Cottagers enjoy carol service at Orsmby Heritage Church

A Delightful Christmas Carol Service at Ormsby Heritage Church

By Peter R. Mittler

Dec 6, 09 — Having spent more than 25 years coming up to Wollaston Lake with family and friends I never really felt a connection to the local community except perhaps in a perfunctory way during runs to town for fuel, food and bottle swaps.

Then we bought our own cottage and started coming up from the city in the fall and winter. It is a much more peaceful and quiet experience from the hustle and bustle of summer weekends.

While browsing in The Old Hastings Gallery, enjoying a cup of hot mulled cider offered by Lillian, she mentioned that there was to be a carol service on Sunday night. “If you are interested please sign up for either the 6pm or 8pm service. Last year we had to turn people away”. Sign up? Full? Hmmm. …. “And our trio, well not the trio on our CD’s, but another lady trio will be doing two songs and I will do a solo if my sore throat holds up. Gary is over at the church warming up the stove for tonight’s rehearsal”.

Wow, intriguing. Lillian’s enthusiasm was infectious. Normally we would be ‘gone’ by late Sunday but semi-retirement affords the opportunity to stay over on Sunday night and having been involved in many Christmas Worship services, cantatas and such (with the Grace Church [Presbyterian] choir in Scarborough), we were most interested.

“What are you singing?” I asked. “O how a …. something or other…..” … “O How a Rose ‘er Blooming?” I queried. “That’s it. You know it”? “Yes, I sang the tenor part a number of years ago”. “Would you like to come by tonight and assist our tenor learn it?” And so I did.

One cannot help but appreciate how much dedication and love of faith went in to the establishment of that little church in 1904 and, furthermore, how much continued adoration for God and community must have gone into its restoration. Well done!

Imagine a four piece French horn/bassoon ensemble, a trio of singers with guitar accompaniment, worship leadership and a packed church all singing carols in harmony. Follow this with a good old-fashioned social mixer with cider, sandwiches and shortbreads at the Old School House Tea Room. It was delightful.

We also met the Conlin family, whose ancestors were pictured in graduation photos on the wall, one of whom used to come and light the fire in the school house and return home for breakfast! This was particularly poignant considering the ground outside was covered with the first real snowfall we had experienced this season.

Thanks to Gary, Lillian and their friends and family for preparing and sharing a bit of “country Christmas” with us. And thanks to the local community who shared an evening of fellowship with a couple of city folk.

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