Bell Tolls for Nova Scotia Shooting Victims

April 2020

On Friday, April 24, 2020 at six p.m., the Kirk’s bell will toll in remembrance of the victims of the deadly shooting rampage that took place in Nova Scotia’s Colchester County this past weekend. The massacre claimed the lives of twenty-two people, and also an unborn baby, making this tragedy the most deadly mass killing in Canadian history.

Churches across Canada are being asked to participate in this memorial tribute by the organizers of a virtual vigil for the victims, Colchester Supporting our Communities Facebook group. It will take place in conjunction with hours of planned on-line activities, being hosted in lieu of mass in-person vigils or group funerals, which are impossible given current COVID-19 social distancing regulations.

The victims of the shootings include: RCMP Constable Heidi Stevenson, Greg & Jamie Blair, Lisa McCully, Heather O’Brien, Alanna Jenkins & Sean McLeod, Jolene Oliver, Emily Tuck & Aaron (Friar) Tuck, Frank Gulenchyn & Dawn Madsen, Gina Goulet, Lillian Hyslop, Tom Bagley, Kristen Beaton and her baby, John Zahl & Elizabeth Joanne Thomas, Corrie Ellison, Joey Webber, and Joy & Peter Bond.

Elder Ian Scott has kindly agreed to toll the Kirk bell in honour of these victims. He notes that “the community around Portapique was next door to the villages my dad served during his early pastorages. He served the areas of Economy and Lower Five Islands before joining the Navy in WW II and prior to moving there was directly across the water on the Hants County south side of that bay. I am sure it will be an especially challenging time for the clergy in all the affected areas during these unusual times of restricted contact and such tragic loss.”

Rev. Amanda Henderson-Bolton will have candles lit from the Christ candle for each of the victims during her on-line Sunday worship service on April 26. Soloist and Kirk choral scholar Ian Solomon will also sing a special musical selection in honour of the victims during the April 26 service.

The Kirk of St. James extends its deepest condolences to all of the families and friends of the victims, and all of those who have been affected by this senseless tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with them all, and for them all. May they find peace in the midst of such unspeakable violence.

‘Liberation75’ Tulips Planted at Kirk

November 2019

On the first weekend of November, David and Constance Robinson could be found on their knees in front of the Kirk’s Pownal Street entrance. They weren’t praying – they were planting one hundred and fifty ‘Liberation 75’ tulip bulbs.

A bright orange tulip with crown-shaped petals, the Liberation 75 tulip is being planted across Canada this autumn, to bloom in the spring of 2020, to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands by Canadian and Allied troops in 1945. The Royal Canadian Legion is a partner in the sale of the bulbs, with $1.00 from the sale of each bag of 15 bulbs going to Legion activities in support of Canadian veterans.

The tulip bulbs will be planted at 1,100 schools across the country, and will be accompanied by an education guide to explain the shared history between Canada and the Netherlands, including the role Canada played in liberating the Netherlands. A total of 1.1 million “Liberation75” tulip bulbs will be planted across Canada, in honour of the 1.1 million Canadians who took part in the Second World War effort.

“The Kirk made its own contribution to ending Nazi tyranny in Europe, so it only seemed fitting that we plant some of these beautiful ‘Liberation 75’ tulips in our flower beds,” said David Robinson. “Next spring their blooming will be a reminder of God’s desire that all people live in peace and liberty. They will be a tribute to our heroic Canadian veterans, who are dear to my hearts and to Constance’s.” David is a 19 year veteran of the Royal Canadian Navy, and Constance is a member of the Veterans’ Review and Appeal Board.

In September Her Royal Highness, Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, presented an initial gift of ‘Liberation75’ tulip bulbs to 95 year old Canadian veteran Mr. Don White at Het Loo Palace. The gift was symbolic of the 100,000 tulip bulbs that the Netherlands will present to Canada in 2020, to commemorate and celebrate that its 75 years since the liberation of the Netherlands. Mr. White was a member of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, the regiment that liberated the Dutch town of Leeuwarden in April 1945, towards the end of a nine-month military campaign to free the Netherlands from German occupation. White is the last living member of his troop.

