MEANING, MENTORS, and FRIENDSHIPS
120th Anniversary Celebration Blog Part 4
By Peggy Dunbar, Current President FBCH Auxiliary
Earlier, in this our celebratory anniversary year, Auxiliary members were approached individually with a set of five questions. These included, what brought them to the Auxiliary, what the Auxiliary has meant to them, their favorite Auxiliary event, their fondest memories, and if they were to promote the Auxiliary to potential, interested people, what would they say.
This article reflects some of the wonderful, thoughtful responses as gathered over a cup of coffee or tea, by phone, or through email.
MEANING, MENTORS, and FRIENDSHIPS
In its most exact interpretation, Auxiliary means to give help, to support. As you look to our history and to recent activities, this has been the main purpose behind the FBCH Auxiliaries. We have assumed and provided direct support for the Church kitchens and its Parlour, including furnishing and upkeep. This along with an array of other activities, has allowed us to support the everyday life of the church—its music, its Sunday School, and its outreach. We support the Minister and the church ministry and missions. We provide support for members, and each other, as we celebrate and remember. Receptions and catering special functions have been a calling, and one mastered by our members (who make the nicest sandwiches and best sweets). In the earliest days, members would have kept the church presentable—cleaning, washing, painting and polishing; purchasing supplies; and provided financial support for the rebuilding of the church, and the new CE Wing. We have adapted over time as local and world events, such as two world wars and the Halifax Explosion, have called us to pivot to meet immediate needs, and to support not only our own, but the broader community (near and far).
Becoming a member of the Auxiliary, for many, has been a natural progression as members serve and support the church which has been the generational home of their families. A number of members attribute this progression to the times and the expectations of giving what you could—your time, your talents… You either moved through missionary or other church groups, or you had been actively involved in key church events such as the Tea and Sale or church dinners. A number of us had mentors in our mothers/mothers-in-law, or other close family members, or friends that cajoled, guided, and shared their love and passion for the church, and spoke so fondly of the friends they made along the way. Others “drifted into” the Auxiliary from other aspects of a life focused on volunteering, whether it was school support, a fundraiser such as the IWK Hospital Kermess, or local mission work that wound down and created other opportunities to continue to give, and give back. Others came because they were asked and encouraged, (they felt valued/needed), or they wanted to get to know people—spend more time with, and grow new friendships. And, some came because of the older women in the church. They loved seeing how they interacted with each other, the laughs they shared, the time they had together. Our older generation has been a draw for many—so rich in history, so dedicated, and so very organized. We have had, and continue to have, wonderful mentors.