All work and no play was never even in the cards

Published September 1, 2001

Waterloo, Ont.

WHEN event organizer Heide Wilker heard the Three Cantors at her Lutheran Eastern Synod Assembly last summer, she had a vision.

Mrs. Wilker, knowing the power of her Lutheran pastor’s trained tenor voice, thought he should sing with the Cantors’ Anglican baritone, Dean Peter Wall of the diocese of Niagara, to celebrate full communion between the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.

Her pastor, Rev. Thomas Doherty, agreed, and the General Synod local arrangements committee brought the two together.

On July 7, at the joint Lutheran-Anglican banquet outside Waterloo, the two singers wowed the house of 1,400 people with a medley of show tunes, ballads and hymns.

Seated in front of the stage, Bishop Telmor Sartison of ELCIC and Anglican Archbishop Michael Peers cheered, laughed, clapped and at times wept.

At the beginning of the evening, Valerie Cunningham piped the crowd, bussed from Waterloo, into the banquet hall. Ms. Cunningham chose for her first piece “The Meeting of the Waters.” The lyrics, by Thomas Moore, were “representative of our journey together as Anglicans and Lutherans,” the programme read.

Ms. Cunningham is parish nurse at Augsburg Evangelical Lutheran church in Brampton, Ont., where Mr. Doherty is pastor.

After the crowd of 650 Anglicans and 750 Lutherans had a buffet dinner and wine, the two pastor-singers got into their act. They first set the tone when they “dressed” one another in their pastoral black gowns, with much showy fumbling.

Lyrics for at least three of their numbers were “massaged” for the occasion, including the opening song, “Because.” In the song, the two singers postured as lovesick swains. Mr. Wall sang “because I’m Anglican and no one loves me,” and Mr. Doherty crooned back “I’m here, you need me more than you can know. I’m here, I’m Lutheran to the core.” The room rocked with laughter, and song followed song for the next hour.

General Synod members were never short of parties and festivities.

There was an opening reception hosted by the local arrangements committee, followed the next evening by a boisterous and crowded “Montreal night,” jointly hosted by the Anglican diocese of Montreal and ELCIC at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Montreal night had a Caribbean band from Montreal and bagels flown in fresh from a Montreal deli. On the Friday, there was a social hosted by the diocese of Huron, followed by the joint celebratory banquet on Saturday.

The festivities didn’t stop there. While delegates got an “evening off” from partying on Monday, on Tuesday the diocese of Niagara hosted another party, complete with Niagara wines and a brass band. People had recovered. It was the last night, and it was crowded.


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