Another day has passed on our pilgrimage. Thankfully the weather cooled for our walks. We drove from Richmond Corner to Kirkland and were met at the church by a group of parishioners, who joined us for Morning Prayer and a short walk to the Presbyterian church. Then we got into the car and drove to Benton, where we had midday prayers and lunch before setting out on a 10 km hike to the Maliseet Trail. We were met at the entrance to the Falls walk by others from Woodstock and walked through the woods together. Then it was back to Woodstock for a wonderful supper and Evening Prayer at Christ Church, Lower Woodstock.
The Falls at the end of the Maliseet Trail are high and often have a large volume of water passing over them. Today the recent dry weather meant that this was not the case, but it is easy to imagine how spectacular things would be were the stream in full spate. One thing I would note is that once again the mosquitoes and black flies were in evidence around the Falls, but it was worth the effort to see them.
I was impressed again today by the dedication of a few people to maintaining their church buildings. There are three churches in the parish of Canterbury and we visit the final one tomorrow; for Holy Communion. It is strange how knowledge and reality sometimes come together to challenge. Canon Jim Irvine provides Eucharistic ministry in the area, alternating between the church buildings. It is tremendous that he and many other retired clergy undertake this ministry. That is the knowledge, but the reality is that when Jim cannot come then there is no service. This raises many questions, which have to be considered.
The church in Benton is a true resurrection story. In 1980 the building was completely gutted by fire. The parishioners were told that it was beyond salvaging. Local tradesmen worked hard to restore the structure and it stands to this day as a monument to their dedication.
The visit to the Falls was poignant because of a story I was told when we were standing at the bottom looking up. A few years ago, some young people were camping at the top of the Falls and three of them fell to their deaths. It was a great tragedy. It made me think about how the beauty of God’s creation can be juxtaposed with such a terrible thing, yet the presence of God is within both.
Finally, we look forward to tomorrow. In the morning it is Confirmation at St. Luke’s, then a walk to Christ Church Afterwards we hit the Canterbury Trail to celebrate Holy Communion there in the evening.