At St. John's, there are a number of teams that expand our worship opportunities. These groups enhance our regular worship services and allow greater opportunity for our parishioners to become involved.
Membership in the choir consists of approximately 15 adults. Some are trained singers and some are not, but all possess a common love of music, singing, and a dedication to their church and choir. A wide variety of music is sung from standard hymns, Anglican chant, and traditional anthems to modern anthems and Taize chants. A high standard is expected and usually achieved Sunday by Sunday. In addition, special music is prepared for Good Friday, Easter, and Christmas.
The choir is always looking for new members. Are you willing to spend one evening of the week with the choir to prepare our music so that the worship goes smoothly and beautifully? Are you willing to share your musical talent and offer it back to the Lord just as He granted it to you? If the answer is 'Yes', you may be a great addition to St. John's Choir. There are two general requirements: that you can sing in tune and that your voice blends well with others. New members are heartily welcomed into the choir even on a temporary basis.
Rehearsals are on Thursdays from 7:30 until 9:00 PM. Please contact the Director of Music at 705-745-7624 if interested.
"I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly." John 10:10
The Parish Life ministry area includes:
- the weekly Grapevine bulletins;
- coffee and discussion before and after Sunday services;
- hospitality after other special events;
- St. Margaret's Guild fellowship, lunches, and speakers;
- bridge clubs, canoe outings, family events;
- bake sales, fashion shows, dinners, and other fundraising events;
- publicity, posters, tickets, and other materials to promote ongoing events;
- maintenance of attractive grounds, lighting, signage, etc.
"Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers - not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be." 1 Peter 5:2
Pastoral care and hospitality provides for:
- Visits and Holy Communion to the sick, infirm, and bereaved by clergy, St. Michael's Guild and lay visitors in hospital, retirement homes, or at home;
- Pastoral counseling, spiritual help and guidance, phone calls, maintenance of an up-to-date parish list, and coordination of Prayers of the People requests.
The hospitality committee provides food and refreshment for funerals. Call Ruth Warburton (705) 745-8075 for information.
Deanery Hospital Visitors
Deanery Hospital Visitors is a group of trained volunteers from the Peterborough Deanery who visit all identified Anglicans in the hospital.
Care in Difficult Times
Please contact the office if you or a loved one are in hospital so that our clergy can visit, or if you wish to be upheld in prayer. While some members of our Parish are also Deanery Hospital Visitors, or PRHC volunteers, they are careful to protect the privacy of the people they visit, and our clergy need to be informed directly in order to be a part of your support team in a time of crisis.
New Members Ministry
For more information please contact the church office.
St. Michael’s Guild
The Guild visits members of the congregation who, through illness or infirmity, cannot attend regular services in the Church. Call Diane Passmore for more information.
Prayer Chain members pray for the needs and concerns of the parish and parishioners. Prayer requests can be made that are restricted to the prayer chain and not included in the public prayers of the church in order to maintain confidentiality in sensitive situation. For more information or to make prayer request please contact Joyce Evans.
"Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs."
The Worship and Music ministry provides for:
- a warm and inviting Sanctuary and Guild Hall for Sunday morning services, and Taize services on the second and fourth Sunday afternoons;
- our organist and Choir Director;
- worship supplies, including wine and bread, cleaned robes and alter cloths;
- new music, special musicians, and a choral scholar program;
- the Server's Guild;
- Chancel Guild, church flowers, and decorations;
- time for the preparation of liturgy and sermons;
- visiting clergy and guest speakers;
- special services (e.g. Christmas, Easter)
- Baptisms, weddings, funerals.
Every Sunday, at weddings and on most special occasions, the bellringers provide a public announcement of activities at our Church. Volunteers with an ability to read music and climb the ladder to the bell tower are always welcome. Contact John Earnshaw (295-4501) for more information.
Volunteers administer the sacrament of wine during the Eucharist services and on other festive occasions. Chalice administrators are appointed by the Rector and licensed by the Bishop.
Members of the Chancel Guild ensure that the physical requirements for each service are prepared. Members work in teams, about 6 times per year and are appointed by the clergy. Call Esther Dore (742-6656) for more information.
The choir provides choral music at all sung services between September and May. Practices are held weekly on Thursday evenings. Any one with a good singing voice is always welcome. Contact the Director of Music (745-7624) for more information.
