ARICHAT: For years, the people of Arichat delighted in the twice-daily chimes that peeled out from the carillon at St. John’s Anglican Church.
Save for a few short bursts last Christmas, however, the chimes have been silent since the church was closed in 2014. But that’s about to change.
The Friends of St. John’s Arichat Society, which purchased the 122-year-old building this summer, is bringing the bells back as an early Christmas present to the people of Isle Madame, and to celebrate, the Friends will host an Old Fashioned Christmas in the church itself on November 25 and 26 from 4-8 p.m.
“Even before we bought the property, people were constantly asking when we’d start the bells ringing again,” said Anne Leavitt, chair of the Friends of St. John’s. “Well, we can now answer that question. They’ll start on November 19. And then I hope everyone joins us for a truly lovely celebration and start to the Christmas season by stopping by the church the following weekend.”
The weekend event will be largely a drop-in affair, though carols are promised at 6 p.m. on Saturday, and a children’s pageant will take place at 6 p.m. on Sunday. Krista Norman and Jocelyn Boudreau will perform both evenings. Becky Bourinot, who is organizing the music, says that a number of surprise musical guests can be expected, as well as Santa, who is expected to arrive before the pageant on Sunday.
Those who drop by will find the church beautifully decorated for a Victorian-era Christmas. Hot chocolate will be served, and there will be music throughout both days.
Leavitt says that a host of volunteers have been working to make the weekend event a success. Hope David-Boudreau has organized the decorating and pageant, and the local sea-cadets will also help to ensure that the church is ship-shape. Donations of decorating materials have poured in.
Admission to the Old Fashioned Christmas at St. John’s is by donation. Leavitt hopes the event will help raise money for renovations.
“Our goal is to host more and more events in this lovely old venue, especially music, as the acoustics are so great. The money people donate will be invested back into the building to make these events possible.”