Church members bade farewell to good friend, Reverend Laurie Howard

Carolyn Lane-Rock, left in photo and Reverend Laurie Howard share a laugh together at a going away party for Rev. Howard. The Lyons Memorial United Church was filled to capacity with members of the congregation, friends and family of Rev. Howard.

GORE BAY—The Robinson Hall at Lyon’s Memorial United Church in Gore Bay was filled to capacity by all those on hand for a potluck dinner party in honour of Reverend Laurie Howard last Friday evening. She had announced previously that she was moving away.

“Laurie, in three short years you have touched the hearts of each and all of us,” said Master of Ceremonies Carolyn Lane-Rock. “You have brought energy and compassion and a brand of Christianity that we shall never forget.”

“From the musical ride and Canada Day float, to messy church, to food boxes, to the community garden and kite festival, lug-a mug, Halloween and a decorated sanctuary, painted barnboard and well researched sermons that tied the bible to our life today,” said Ms. Lane-rock.

“We have heard your message,” said Ms. Lane-Rock. “You have opened the doors and hearts of Lyons Memorial. We wish you well and we thank you.”
At the opening of the evening, a night which included good friends and family, fun, laughter, great music and fellowship, Ms. Lane Rock said, “I would like to welcome all of you, ladies and gentlemen, here tonight. I’m the master of ceremonies for this evening which is all about Reverend Laurie (Howard).”

“It is wonderful to see so many people here tonight from places like Gore Bay, Kagawong, Burlington and even Wisconsin,” said Ms. Lane-Rock.

The musical entertainment was started off with Mark Wilson, Heather Patterson, Joel Lock and several of the youngsters in the congregation getting together to sing several songs like ‘I’ve Got the Joy in My Heart.’

During the evening a video with photographs of Laurie and church members taking part in the many activities involving the church was shown.

“On an evening when we recognize Reverend Laurie and how important she is to us, one of the songs we have decided to sing is ‘You big beautiful doll’,” said Sharon MacDonald, performing along with her husband John.   

Later a beautiful rending of “’Hallelulah’ was sung by Abby Smith.

Then, on behalf of the congregation, Ms. Lane-Rock noted, “at Lyons Memorial we no longer pass the plate but we do have something for Laurie tonight that all have contributed to and that is a Manitoulin Spruce tree that we have ladened with gifts just for you.”                                                                       

The last word was provided by Reverend Laurie. “I’m very touched and really excited at how many people have come out here tonight,” she said.

“I loved being here,” concluded Rev. Laurie, “it is with a heavy heart that I’m leaving. I love you all.”