Members of the congregation present the bread and wine during the 10:00 AM Sunday Eucharist service as well as at other special services. Call the church office for more information.
Greeters welcome everyone as they enter the church for worship.
Volunteers lead the Prayers of the People during regular weekly services. Contact Bruce Pond for more information.
Members read the Bible readings during the regular Sunday services. Contact the office for more information.
The Guild provides servers, crucifers, candle bearers and sacrists for the Sunday and major weekday services. At St. John’s, servers are usually younger people who attend regularly. The normal starting age is about 9. There are six sacrists who superintend the liturgy.
Contact Ian Storey, (705-748-9827) for more information.
Six teams of sidespeople serve one Sunday in rotation. Responsibilities include distributing bulletins, providing activity bags for children, supplying equipment for the hearing impaired, taking collection and assisting at communion. New members are always welcome. Contact Bob Hinton (745-1463) for more information.
Peterborough People’s Chimes Nearly 100 years ago, on June 22, 1911, an immense crowd of Peterborough people gathered on the lawn of St. John’s Anglican Church on Hunter Street to dedicate the “People’s Chimes”, newly installed in the tower of St. John’s Church. The thirteen bells, weighing close to eight tons (the largest bell, the C bell, weighed over one and a half tons) were then the heaviest set of bells in Canada, perhaps in North America. Chimes have between eight and 22 bells, while carillons have 23 bells or more. The Peterborough set of bells was founded and tuned by John Taylor & Co. of Loughborough, England, the fashionable bell founders. The People’s Chimes, though housed at St. John’s, were a gift of the community to the community.
Fred Holmes, recently arrived from England, said he raised, in 1905, the idea that Peterborough should have a set of bells. He told the Rev. Canon (later Archdeacon) John C. Davidson the difference between a peal of bells and a chime; the former runs by ropes, the latter is controlled from a keyboard.
Canon Davidson, the Rector of Peterborough, a leader in the local ministerial association, was a respected community leader with a rare reputation for promoting Christian harmony. He became aware that very year of a nice set of bells, founded by the respected Meneeley firm in Troy, New York, and installed at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Cobourg. He probably learned of other sets of bells, such as the magnificent set which had run in the cathedral in Fredericton, New Brunswick, since 1849; it was extended from eight bells to 15 in 1911.
Davidson took the idea of chimes to the vestry, the annual meeting of the congregation of St. John’s, on Easter Monday, 1910. He proposed that the church could acquire from England a set of tubular chimes for a cost of only $1,250 to $1,500. The congregation was not immediately sold on the idea; after all the church had a very good bell, and the church had other priorities. Alex Elliott was enthusiastic even before the meeting; he donated $100, and found four others to donate $145. Vestry gave Elliott and Davidson permission to test the waters. If the chime was to be used for all public occasions, perhaps, they could get the support of citizens outside the congregation. If successful by October, the committee could order the chime from England to be installed by Sunday, November 1. One citizen, with experience in tubular chimes, approached English bell makers.
By the end of the month, April 1910, the project was redefined dramatically. Two thousand dollars was raised within a few weeks, beginning with a gift of $200 from Senator George A. Cox whose extraordinary fortune was rooted in Peterborough. Friends and subscribers said Peterborough should “get the very best and only the best bells which can be procured.” The campaign widened. Major names were contacted by letter. Canvassers spread the news by word of mouth, often right in the work places. Downtown stores such as Coleman Brothers and Graftons had subscription lists. Meetings of subscribers were scheduled. The local newspapers appealed to the pride of the citizens and commended “the soothing, softening strain of the chime” on the hectic urban pace.
