Kirk to Launch Million Dollar Capital Campaign

September 2018

At a Special Congregational Meeting held on September 23, the congregation of the Kirk of St. James unanimously voted to undertake a $1.0 million major capital campaign to restore and improve the church building. The vote came following years of deliberations about the future of the Kirk building and its congregation, after a 2014 Aged Building Audit by Coles Associates identified over a million dollars in necessary repairs to the fabric of the church.

During the meeting, David Robinson, Action Clerk of Session, outlined a three-point plan devised by Session to plot the way forward for the congregation. It called for: the launch of a five-year $1.0 million capital campaign to restore and improve the Kirk building; a program of congregational renewal to also roll out over a five-year period; and a commitment to maintain regular church operations and activities during the five years of the renewal program.

“We have worked very hard in 2018,” Robinson said, “to fashion a plan of action that will honour [the] desire to keep the Kirk going, and also deal realistically with the challenges we face in terms of financial capabilities and the number of volunteers available to undertake congregational renewal initiatives.”

The plan outlined will see necessary actions taken to restore the structural integrity and water-tightness of the building, restore stained glass windows, and also incorporate new washrooms, including barrier free washrooms to complement the Kirk’s recent actions to improve the accessibility of the Sanctuary.

The capital campaign will be led by a five-person Capital Campaign Executive Committee that was introduced during the congregational meeting. It will be chaired by accomplished Charlottetown lawyer and Kirk Elder, David Hooley, with fellow lawyer and long serving civil servant Shauna Sullivan Curley, another Kirk Elder, serving as Vice Chair. The committee’s membership is rounded out by Lorne Moase, retired provincial civil servant and former Clerk of Session; David Robinson, current Action Clerk of Session and a retired naval officer; and Rev. Amanda Henderson-Bolton, Minister of the Kirk of St. James.

Planning for the capital campaign will be facilitated by Campaign Coaches, a fundraising support company which helped Summerside Presbyterian Church run the successful capital campaign for its new church building; and by Coles Associates, which will provide engineering and architectural advice and support to the project.

Said Robinson in closing the meeting: “Friends, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for endorsing Session’s plans for our shared future. I believe that we are embarking on an achievable, forward-looking plan that will see us grow into a hopeful future. It is a plan that should allow us to hand down the legacy that is the Kirk to a new generation of believers. I am excited to be getting to work on this project, and I am sure that the rest of the Capital Campaign Executive Committee is as well.”

Plans call for the campaign to be formally launched early in 2019, after necessary preparatory work is completed.

Dr. Eric Green Lecturer 2018

August 2018







Living Close to Home: Local Choices for a Sustainable Future – the 2018 Dr. Eric Green Lecture, will be presented by the Rev. Dr. Peter Denton on Friday, September 28, 2018 at the University of Prince Edward Island in the Don and Marion McDougall Hall, Room 329, at 7:30 pm. The event is co-sponsored by the Kirk of St. James and the UPEI Environmental Studies program. It is a free public lecture, to which all are welcome.

Dr. Denton is the son-in-law of the Rev. Dr. Jim Farris and Jean Farris, of our congregation.

On Saturday, September 29, 2018, between 9:00 am and 2:00 pm in the Kirk of St. James church hall at 35 Fitzroy Street, Charlottetown, Dr. Denton will present Living Close to Home – the Workshop – based on his books, Live Close to Home (2016); Technology and Sustainability (2014); and Gift Ecology: Reimagining a Sustainable World (2012). This interactive workshop will explore how we can live rewarding yet sustainable lives right where we are. A light lunch will be provided. This is a free public workshop to which all are welcome. Pre-registration for the workshop is appreciated, by contacting (902) 892-2839 or

On Sunday, September 30, 2018 Dr. Denton, his wife, the Rev. Mona Denton, and their two children, Daniel and Ruth, will lead the worship service at the Kirk. Everybody is welcome to join us for this special occasion.

An ordained minister of the United Church of Canada, Dr. Denton holds five degrees, culminating in a Ph.D. in Religion and the Social Sciences (McMaster). He is an instructor in Technical Communications and Ethics at Red River College, and teaches ethics by distance education for the Philosophy Department at the University of Manitoba. He is also a Research Associate of the Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics.

Dr. Denton is Adjunct Associate Professor of History at the Royal Military College of Canada, where he has taught since 2003 primarily as a subject matter expert in technology, warfare and society. He designed and taught the first RMC graduate course on religion and modern war, which led to editing and publishing an anthology of his work and that of his students through the Canadian Defence Academy Press (Believers in the Battlespace: Religion, Ideology and War, 2011).

He is currently one of the two Regional Representatives for Major Groups and Stakeholders in North America to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). In that capacity, he attended the first United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi (June 2014) and related meetings, which led to an invitation to participate in the Global Intergovernmental Multi-Stakeholder Consultations for GEO 6, UNEP’s next planetary survey. At these meetings in Berlin in October 2014, he was elected and served as Rapporteur, responsible for the consultation outcome documents that established the parameters for GEO 6. He was subsequently appointed a Chapter Lead Author for the North American Regional Assessment in GEO 6.

