On Monday, March 12, 2018 the PEI Branch of the Royal Commonwealth Society held its Commonwealth Day observance at the Kirk of St. James, celebrating the theme “Towards a Common Future.”
The well attended event featured the presentation of all of the flags of the Commonwealth’s 54 member nations by local Sea, Army, Air, and Navy League cadets. As the flags were marched into the sanctuary, the Honourable Tracy L. Clements, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of PEI, read out the names of the nations they represented.
The Guest of Honour, representing the Lieutenant Governor, was the Honourable Michele M. Murphy, Justice of the PEI Court of Appeal, who read Her Majesty the Queen’s Commonwealth Day message. It read in part:
“We all have reason to give thanks for the numerous ways in which our lives are enriched when we learn from others. Through exchanging ideas, and seeing life from other perspectives, we grow in understanding and work more collaboratively towards a common future. There is a very special value in the insights we gain through the Commonwealth connection; shared inheritances help us overcome difference so that diversity is a cause for celebration rather than division…. Voluntary effort, by people working as individuals, in groups or through larger associations, is so often what shapes the Commonwealth and all our communities. By pledging to serve the common good in new ways, we can ensure that the Commonwealth continues to grow in scope and stature, to have an even greater impact on people’s lives, today, and for future generations.”
Six Commonwealth “affirmations” were read out by Island students from Commonwealth countries, focusing on “human worth,” “stewardship of the earth,” “equality, justice and peace,” “the primacy of love,” “unity in diversity,” and “creating a better future.”
Music for the event was provided by the band of the Prince Edward Island Regiment, and by the Red Island Quartet. The quartet features the Kirk’s four Choral Scholars: Tara Llewellyn, Melissa Lewis, Ian Soloman, and Gage Waugh. They did the Kirk proud with their seven well received choral selections. The congregation sang the hymn, “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”
Among the dignitaries in attendance were the Honourable Percy Downe, senator, Wayne Easter, MP for Malpeque, Sean Casey, MP for Charlottetown, the Honourable Richard Brown, Minister of Communities, Land and the Environment, and senior representatives of the RCMP and Charlottetown’s Naval Reserve and Militia communities. Introductions were made by Horatio Toledo, President of the Royal Commonwealth Society – PEI Branch, and the Master of Ceremonies was Evelyn Monkley, the society’s Vice-President.
The organizing committee for this year’s event included the Kirk’s Dr. David Ashby, Past President of the Royal Commonwealth Society, PEI Branch and his wife, Christy Ashby, who organized a wonderful reception following the event in the church hall, provided by the Presbyterian Women.