A Ladysmith church has made honouring our veterans and the men and women who currently serve our country a priority.
At Oceanview Community Church, Pastor Darin Phillips changes his entire morning service to be themed around Remembrance Day. This year, the service on Sunday, Nov. 10 will revolve around the theme of liberation.
There will be readings about Vimy Ridge and the liberation of the nearby town of Mons during the First World War and the liberation of Holland during the Second World War.
“I like this service because it makes so many people need to participate,” said Phillips. “We’ll do a couple of readings from our research, and we’ll get one of our families, who is Dutch, his parents lived through the whole experience, and he’s going to tell it from a personal experience.”
Several RCMP members belong to Oceanview Community Church, and they will be dressed in Red Serge and will march the Canadian and British Columbian flags in and out of the church, piped in by Frank Nichol, who also joins the congregation on bagpipes during “Amazing Grace.”
During the service, the congregation sings O Canada, the hymn, which is longer than the national anthem.
“We take a minute so anyone who’s present who served in our military, peacekeeping, RCMP, local police, we encourage them to stand, and we give them applause,” said Phillips. “We’d certainly be honoured if anyone in the community who is a veteran or is serving would come in uniform; we would get them to stand and we can honour them for their service.”
Canadians who have lost their lives in Afghanistan are also honoured during a presentation.
Phillips likes to use a lot of video in his services, and this year, he’ll play a video of Shawn Hlookoff performing a song he wrote called “Soldier.”
Phillips always does a children’s story, and he says he’s found some great books written for children around Remembrance Day.
Phillips feels it’s important to do more than just pause for a minute of silence during a regular church service.
“It’s probably just a product of how fast our culture moves, we watch something on YouTube and think ‘wow, that’s pretty cool,’ until the next thing catches our eye,” he said. “It’s almost like we get de-sensitized to deep, moving things. I think that sometimes happens on Remembrance Day. I think the idea of taking the whole service and not being in a rush is a way to honour those sacrifices. Let’s take the time and do this well.”
Phillips has been offering Remembrance Day services since 2010, and he thinks they go over very well.
“A lot of people have said ‘I’ve never been to a church service that does that before,’” he said. “That appeals to me because I like doing things that people haven’t done before. We’ve had a lot of good feedback from people. We have several veterans in our church, and they really appreciate that as well.”
“I think of any service we do in the whole year, I think people feel so comfortable in coming, especially people who don’t usually come to church, because it feels like an ‘unchurchy’ church service,” he added.
Oceanview is located at 381 Davis Rd., and Sunday’s Remembrance Day service starts at 10 a.m.