Quilt Raffle

August 2018







A group of talented quilters have hand-made a beautiful 80” x 86” quilt for the purpose of raising funds for the Kirk of St. James. The eye-catching quilt (shown above) features rosy bunches, leafy green foliage and white posies, surrounded by chocolate brown borders. It would look stunning in your bedroom, or serve as a treasured Christmas gift or wedding present for loved ones.

The quilt was lovingly crafted by Christy Ashby, Helen Bartlett, Heather Henry-MacDonald, Valerie Moore, Marilyn Nicholson, Mar Thomson and Karen Murray. The first five listed are members of the Kirk, while the remaining two are our benefactors. The Kirk extends warmest thanks to all seven talented ladies for their kindness in making this fundraiser possible.

The quilt will be raffled, with the draw taking place later this fall. Tickets are $2.00 each or 3 for $5.00. They may be purchased from Christy Ashby at church, or from Amy Holloway in the Kirk office during office hours, Tuesday to Friday, 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Funds raised by the raffle will support a variety of Kirk programs and activities. Your support for this worthy enterprise is encouraged.

Kirk Youth a Suzanne Brenton Award winner

June 2018

The Kirk would like to congratulate Judy Yun on winning the Suzanne Brenton Award at the 2018 Kiwanis PEI Music Festival.

This award was established through an endowment from a former member of the PEI Symphony Orchestra who began to play the cello while in her sixties. The winner is selected from the outstanding soloists during the Music Festival competition, and is awarded the opportunity to perform a concerto or other solo work during a performance of the PEI Symphony Orchestra. Judy will be enjoying her opportunity to perform with the PEI Symphony Orchestra on February 24, 2019, at Zion Presbyterian Church.

Judy is a student at Colonel Gray High School, and travels to Halifax for her violin lessons. The musical selection that won Judy the Suzanne Brenton Award was Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor. This concerto was his last large orchestral work. It forms an important part of the traditional violin repertoire and is one of the most popular and beloved violin concertos in history.

Mendelssohn originally proposed the idea of the violin concerto to Ferdinand David, a close friend and then concertmaster of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, in 1838, but the work took another six years to complete and was not premiered until 1845. The composition was one of the foremost violin concertos produced during the Romantic era and influenced many other composers.

Judy is keeping her career horizons open at the moment. When she is not studying or playing the violin, she enjoys all kinds of art, including painting and drawing. She is the daughter of Hyeonjung Park and Dongkoo Yun. Her sister, Connie, is also an accomplished violinist. You will have the opportunity to enjoy the pair’s special musicianship during the Kirk’s worship service on August 19, 2018.

The Kirk’s Faith in Action Weekend

June 2018

On Saturday, June 9, the Kirk of St. James held its annual Faith-in-Action slate of activities in support of local mission and outreach. This event was first held in 2008, and has continued as a Kirk tradition ever since.

One team from the Kirk held a BBQ at the Habitat for Humanity’s Re-Store location, in order to raise funds for a future Habitat for Humanity building project. A second team prepared and served a spaghetti and meatballs meal at the Upper Room Soup Kitchen on Richmond Street. About 65 meals were served to very appreciative diners. A third team planted seed mats in the Adopt-a-Corner flower bed located kitty corner from the Kirk on the corner of Fitzroy and Pownal streets. The day’s fourth crew spent the morning giving our Sanctuary a good cleaning.

On Sunday, June 10, following worship, the congregation celebrated its accomplishments with a congregational luncheon and time of fellowship in the Upper Hall.

The Kirk thanks all of its very willing volunteers for an excellent display of community mindedness. Special thanks are due to the convener of the Mission and Outreach committee, Michele Coles, who did all of the organizational work that made the weekend a success.

New Accessible Pew at the Kirk

May 2018








If you have walked up the central aisle at the Kirk recently, you will have noticed that half a pew is missing on the north side. This need not be a cause of concern! The missing seating was purposefully removed as part of our ongoing efforts to make the Kirk more accessible, by providing a suitable seating area for those in wheelchairs or using walkers. Advice received from the Council for People with Disabilities had indicated that a central pew was the one best suited to this purpose.

The Management Committee arranged for this work in consultation with Josh Silver, Program Director of the Holland College Heritage Retrofit Carpentry Program. Many developers and communities are seeking to refit or re-use older structures like the Kirk, and as a result, demand for heritage retrofit carpenters is high. In this Holland College program, students learn the original construction techniques that were used centuries ago, and how to replicate them by combining traditional skills with the latest technology. The program components include timber frame carpentry, restoration and renovation, finishing, energy efficiency, and architectural history. A student of the program, Leif Hammarlund, did the work on the renovated Kirk pew, and has submitted a proposal to refit one of the front pews as well, in order to accommodate disabled access for members of wedding and funeral parties. Lief also repaired a badly cracked pew in the back south-east corner of the Sanctuary.