White described one of his main memories as the “joy” the Dutch conveyed as they were freed from German occupation: “They hardly knew how to express themselves,” said White. “They would be singing, they would be dancing. They’d be jumping up and down, they’d be crying, they’d be laughing. It was just something that’s hard to describe.”

Canadian soldiers bravely battled in Europe, leading the liberation of the Netherlands in 1945. In the final months of the Second World War, Canadian forces were given the important and deadly task of liberating the Netherlands from Nazi occupation. From September 1944 to April 1945, the First Canadian Army fought Nazi forces on the Scheldt estuary, opening the port of Antwerp for Allied use.

The First Canadian Army then cleared northern and western Netherlands, allowing food and other relief to reach millions of desperate people. Air drops of food were coordinated by the Royal Canadian Air Force over Nazi-occupied Dutch territory in Operation Manna. Dutch Civilians wrote “Thank You Canadians!” on their rooftops in grateful response.

That gratitude is still widely felt today. Canada is fondly remembered by the Dutch for ending the oppression under the Nazi-German occupation. Following the liberation of the Netherlands, a warm friendship was established with Canada that is still enjoyed today. It is a poignant reminder of the ultimate sacrifice Canadians made and the enduring gratitude of the Dutch in ending the reign of tyranny in their country.

$1.0 Million and Counting…

August 2019

During worship on August 18, David Hooley, Chair of the Kirk’s Renewing HOPE Capital Campaign, was able to announce a significant milestone in the fundraising effort.

“Seven months ago I stood here to announce that we were going to raise $1.0 million,” Hooley said. “Back then I’m not sure if we all believed it was possible – if I even believed deep down that it was possible. But today I am pleased to announce that as of about 10 days ago, we reached the $1.0 million mark in our campaign!”

As the announcement was made, applause broke out in the congregation, whose exceptional generosity had made the achievement possible. The milestone was marked with a cake celebration in the Kirk Hall following worship, with David Hooley and Shauna Sullivan Curley, Vice-Chair of the Capital Campaign, cutting the cake.

The funds raised thus far will go towards making major repairs to the Kirk’s roof and gutter systems, to completing repairs to stone and brick work, and to seeing the Kirk’s many beautiful stained glass windows restored and re-protected.

As David Hooley pointed out, there is still a challenge before the Kirk family. We need to cover a $78,000 bill from Campaign Coaches for their help with successfully reaching our goal, and we would like to make a number of important and more visible improvements to the Kirk: provide barrier-free washrooms; renovate the Kirk’s kitchens to improve safety and facilitate fundraising events; provide some needed Audio-visual equipment; and buy plates and cutlery so that our social events can be more environmentally friendly. These improvements will cost about $250,000.

“It is amazing that through God’s goodness we have raised these funds,” said David Robinson, Action Clerk of Session. “Now we hope to push on, exceed expectations, and address a number of extra facility improvements that I believe the congregation would like to see happen.”

The next phase in the Capital Campaign will see the Kirk reaching out to those with connections to the Kirk who live farther afield, like many of the congregation’s dispersed families. Consideration will also be given to starting a crowd-funding campaign to invite the wider Island community to participate in the renewal that is happening at one of the province’s historic churches and architectural gems.

The Capital Campaign is scheduled to run for five years, from 2019 to 2023, so there is still lots of time and opportunity to contribute.

Winsloe Soccer Pitch named Tom Wallis Field

August 2019









On July 13, 2019 one of the large soccer pitches at the Winsloe Soccer Complex was formally named the Tom Wallis Field. Tom was a valued member of the Kirk congregation, before he passed away in December 2017.

Tom, an air force veteran, had two loves – flying and soccer.

