September 28, 2022
By Mike Riley
Journalist of the Local Journalism Initiative
The Reverend Lynn Watson’s farewell service and farewell sermon to the Bancroft-Carlow Pastoral Charge was held Sept. 25 at 10:30 a.m. at the Village Playhouse in Bancroft. Many in the community attended and wanted to hear him render his last service here in Bancroft, reminisce about his time here and say goodbye to a respected minister, friend and beloved member of the community. Next month, Watson will begin giving weekly services at the Norwood-Westwood Pastoral Charge.
Watson’s last service on September 25 at 10:30 a.m. at the Village Playhouse here in town had many congregants and community members wanting to say goodbye to a respected minister and community member who had been an integral part of the community for so many of years. .
Watson has come up with many initiatives to help the community over the years she has been here, including Theology on Tap, which brought people of different faiths together over a pint to discuss spirituality, initiating family sponsorship Syrian refugees and bringing them to Bancroft (despite the controversy it caused in the community) and the opening of the church as a warming center for the homeless during the winter of 2019/2020, among many many other good deeds.
Watson’s September 25 sermon focused on reconciliation, resurrection and redemption, and the challenge of believing that they are possibilities and happening all around us all the time.
She said the challenge for participants was whether they will be the church and if they already are, will they find their place to serve and use their gifts to reconcile and make something new. Will they show that there is life beyond this life and will they know that things that are broken can be fixed.
As Truth and Reconciliation Day approaches on September 30, she said we will hear a lot of reconciliation over the following week. She liked the reconciliation with the bank, in that you count all your debits and credits and hope they are somewhat balanced, with credits coming first.
“But if we don’t count the debits and we spend willy-nilly as we have a lot of credits, we are not reconciled. Marsha shared her story of her family’s legacy with residential schools, the results of the Indian Act. If we don’t recognize that there are debits, we can’t spend our credits. So reconciliation is about coming together and figuring out how we can be a country that is on the positive side of what it means to be a nation,” she says.
Music group The Revelins performed several songs during the service in honor of Watson, including I Will Rise, If It Be Your Will (Leonard Cohen cover), Better Times Will Come and The Beautiful Sunday (Daniel Boone cover ).
After doing the land reconnaissance, Marsha Depotier offered a prayer of reconciliation and shared her story as a second generation residential school survivor and the impact it had on her and her family. She then offered a prayer song on her hand drum for everyone, and for Watson, as she traveled.
Watson told congregants that when she started here in Bancroft in July 2012, the first service she attended at the United Church, the first hymn sung was Let Us Build a House. She offered this song as the last hymn to sing to conclude her last service here in town, before she leaves for the pastoral charge of Norwood-Westwood next week.
“Let this be a prayer for us, let this be a call to action, let this be a call for justice, let this be a call for inclusiveness, let this be a call to affirm all humanity so that we are looking to build a house. Let’s build a house,” she said.
Judy Edgar then spoke, recounting how she had met Watson decades ago when they both worked at TD Canada Trust, recalling that she had been ‘a worse cashier’ than Watson, and giving her credit to bring him back to the church.
“And then I became very involved in the church. I was in the choir, I was secretary in several committees, then I became the administrative assistant for four years and I worked with Lynn and she was great. And that’s why there are so many people here today because of you, what you do for the community. There’s so much I can say you’ve done for us, but I’ll be here for hours. I just want to say thank you,” she said.
Edgar introduced some ladies from the Bancroft-Carlow pastoral charge, who then presented Watson with a beautiful wooden paddle, complete with an etching of the two churches, courtesy of local artist Arne Roosman. Watson gratefully accepted and thanked everyone.
Among the many worshipers present on September 25, Elaine White was among them. She was there with her husband Milton and said Watson had been their minister for many years, married her and her husband, and was friends with Lynn’s sister Ardyth.
“But we have known Lynn for a long time. Many years ago Lynn and I worked together at the IDA store before I entered nursing and she entered the ministry. I think people will miss her. She has been good to this community and is like a breath of fresh air. She may not have fit the standard of a church minister, but that’s fine. She is full of energy and has great ideas. She’s a happy person and she’s not afraid to address issues, that’s one of the great things about her. He’s a wonderful, dedicated person,” she says.
Tony Klompmaker, there with his wife Rita, said they would miss Watson.
“She is part of this community in a big way. We are not regular members, but we just come to see her,” he says.
Janice Sears, there with her friend Eileen Carr, said Watson’s departure left her sad.
“Lynn and I have been friends since we were four years old and we still walk together, her and her dog Cohen and my dog. So yes, she will be missed.