and friends..."

Eva (Germany) - "Church on the Hill meant a lot to me. This church is much smaller than the one I went to in Germany and I got to know what "living together" in a church with a lot of Christians really means. My church in Germany is way more anonymous. I really like the way everybody cares about each other and it seems like everybody is having their own part in this church. I also really likes the way Lorne is speaking because it is also not as anonymous as it is often in Germany. My parents also really liked your little church and felt very welcome..."

Suzie (Australia) - "Attending Church on the Hill was an extremely positive time for me...I got to meet a lot of new people. They were always so happy, positive and friendly who all shared the love of the church...I'm never one to sit still for more than an hour, but I had no problem with it while Lorne was preaching...even if it didn't look like I was listening...I was...just so I could say 'Oh yeah! I remember you talking about that in church last week' then he would smile at me and say, 'Oh, so you were listening!' and I'd say YEP! with a big grin on my face! I also enjoyed attending youth group with Noelle...Every moment I spent at Church on the Hill was exciting for me and I am so glad that I was able to spend a lot of time there!"

Casey (Australia) - "What I remember of Church on the Hill is walking into a room filled with very inviting and caring people. I only attended 3 months worth of Sundays, but those Sundays I always looked forward to and can say I always left with a smile on my face. Church on the Hill is a very special place filled with very special people that are there to share their hope among themselves, with others and our Lord. Congratulations on 40 years. I'm sure it will continue to be a place where people come to be with others and celebrate their lives. See ya next year hopefully."
I will post another blog entry for the memories that former Pastors Simon, Wayne and Phil talked spoke on as well as more of Rev. Doug's message.
Do you have a memory of Church on the Hill you'd like to share? To share your memory with us click 'comment' right below here. If you're not sure how to leave a comment, go to the 'Labels' in the right column and click on the 'comments'.


Anonymous said...

Just to clear something up, Laurie and Marilyn Winsor were never pastors here. Laurie was an RCMP officer at Indian Head and Marilyn was a nurse. They moved back to Newfoundland about 20 years ago.

Anita, a member of Church on the Hill said...

Okay, thanks Noelle. I've updated the blog post.

Since my family and I have only attended since 1999, it was kind of hard to keep track of everyone's history on Sunday. So many names and dates flying around.

I hope any other discrepancies will be pointed out as well.