News Story

‘Messiah’ Sing at Historic Anglican Church in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia

The first “Messiah” Sing in conjunction with a live broadcast of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square to be held at any church in Nova Scotia made history March 24, 2018. Father Chad McCharles, the priest at St. James’ Anglican Church in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, and Bishop John Caulfield of the nearby Bridgewater congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints welcomed the audience to the event.

St. James’ is one of three churches along the waterfront that is often featured in tourist brochures. Its architecture is High Victorian Gothic style with a tall spire and bell tower.

In his welcome, Father McCharles said, “It is wonderful to come together to celebrate what we have in common instead of focusing on our differences.”

Of Father McCharles, Anna Davison, the Dartmouth Nova Scotia Stake director of public affairs, said: “He is a breath of fresh air in our community of Mahone Bay. ... [He is] very approachable, kind, helpful and very interested in interfaith workings. [He] has been here just over a year, is very musical and well thought of in his parish. He is open to new connections.”

Davison felt impressed to approach Father McCharles about hosting the “Messiah” Sing event, and he readily agreed. When Davison and her technical helper, Joe Edmonds, were at St. James’ the week before the event, she told Father McCharles, “I have lived in this town for over 45 years, and you are the first minister I felt would be receptive to co-hosting an event of this nature.”

About 55 people attended, evenly split between community members and Latter-day Saints. Stake patriarch Wayne Hunt had been excitedly waiting for the day. He sat close to the front with his wife. He said he loves the “Messiah” oratorio and has been singing it since he was a teenager in southern Alberta, when he would take the music to his bedroom and listen to it over and over until he knew every word.

Community member Patricia Watson’s enthusiasm could be seen on her face at the intermission. She grew up in New Jersey, where the community churches would gather together annually and sing “Messiah.” “My mother dragged me along every year from the time I was very young, and now I love it too,” she said. “This has been wonderful.”

At the event, over $50 and eight boxes of food donations were collected for Feed Nova Scotia.

Other stakes across Canada also reported positive experiences of participating in “Messiah” sing-along events. For example, the Riverbend Alberta Stake in Edmonton held a multistake event in which 20 different choirs were invited to participate. The Sherwood Park Alberta Stake in Edmonton and the Toronto Ontario Stake also held events. The “Messiah” Sing was a wonderful experience, and the power of the music testifying of the divinity of Jesus Christ was spiritually edifying for those who participated.

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