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Heritage Sunday at Christ Church, Windermere

Posted: Aug 14, 2012

The following tribute was penned by long-time friend, Ian Turnbull:

Observations on the occasion of the dedication of Peter's Plaque

About seven years ago, Peter wrote and published the little book Christ Church, Windermere,1904 - 2004. The book is a testament not only to the life of Christ Church through its first century, but also to Peter's perspective on faith. He writes 'Any church, once constructed, soon attracts the installation of memorial gifts, both for the purpose of beautifying the church, and also to provide a visible remembrance of those who have provided our heritage' (page 28). Today we are dedicating a visible remembrance of Peter who passionately respected the heritage of Christ Church.

Describing the window at the back of the church on the north side, Peter notes that it conveys tribute to a priest. 'The biblical inscription reads Thou art a priest forever. It is from Psalm 110, which refers to Melchizedek, the most ancient priest mentioned in the history of Israel. By implication we are reminded that priesthood is a timeless office. As long as there has been civilization, there have been those who have been called to serve God in a special way. That way is the way of a servant, the one who gives himself so that Christ's love will be made known. ' (page 44) The Peter we knew and loved was such a servant.

The plaque reflects elements of the pyrographic (wood burned) artwork throughout the church, in particular the cross hatching on its border. The scroll reminds us of Peter's teaching ofthe scriptures. The oak leaf theme and the trees planted in Peter's name adjacent to the church remind us of his love of nature. He writes of the tree displayed in the centre window above the altar 'It is a symbol that can mean so much! For us it can mean life, growth, beauty, sustenance, support, and in particular, Muskoka.' (page 52)

Peter's spirit permeated this treasured little church through the decades he enriched our lives. Of the many clergy who served Christ Church through the last 108 years, Peter Hill holds the record for the longest continuous service, 17 years. He was priest in charge of Christ Church from 1994 until Thanksgiving last year. In 1999 when he retired from his teaching career, he opened the church year round.

We were privileged to know Peter as a teacher, a priest and a friend. May this plaque and the trees planted in his memory warmly remind us of his teachings and his walk in life amongst us.

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