Tom’s dream was to have a vibrant soccer community on PEI, a dream that he worked tirelessly over decades to fulfil. Arriving on the Island in 1972, Tom approached the City of Charlottetown about organizing soccer for the community, and within a short while, aided by a handful of dedicated volunteers, he organized the Charlottetown Youth Soccer Association. At first the organization consisted of just four teams and fifty players. Tom remained at the helm of the Association until 1985, at which time there were over 1100 registered players, and a second league for girls, established in 1977.

In 1975, Tom took over the operations of the PEI Soccer Association, assuming a role that would occupy him for the next 17 years. Tom formed an officials’ association as well and trained new referees himself. According to the PEI Sports Hall of Fame website, Tom was “instructor, administrator, fund raiser, and public relations manager, too.”

In recognition of the seminal role Tom played in the development of soccer on PEI, he was named Sport PEI Administrator of the Year in 1979, received the Canadian Soccer Association Award of Merit, and in 1998 became the only Islander to receive a life membership in the national organization. He was inducted into the PEI Sports Hall of Fame as the first inductee in the soccer category, in 2006.

It is only fitting that now a soccer venue dedicated to developing the sport among Island youth bears his name. The Kirk congratulates Tom’s family on this significant posthumous honour.

Daphne Dumont receives the Law Society of PEI Distinguished Community Service Award

July 2019

Kirk Elder Daphne Dumont has been named the 2019 recipient of the Law Society of PEI Distinguished Community Service Award.

This award was established in 2007 by Derek D. Key, Q.C. & Nancy L. Key, Q.C., to honour, recognize and celebrate the valuable contribution members of the Law Society have made to various community organizations at the local, provincial or national level, as well as to showcase the vast spectrum of voluntary services that members provide to the community at large.

The award is granted based upon: active and sustained participation in a charitable or non-profit organization; contributions as a volunteer through education or promotion of volunteerism by way of ideas, practices or publications; continued performance and effort over a period of time in a variety of volunteer activities which has resulted in the enhancement and improvement of the organization, activity or community; and the implementation of special events or programs including assisting such organizations through periods of difficulty, change or restructuring.

Daphne’s nomination for the award cites: the fact that in 1985, she was a founding member of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF); that in 1997 she was given the Equality Recognition Award by PEI Status of Women; that in 2000-2001, Daphne was the first person from Prince Edward Island to be elected national President of the Canadian Bar Association. It further notes that in 2002, she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee Medal for outstanding community service; that in 2005, she played an integral part in forming the Collaborative Family Law Association in Prince Edward Island; that in 2009, she was one of six laureates to receive the Governor General’s Award in commemoration of the Person’s case; and not least, that in 2011 she was appointed a member of the Order of Canada.

Her legal career has been notable. In 2016, Daphne was the recipient of the Canadian Bar Association’s President’s award for her trail blazing work for women’s rights and 40 years of service as a lawyer. She has taught the Prince Edward Island Bar Admission Course and has held all executive positions in the Prince Edward Island Branch of the Canadian Bar Association. The PEI Branch now awards a Daphne Dumont Scholarship to a full-time Island student enrolled at an accredited university law program. She also served as a member of the CBA Gender Equality Task Force.

Within the community, Daphne has supported the Community Legal Information Association, helping everyone get access to a legal opinion and provide them options. She has been a member of the Rowing PEI executive, as well as other community organizations, such as The Rotary Club of Charlottetown’s Youth Exchange Program, Youth Parliament, and the Premier’s Dinner and participated in fund raising events such as Dancing with the Stars. She is also a supporter of Canadian Federation of University Women.

At the Kirk, Daphne has served as an Elder since her ordination in 1989, assuming many leadership roles within the congregation in the intervening years. More recently, she has provided particular service on the Board of the Stamper and Charlotte Residences, and as a Trustee of the Cundall Trust. She has been the positive-spirited and effective chair of many recent Annual Meetings.

The Kirk congratulates Daphne on this most recent, notable accomplishment.

Problematic music video “O Lord” shot at Kirk

May 2019

On May 25, Island rap singer Greg MacDonald, aka “Problematic,” shot a music video for his new single “O Lord” in the Sanctuary of the Kirk of St. James. The song will be part of an EP he is soon to release.

