Please consider this your personal invitation to attend the 98th Annual Goderich & District Mariners’ Service Sunday, February 26th at 7:30 p.m. at Knox Presbyterian Church.
If you come at 7 p.m., you can see an excellent slide presentation entitled “A Mariner’s Journey Along Our Shores” produced by Jan Hawley and Colleen Maguire.
This year’s guest speaker is the Rev. David Nicholson, who was minister at Knox Goderich from 1988 until 1996. His sermon title is “A Portrait of Life”.
The Harbouraires will perform four songs for their 58th consecutive appearance.
Colleen Maguire, the new co-chair of the Mariners’ Service, will enact the always moving Moments of Remembrance, in which she rings a bell 13 times to co-incide with the year of the Great Storm of 1913 while we remember all ships and sailors lost on our waters and pray for safe passage in 2012.
After the service, everyone is invited downstairs to MacMillan Hall for refreshments, fellowship and the viewing of marine artifacts and exhibits. This year, we will highlight some of the Ron Pennington Collection, donated recently to Knox by Ron’s widow Lenna, an honourary member of our committee.
Ron headed the Mariners’ Service Committee for many years until his death in 1993. Over the years, the 10 unidentified bodies that washed ashore at Goderich and Kincardine after the Great Storm, faded from memory until Ron, an elder at Knox and a sailor himself for more than 30 years, made these seamen his particular concern.
In 1978, he persuaded Goderich and Kincardine town councils to repair their grave sites, refurbish the memorial stones and implement graveside services each November. (Note: Last year, two navy vessels came to Goderich after the tornado and crew members cleaned and repaired the Unidentified Seamen’s grave site at Maitland Cemetery in time for the September 25th Sailors Memorial Decoration Ceremony).
Ron assembled a wealth of information about ships, the lakes and sailing. One of the artifacts he donated to the Huron County Museum will be on display. It is a trunk originally found by Carl Houston of Bayfield on a beach four miles south of Bayfield where it washed ashore after the Great Storm.
Other interesting items include the original “Order of Service” used during the 1913 funeral at Knox for 23 of the 250 sailors who died during the Great Storm and several ship models made by the late Jack Finegan on loan to us from Goderich Legion Branch 109.
I know distance and possibly weather may determine whether some of you can attend, but for those of you who can, I am sure you will find the evening colourful, nostalgic, moving and inspiring.
Hope to see you there!
Joanne Walters, Co-Chair, Mariners’ Service Committee
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