The last service in the Goodlands United Church was held in 2006, however the building and all its memories were near and dear to the people of Goodlands. The community bought the building and worked hard to have it named a Heritage site, and it is now known as the Goodlands Heritage Centre.
“I was thinking one day what a shame it is for the church (Centre) to be standing there empty and nothing going on. We do have a traditional Christmas Eve service every year, but there has to be more,” thought Cindy Janssens. So she expressed her thoughts to others, and before you knew it — a “Christmas Gathering” Coffee House was planned for Thursday, December 5.
The planning committee decked out the centre inside and out, making it very welcoming and festive. Dave Stewart gave words of welcome and a brief history of the church. It was built in 1902 as a Methodist Church and through the years underwent many improvements including a new basement in 1955 and running water in 1970. Many funerals, concerts, and special services were held in the church.
Cindy Janssens read a few poems, as she said in memory of Dora Corbett who was famous for her love of poems. The poems were “The Eve Before Christmas” and “If You Look For Me This Christmas”
If You Look For Me This Christmas
You won’t need a special star —
I’m not longer just in Bethlehem,
I’m right there where you are.
You may not be aware of Me
Amid the celebrations —
You’ll have to look beyond the stores
And all the decorations.
But if you take a moment
From your list of things to do
And listen to your heart, you’ll find
I’m waiting there for you.
You’re the one I want to be with,
You’re the reason that I came,
And you’ll find Me in the stillness
As I’m whispering your name.
“We’re lucky to have some very talented people in our community,” said Dave as he introduced the Meggison family — Steve, Coral and two of their children Sarah and Jillia, for the first portion of entertainment.
“It’s good to see so many of you here tonight kicking off Christmas. The season is about family, singing, decorating, good food and bells ringing. So to get things going here’s “That’s What’s Up”. They followed with “One Voice”, “Love”, “A Life That’s Good”, “The Gift” and “It’s Christmas” all done with soothing harmony and amazing musicality.
A refreshment break before the second half was enjoyed by all. As it’s the Christmas season, there were any number of goodies to choose from and choice of coffee or tasty apple cider.
Dave introduced his sister Cathy Anfinson (Stewart), formerly of Goodlands as the entertainer for the second portion of the evening. “Cathy and her husband made their home in Cando, North Dakota for 41 years and they are actually renovating the Stewart farm house and will be moving back to the community. She is an accomplished singer, having been a member of the band “Special Delivery” — who went to Nashville to record an album. They love singing Gospel music across the U.S.”
“I am excited to be here and I’d like to start with an old folk song that Dad likes — A Child is Born”. The next song “You Give Me Everything” is another favourite .“It talks about everything and the real reason of Christmas.” Cathy is not only a gifted vocalist, she has a talent as a lyricist. She presented a Christmas version of the well-known ballad “Halleluia” followed by “Away In A Manger”.
Coral, Steven and Cathy led the audience in some carol singing to conclude a