The video shoot was produced and directed by Nathan Carter of Charlottetown’s Wrong Horse Productions, with support from director of photography Oakar Myint and key grip Kevin Gauthier. The team was very appreciative that the Kirk made its Sanctuary available for the shoot, and were very respectful of its sacred space. They made excellent use of its historic architecture during shooting.

Twenty-four year old Problematic raps about his depression and suicidal thoughts, and about the difficulties of modern life. An advocate for greater support for mental health treatment and awareness, he says that he has been gratified to hear from many people who have been helped out of a dark place by his music. Some have even confided that his music saved their lives.

“I use music as an outlet,” Greg says. “I don’t know where I’d be without it…. I didn’t know how else to cope with my emotions – any time I was dealing with a problem, music is where I would turn…. My goal from it all is really to touch lives with what I do, with what I write. And to help people the same way it helps me.” *

The chorus from the song “O Lord” is a cry to God for help with mental illness:

“Ask me how I’m doing I will say I’m fine

I bet that you would never guess that I was lying

I crack a smile but inside I am really dying

At war inside my head I think I lost my mind

Oh Lord, please come rescue me

Oh Lord, oh Lord come rescue me

I’ve been fighting with my demons so damn long

Oh no get away from me

Oh Lord, please come rescue me

Oh Lord, oh Lord come rescue me”

A fish plant worker by day, Greg has been steadily gaining traction with his musical career. He receives fan messages from all over the world now. His last album, Diamond in the Rough, was a real success, and Greg hopes to build on that momentum with his new offerings. They should be available to the public before summer’s end.

*Quotations courtesy of Sara Fraser, CBC News, January 2018

Lobster Plate Take-Out at the Kirk

May 2019
On Sunday, May 12, 2019, Mother’s Day, the Kirk of St. James will again be hosting it’s annual Lobster Plate Take-Out fundraiser.  This is the Kirk’s most important fund-raising event of the year, and goes a long way towards supporting the Kirk’s mission and outreach in Charlottetown and around the world. It is always well supported by businesses which donate goods for the event, and by patrons from the Charlottetown community, who enjoy the time-honoured Island tradition of giving Mom a lobster feast on her special day.
The Lobster Plate, which costs $25.00 again this year, consists of a one pound lobster, cracked for easy eating, home made potato salad, coleslaw, fresh garden salad, a bread roll, and the Kirk’s own carrot cake to top things off.  Meals will be available for pick up from the Kirk’s lower hall on May 12 from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm.  Tickets are available from Amy in the Kirk’s office, Tuesday to Friday, 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. Your patronage of this special event is encouraged!

Invitation from the Rainbow Communion

April 2019


Your Story Matters. The PCC is listening. Rainbow Communion is mandated by the 2017 General Assembly to host safe and respectful Listening Spaces across the country until June 15, 2019. All who wish to share their stories of harm done to them within and by the church because of homophobia, transphobia, heterosexism &/or hypocrisy, as well as experiences of God’s grace in ministry amidst those challenges are invited to share in person, by phone or in writing.
We want to hear your story. Contact us by April 30 to arrange a time and place to share face-to-face. Listening Spaces are being held from May 10 – 14 in Atlantic Canada.
1-800-619-7301 ext. 300 and are dedicated, confidential channels. You may also contact the Atlantic Canada RC member, Rev. Michael Veenema directly if you have any questions or would like to arrange to share your story. or 902-670-7590.

Click to enlarge.


Nakhleh Family Safe in Charlottetown

March 2019







The Nakhleh family of Syrian refugees are finally safely settled into their new home in Charlottetown, PE. They arrived after a two day journey from Beirut, Lebanon, landing in the wee hours of Friday morning, March 1, 2019.

The family has been sponsored by The Brother’s Keeper Refugee Sponsorship Team, which includes the Kirk of St. James and a number of other local churches, led by Central Christian Church. This is the second family that the Kirk has helped to settle recently. We supported the resettlement of the Toma family from Iraq a year ago.

