Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sutherland Memorial Service

This Sunday is the Annual Sutherland Memorial Service at St. Stephen's Anglican Church in Courtright, Ontario. Unfortunately, the original Mooretown church built by Thomas Sutherland (1772-1850) proved to be unsound, and was abandoned in 1863 (to be taken down in 1881). St. Stephen's was the eventual successor. This sketch of the original church was completed by Sutherland's daughter, Grace, during a visit to England in the 1840s.

A very kind gentleman, Paul, of St. Stephen's has been quite helpful to me in my research into the artifacts inherited from the original church, and has generously invited me to contribute a statement for the Sutherland Memorial Service. This is the statement I have sent--though I leave it to Paul's discretion to decide whether it is appropriate:

After so much research, I have come to feel that I know Thomas Sutherland. The stories preserved about him suggest he was a dynamic man, kind, funny, ambitious, and inventive, though—like many of us—proud and possessing a bit of a temper. But he was not small minded, welcoming visitors and traveling clergymen, regardless of denomination, into his home. His personal generosity and hospitality was notable: he shared the contents of his well-stocked wine cellar, just as he loaned out books from his library. While he relocated to upper Canada to secure additional advantages for himself and his children, he believed financial gains alone were not sufficient without a strong community to enjoy them in. This is evident in the institutions he founded and sponsored, including the church at Mooretown. For him, the church was a fundamental part of his world, a belief he passed onto his children. Thank you to all who have participated in his legacy, preserving the stories and artifacts which have made him come alive for me.

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