This improvement to Kirk accessibility follows our action in 2002 to install a wheelchair ramp at the front entrance to the Kirk. Murray Holmes was instrumental in having the ramp done at that time. Last year the lane side of the ramp’s support was damaged, and Murray Holmes again came to the rescue, arranging for a recent repair, and doing paint touch ups on the supports and rails last week.

Thank you, Murray and Leif for helping to make the Kirk more accessible to all!

Jim Macnutt wins national award for book

April 2018

Kirk Elder Jim Macnutt has won the Canadian Museums Association’s 2018 Award of Outstanding Achievement for his 2017 book, Historic Furniture of Prince Edward Island. The 352 page book contains 750 beautiful photographs and field note sketches. It describes and analyses a wide range of Island-made and imported furniture, covering 200 years of PEI history.

Said Jim Macnutt, “The bulk of the furniture that is illustrated in the book is made here on Prince Edward Island so you’ve got a range of what is called primitive … straight through to very top end, very high furniture.” The pieces covered in the book range from late 18th century furniture, to that made in the early 1900s. “The furniture tells a very, very distinct story and the story is it reflects the economic conditions of the province … the degree of wealth. It also reflects the education, knowledge and information people had of the outside world.”

According to reviewer Canadian Antiques & Vintage Magazine: “You need this book! There, I’ve said it. Yes, I know I’m supposed to be cool, calm, dispassionate. This is a book review, after all – so just the facts, please. And yet, with this book, I find that impossible. You get it all in this book: scholarly research, detailed explanation, stories behind the Island’s furniture-making traditions, including the people as well as the pieces, plus a plethora of wonderful images.”

The Kirk congratulates Jim on his most recent publishing accomplishment, and wishes him continued success.

Kirk Choral Scholars in National Youth Choir

April 2018

The Kirk’s four Choral scholars, Tara Llewellyn, Melissa Lewis, Ian Soloman and Gaige Waugh, have all been selected to join the National Youth Choir for 2018. All four study voice in the Music Department of the University of Prince Edward Island.

The National Youth Choir of Canada was founded by Choral Canada in 1984, for singers between the ages of 18 and 25. Every two years a quartet from each province or territory, representing the four voice parts, is selected to participate. The choir has won critical acclaim across the country since its inception and has done numerous recordings, as well as appearances on CBC Radio.

Our Choral Scholars will need to raise about $1,700 each to offset the cost of performing in the National Youth Choir, and to that end will be organizing a number of fund raising activities over the next few weeks. You are encouraged to offer them your support in this enterprise. Should you wish to do so, you can also direct a personal donation to our Choral Scholars by seeing Tara Llewelyn after Sunday service. Your support will be greatly appreciated and will help to facilitate a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

During 2018, the choir will be under the direction of Jeff Joudrey, Artistic Director of the Halifax Camerata Singers, which he founded in 1986, and Chorus Master of the Symphony Nova Scotia Chorus. He is also the Music Director at Trinity-St. Stephens United Church in Amherst, Nova Scotia. Dr. Phil Roberts, Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of PlayPianoNL and pianist of the Trinitas Chamber Ensemble, will serve as the choir’s accompaniest in 2018.

Lady Baker’s Tea Trolley becomes Kirk tenant

April 2018

Photo courtesy of the Guardian

Kirk member Katherine Burnett has moved the back-room part of her successful tea business, Lady Baker’s Tea Trolley, into facilities in the Kirk’s basement.

A member of the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada, Katherine has been operating her tea business for a decade. She mostly sells wholesale in the Maritimes, but also provides teas for sale at the Charlottetown Farmer’s Market and through her online sales outlet at: Recently her teas have been winning markets elsewhere in Canada, especially in Alberta and Saskatchewan locations, while her website sees a lot of American custom. Her company’s premium loose leaf teas (black, green, white, oolong and herbal) are ethically produced at the finest tea gardens in Asia and Africa. The business produces approximately 40 custom blends, some of which incorporate dried berries grown right here on PEI. Lady Baker’s Tea supports Fair Trade and the Ethical Tea Partnership.

One of Katherine’s popular products is the Post-teas, a trademarked item that is a decorated postcard that holds enough tea for two cups of loose tea and two sachets. It is a product designed especially for those who want something different than a simple postcard to send to acquaintances while on holiday.

Katherine will use her space at the Kirk for offices, for product packaging, and for warehousing.

Her business is named after Irene Baker, a friend 30 years Katherine’s senior, who used to invite her for tea when she was a young mother of five. Irene would use her best china to give her younger friend, and many others, a special treat during their busy lives. Irene earned the nickname “Lady Baker” because she loved the finer things in life. Now Katherine tries to carry on that legacy, offering her customers fine tea, and the chance for a refreshing respite whenever they need it.

The Royal Commonwealth Society 2018 Observances

March 2018

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.