Feature Article from The Cyrenian parish newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 1
Saint Simon the Cyrenian at 100
By Lorna Lewis, Senior Churchwarden
The dream of a church called St Simon the Cyrenian, “St. Simon’s”, was conceived in 1910. Parishioners at Trinity Church who were disappointed by their inability to enjoy worshipping there sought a comfortable venue. The families of Messrs. Prince Boswell and James Scott were the nucleus of this body.
The Reverend U.F.H Gunthorpe preached to the first St Simon congregation during the summer of 1912. Their first service was held in the Trinity Parish House.
This year we are celebrating the 100th year of a dream. The years between the dream and reality provided many challenges for the congregation.
The original land purchase for the construction of a church was at Morris Street. Although services were held at several locations and the church was closed for period, the dream never died. The current building was completed and consecrated in 1956. Descendants of the families who conceived the dream are still in attendance at St Simon’s today.
The challenge for our parish in this our centennial year is how can one adequately celebrate and give thanks for a dream come true. The usual events will be held but with an added emphasis, new events will be added and some old ones will be revived.
The kick-off brunch held at our current location, 135 Remington Place, New Rochelle, on January 21 with the theme St. Simon’s on the Move: A Closer Walk With Thee faced a weather challenge. This brunch was a combination of the centennial celebration and the annual Women’s Day Prayer Breakfast hosted by the Justin society. In true St. Simon’s style, the snowstorm was just another hurdle to be cleared.
In April, the St Luke’s Guild hosted a trip to Sight and Sound Theatre for a viewing of Jonah. As youngsters, we learnt about the challenges God placed before him. The Men’s Fellowship added The Mighty Sparrow, the Gospelypso Man, to the list of performers for their Annual Gospel Concert. The day dawned bright and sunny despite forecasts of thunderstorms. The crowd was in the church on time and ready for Marlon “Brother Paul” Anderson and The Mighty Sparrow to liven up the Sunday afternoon. At the start of the show, we heard about the challenges of The Mighty Sparrow’s health… he could not perform. Brother Paul did not disappoint! Performances by our young adults in singing and praise dancing also enthralled the audience.
St Simon’s gardeners are busy cultivating a plot just off Lincoln Avenue. Although this venture is off to a later than planned start, the enthusiasm of our organizer Ms. Sharon Weekes-Threash has not wavered. The fruits of this labor will be shared among ourselves and our community. Sunday July 22 is the Parish Picnic Day! 10:00 am Worship Services will be at D’Onofrio Park. Hopefully some fruits from our gardeners will be available for sampling. We are praying for a bright and sunny day, but come rain or shine, worship and fun as we fellowship are at the top of the menu.
The annual Men’s Fellowship Barbeque has been rebranded as The International Food Fair. With assistance from the Justin Society, there will be a menu that reflects the diverse ethnicity of our parish. Be prepared to sample dishes from the Caribbean to Africa with pit stops in other familiar places of the Americas.
By the time the next newsletter is ready to go to print, the cruise planned by the St Luke’s Guild will be docking in New York. Just imagine the exciting times to be had on a cruise through the New England States into Canada.
St. Simon’s is a reality and as we face the future, we cannot let the dream of the founders of this church falter or fade. We will build on that firm foundation. We will continue to celebrate throughout the year.
You will be kept abreast of all our plans in the newsletter or on the website. Our website www.stsimonc.org is updated regularly. This newsletter is a quarterly event.