Dimanche matin, j’avais le plaisir et l’honneur de remplacer le maire lors d’un événement majeur pour quelqu’un comme moi qui défend le patrimoine (et celui d’Aylmer en particulier) depuis tant d’années et qui croit sincèrement à la vie communautaire. Il s’agissait d’une célébration spéciale à l’occasion du 175e anniversaire de la paroisse anglicane Christ Church Aylmer. L’événement était présidé par l’évêque anglican du diocèse d’Ottawa, John Chapman. L’accompagnaient le révérend Éric Morin (que je connais depuis plusieurs années), pasteur de cette paroisse, et le révérend David Oliver. Voici le discours que j’ai livré à cette occasion.
«Good morning, bonjour,
Today, through this religious service, we celebrate the central role that Christ Church Aylmer has played in our community for the past 175 years.
Throughout these 17 plus decades, generations of parishioners have built their lives around this religious institution.
In Christ Church Aylmer, they have found a place of love, which they could call their spiritual home, and where they could feel a deep sense of community.
Christ Church Aylmer has, from its earliest days been open to all Gatineau residents, in service to their faith and other needs.
Christ Church Aylmer has been involved in many charitable activities, including the Aylmer Food Bank. It has welcomed refugees, and in 2016 inaugurated a forum where social service and non-profit groups could better network and serve the community. I’ve attended most of those meetings and I salute this initiative.
Your involvement in the Daily Bread food lunch program in Gatineau schools is also worth mentioning. By investing in Gatineau’s youth as you do through this program, not only do you open their minds to learning, but also their hearts and their receptiveness to others, making them better members of this community.
I would like to thank Bishop Chapman and all the members of the Church for their generosity.
Past members of this Church were some of the founding fathers and builders of Gatineau and of the Outaouais. As we can all see, your members continue to be major contributors to its evolution.
To this day, Christ Church Aylmer remains a focal point in Gatineau’s urban landscape, and a reminder that it has been a major partner in the city’s development.
This beautiful building is in and of itself a daily, permanent, tangible presence of the Anglican faith in our community.
It is hardly surprising that the Conseil du patrimoine religieux du Québec (of which, incidentally, I am a Board member) has recognized the historic and architectural value of this structure as a prime example of a heritage building.
Christ Church Aylmer is part of the soul of Old Aylmer.
It is at the heart of this community’s life, and always will be.