The great theme of Thanksgiving resounded loud and clear in the seminary chapel throughout the Harvest Day kept under beautiful autumn weather this past Saturday, 19 October 2019.

In Dr Winger’s absence—the seminary president was in the midst of a mammoth 34-hour return journey from the Philippines—Dr Stephenson welcomed all who had journeyed to Harvest Day from various parts of Southern Ontario, and indicated that our usual thanksgiving to the Lord of harvest would this year encompass a very special thank you from the gathered assembly to two very special ladies who had served the Guild long and faithfully but were now stepping down from their duties. Pastoral Adviser Dr Ristau gave a brief report on the state of the seminary, indicating opportunities and challenges, and thanking the Guild for its support.

With the retirement of Judy Zastrow and Mary Silver as President and Vice-President about to take effect, the Business Meeting focused on electing new members to the Guild Executive. As anticipated, after a long stint as a highly efficient Secretary, Nancy Bryans was acclaimed as the new President. A happy surprise lay in store as Archana Paul, a member of Our Saviour, Etobicoke, and sister-in-law of final year MDiv student Vishal Paul, agreed to become Vice-President. Archana, a mother of two, is a trained psychiatric nurse who has just begun work as an assistant professor in the nursing programme of York University. And Membership Chairman Karen Kaija, who has industriously been building up the membership base and energetically developing contacts with sponsoring congregations, kindly agreed to undertake double duty by serving from henceforth as Guild Secretary also.

Judy Zastrow and Mary Silver each delivered prepared remarks as they handed over their offices to Nancy Bryans and Archana Paul, whereupon new President Nancy Bryans surprised both ladies with gifts of custom-framed prints of the chapel stained glass window, which was given by the Guild a good three decades ago. Judy and Mary considered the prints a perfect gift and announced their intention to hang them on their living room walls without further ado.

Second-year seminarian Jason Gillard preached at a service of Matins led by Vishal Paul, which featured a choir anthem conducted by Music Director Paulo Winterle. Before the blessing, Dr Stephenson stepped forward to install Nancy, Archana, and Karen in their new offices.

With Dr Winger away from the organ bench, Andrew Hayes had already played for the opening Hymn Sing. After chapel, this local grade 12 high school student who serves in succession to Dianne Humann as organist at Resurrection, St. Catharines, held the gathering spellbound with an energetic and beautifully played organ recital, which culminated in his accompanying spirited hymn singing by the assembly.

After the Introduction of Students, President Bryans connected students and their families for lunch with Guild members present from their adopting congregations. All present ate heartily  from a lunch prepared by Antipastos di Roma and served by Hosting Co-ordinator Linda Lantz and her family. As lunch progressed, Library Manager Sarah Cavanagh was delighted to welcome a stream of visitors to the Reformation Rare Books Room.

The Seminary Guild is alive and well and already looking forward to Guild Day 2020.

More photos are available here.

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