Wentworth United celebrates church’s 50th anniversary

Curry says kids not as interested in church or playing music as they once were

Dave Mathieson webcomments@ngnews.ca
Published on May 15, 2014
Wentworth United celebrates church’s 50th anniversary

Published on 15 May 2014

Just as she has done every Sunday for the last 68 years, Betty Curry plays the organ at the Wentworth United Church last Sunday. She usually plays in the morning but last Sunday’s 50th anniversary celebration was in the afternoon. Joining Curry is musical guests (from left) Errol and Maureen Patriquin, Leah Killen, Valerie MacDonald and Jim Scopie sing. 

Photos by Dave Mathieson - Cumberland News Now

Wentworth United celebrates church’s 50th anniversary

Published on 16 May 2014

Debbie DeLong (right), wife of reverend Briand DeLong, places a memorial dove in a tree. The doves recognized people who have supported the church and were dedicated to the church over the years.

Photos by Dave Mathieson - Cumberland News Now

Wentworth United celebrates church’s 50th anniversary

Published on 16 May 2014

The singing of a hymn, headed by reverend Brian DeLong.

Photos by Dave Mathieson - Cumberland News Now

Wentworth United celebrates church’s 50th anniversary

Published on 16 May 2014

Valerie MacDonald sings, while her sisters, Maureen Patriquin and Leah Killen, watch and listen. MacDonald sang a song in memory of their mother. The ceremony also took place on Mothers Day.

Photos by Dave Mathieson - Cumberland News Now

Wentworth United celebrates church’s 50th anniversary

Published on 16 May 2014

Maureen and Errol Patripquin sing for the congregation.

Photos by Dave Mathieson - Cumberland News Now

Wentworth United celebrates church’s 50th anniversary

Published on 16 May 2014

The table setting at the front of the church included a 50th anniversary candle.

Photos by Dave Mathieson - Cumberland News Now

Wentworth United celebrates church’s 50th anniversary

Published on 16 May 2014

Photos by Dave Mathieson - Cumberland News Now

Wentworth United celebrates church’s 50th anniversary

Published on 16 May 2014

Reverend Brian DeLong thanks the musical guests and invites everybody downstairs for something to eat.

Photos by Dave Mathieson - Cumberland News Now

Wentworth United celebrates church’s 50th anniversary

Published on 16 May 2014

The outside of the church.

Photos by Dave Mathieson - Cumberland News Now

Wentworth United celebrates church’s 50th anniversary

Published on 16 May 2014

Stain Glass windows line both sides of the church, including this knife piercing a heart.

Photos by Dave Mathieson - Cumberland News Now

Wentworth United celebrates church’s 50th anniversary

Published on 16 May 2014

Apple and snake.

Photos by Dave Mathieson - Cumberland News Now

Wentworth United celebrates church’s 50th anniversary

Published on 16 May 2014

A lamb.

Photos by Dave Mathieson - Cumberland News Now

Wentworth United celebrates church’s 50th anniversary

Published on 16 May 2014

Anchor.

Photos by Dave Mathieson - Cumberland News Now

Wentworth United celebrates church’s 50th anniversary

Published on 16 May 2014

Axe and cross.

Photos by Dave Mathieson - Cumberland News Now

Wentworth United celebrates church’s 50th anniversary

Published on 16 May 2014

Knives

Photos by Dave Mathieson - Cumberland News Now

Wentworth United celebrates church’s 50th anniversary

Published on 16 May 2014

Phoenix from the flames.

Photos by Dave Mathieson - Cumberland News Now

WENTWORTH - Betty Curry has been the organist at the Wentworth United Church for 68 years.

WENTWORTH - Betty Curry has been the organist at the Wentworth United Church for 68 years.

"When I was young I was never still. I was always on the go," said Curry. "My dad used to say, ‘If you can run out all night, go to dances and play in bands, then you can get up Sunday morning and go to church.'"

Curry was the organist Sunday afternoon at the Wentworth United Church as they celebrated the 50th anniversary of the opening of the new church in 1964.

Musical guests Leah Killen, Valerie MacDonald, Maureen and Errol Patriquin and Jim Scopie sang songs and hymns during the celebration.

"They sing beautifully," said Curry. "That Ruddick Family is born and bred with that from their father. They're just gorgeous."

Curry is almost 80-years-old. She was an organist at the Wentworth United Church for 18 years before the new church opened 50 years ago.

"I was about 11 or 12 when I started playing organ in the church," she said.

"When I started here there was a lady who was the organist and she had polio," said Curry. "She couldn't the pump organ, and she said, ‘I'll sing and you play,' and I've been doing it ever since."

She says organ playing is in her blood.

"I nearly went crazy this morning because today's service was in the afternoon instead of the morning," said Curry.

Curry can read music but also plays music by ear and from memory.

"I know thousands of songs. There's not end to it," she said.

Another reason Curry plays organ is because there are no organists coming through the system to replace her.

"I've been warning them that this is it but I'm still going. I'm concerned what's going to happen."

She says kids today don't play music as much as they used to.

"When I was a teenager in school, kids would take voice lessons or learn the piano or learn the fiddle for music festivals. That doesn't happen now."

She also says church has no meaning to a lot of young people today.

"We need to get them back in but we don't know how," she said. "Every denomination is having the same problem."

The United Church Choir meets for choir practice every Wednesday.

"I always thought to make a piece of music really mean something you need to read the words carefully and think about what your singing," she said. "If you read the words carefully, then you're taking it to heart."

They used to have as many as 25 people in the choir but that number is down to seven.

"One of them is 94-years-old," said Curry. "They wouldn't miss it for the world."

The anniversary celebration featured the presentation of memorial doves, whereby people placed paper doves with people's names on them in a tree, which will later be planted in front of the church.

"The meaning of the doves is to remember the people who helped start the church and kept it going all those years, and supported and were dedicated to the life of the church," said Curry.