Both George and Daisy Nakhleh were pharmacists in Damascus, Syria when the civil war there broke out. Their pharmacy and home were ransacked by ISIS fighters, forcing the family to split up – George escaping conscription into Lebanon and Daisy and the children, Mark and Lulu, staying for a time in Syria. They are relieved to be together again and in a safe place.

The couple’s cousin Bassel, a Charlottetown resident, advocated that they move here. “We wanted to be safe together,” said George. “They advised us to come to Canada. (It’s) a better future for our children.”

While in Lebanon the family shared small rooms, and had only one bedroom. So one of the immediate big changes for the family was having a two bedroom apartment. Mark woke up just hours after going to bed in his new bunk bed, provided by the Kirk, and started to explore his new room, decorated with African animals, and full of toys and colouring books. He immediately woke up his little sister, Lulu to share the excitement, and they woke their weary parents to exclaim over their good fortune. It was just like Christmas, with the children excited over their specially decorated room, and Daisy overwhelmed by the fully outfitted bathroom and kitchen, both furnished in good measure by the Kirk.

The Kirk held a toonie drive to purchase new car seats for the children as well. These have proven to be just the right size and are very easy to install in vehicles.

George speaks a good bit of English, whereas Daisy is more comfortable in Canada’s second language, French. The Kirk will be providing the family with an Arabic-English pictorial dictionary and the children with an English pictorial dictionary for kids, so that they can work on their English skills. George and Daisy both hope to become fluent quickly, and finish educational upgrading, so that they can find employment in their former pharmacy field.

“They are a lovely young family,” said David Robinson, Action Clerk of Session, after meeting the family during a welcoming dinner at Cedars Restaurant. “They have been so grateful for all of the assistance that The Brother’s Keeper has provided. It warms one’s heart to see the family so happily embarking on this new phase of their lives.”

Photo and Nakhleh quotation courtesy of the Guardian.

Kirk Introduces New Interim Minister

February 2019









The Rev. Dr. Kay Diviney will be temporarily leading the congregation of the Kirk of St. James, between February 1 and August 31, 2019. She is providing maternity leave coverage for Rev. Amanda Henderson-Bolton. Rev. Amanda and Chad Bolton had their firstborn child, Grayson Allister James, on January 22.

Speaking of her appointment, Rev. Kay said: “I regard the people of the Kirk as my church family. I am so grateful to be able to share worship and ministry among fellow followers of Christ over the coming months — especially for such a joyous reason!”

The white stole that Rev. Kay is wearing in the photo, above, was a gift of the Kirk on the occasion of her ordination in 2013.

Rev. Kay returned to Charlottetown a few months ago, after living and working for a number of years in Montreal, where she was the Associate Minister, and then the Acting Lead Minister at the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul. While there she conducted weekly worship, led many small group studies, as well as monthly Taize evening prayer services, worked with new members, and led confirmation classes. Rev. Kay also served as Interim Moderator at St. Columba-by-the-Lake Presbyterian Church in the Presbytery of Montreal.

Rev. Kay is no stranger to the Kirk. She worshipped here during the years that she taught English and Irish literature in the English Department at the University of Prince Edward Island, and taught the flute in the university’s Music Department. At the Kirk, Rev. Kay was a member of the Choir (2001-09), convened and co-convened the Mission and Outreach committee (2003-08) served on the Congregational Life committee (2006-07), and was both an Elder and Deputy Clerk of Session (2008-09). She also worked here as a Pastoral Assistant during the summer of 2011. Most recently, she provided our Advent bible study: “An Adult Christ at Christmas.”

Rev. Kay will be working for .75 time during her appointment. She plans to hold office hours three days a week. She can be contacted at:

A highly accomplished academic, Rev. Kay holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Augustana College, a Master of Arts degree from Arkansas State University, a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of British Columbia, and a Master of Divinity degree from Knox College.

We look forward to having Rev. Kay share her many and diverse talents with us in the months ahead.