People believed that Peterborough deserved real bells, not tubular chimes, and the committee should raise funds until it would be possible to order ten or eleven bells without going into debt. The Examiner, with booster pride, said, “The public have taken the matter in their own hands and their interest in the people’s chimes should continue till the fund amounts to a sum sufficient to provide the finest peal of bells on the continent,…”
The fundraising campaign was thorough. Those giving over $100 included the Boyds from Bobcaygeon, J. G. Browne, H. M. and W. H. Cottingham, Cox, Elliott, the Dickson family ($300), Sarah Fitzgerald ($500), Ryerson Ritchie and E. R. Wood. Miss Fitzgerald also purchased the old bell for All Saints’ Church, where it still rings. The Hon. J. R. Stratton committed his paper, the Examiner, to support the project. Several fraternal organizations, the 57th Regiment and labour unions supported the fundraising. Miss Denison’s Bible Class raised $50; other parish organizations raised funds as well. The employees of several companies, some using novel payroll deduction schemes, pitched in. These employees worked at Ackerman’s, Adamson and Dobbin, Bell Telephone, Brinton Carpet, Canadian Canoe, the lamp department at Canadian General Electric, the Canadian Pacific railway station, Cressman’s department store, Curtis brick works, William English Canoe, the Examiner, Nugent Drugs, the Oriental Hotel, Peterborough Canoe, Peterborough Lock, Peterborough Lumber, Peterborough Radial Railway, Quaker Oats, Rapid Tool, the Peterborough Review newspaper, William Stock bakery, Trebilcock Brothers and J. J. Turner and Sons. An additional 500 people from all walks of life made donations. At least 1,600 people gave something. By the time the People’s Chimes was dedicated debt free, nearly $6,500 had been raised.
The bells each had names. The largest bell was the “Peterborough Chime.” The other original bells were named Love, Joy, Peace, Long-suffering, Gentleness, Faith, Meekness, Temperance, Hope and Perseverance. The eleventh bell was dedicated “In memory of Mrs. Sarah Fitzgerald.” Since then an F bell was added in 1964, and a G bell in 1993. The largest bells were installed in 1911, and according to officials at Taylor Bells who came to the church in September 1993, the tower is large enough to accommodate the additional eight bells that would convert the People’s Chimes into a carillon of 23 bells.
The dedication service was the major Peterborough event marking the coronation of George V. Coincidentally the chimes celebrated also the 75th anniversary of the first service in St. John’s Church, and the 85th anniversary of the parish. The 57th Regiment had its Coronation Day parade to the lawn of St. John’s Church. They were joined by boy scouts and representatives, in full regalia, of fraternal societies. Coleman’s prepared a “sumptuous repast” for leaders of the unions, fraternal societies, and other organizations that had supported the campaign. Ministers of nearly every denomination were on the platform as the Anglican Bishop of Toronto, the Rt. Rev. James F. Sweeney, gave the prayers of dedication and benediction. Other dignitaries included Mayor W. G. Morrow, J. H. Stratton, MP, T. E. Bradburn, MPP, Judge E. C. Huycke and the church wardens, Henry Rush and G. A. Smith. The choir sang Psalm 150, “Praise Him with sounding cymbals; praise Him with loud crashing cymbals!” John Butcher, the sexton, and R. J. Devey, the organist, and perhaps others, performed the first “People’s Chimes” concert.
The chime was the gift of the people of Peterborough, and were entrusted in perpetuity to this congregation at that dedication service. Over the years the chimes have marked important public moments: they were played daily for many months of 1918, 1967 and 1976-7. They were played for V-E Day, for the death of monarchs, Sir Winston Churchill and other public dignitaries.
Robertson Davies used to request tunes on St David’s Day, and a few years ago Sylvia Sutherland arranged a noon-hour chimes concert on St David’s Day. The congregation has been true to its trust. A fourteenth bell was added in 1964. In 1993, there was a major refurbishing of the bells, and new clappers were installed. A fundraising appeal led to the addition of a fifteenth bell. The changes were made by craftsmen at Taylor Bells, still leaders in the field the company defined.
The People’s Chime seemed the right thing to do in 1911. Peterborough had the tower, which John Belcher, the local architect arranged to reinforce. The location, and its 1875 bell, had long been familiar to local people. The project touched people with enthusiasm, and local pride and ambitions were easily harnessed. This remarkable symbol of community pride, then, in 1911, the largest set of bells in Canada, still remains one of Canada’s outstanding chimes. Note: The correct expression is Peterborough Chime, as the word “chime” as a noun refers to a set of bells. However, in our case, the large bell was named “Peterborough Chime” and in common local usage people referred to the total set as “Peterborough Chimes”, including on the bronze plaque that was unveiled in June 1911 and in my 1975 history of the parish.