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50th Anniversary of the Dedication of the Colchester Chapel

by Sheena Rowe

Cake

On the 12th of May, 2018, Colchester ward members, present and past, gathered together for a 60’s dance to celebrate and commemorate the dedication of their beautiful chapel.

In 1962, the requirement of 50 active members was reached and a meeting was held at which President Marion D. Hanks, the Mission President, informed the saints that they could build a chapel.

In those days, there were no building contractors that came in and built the chapel. Instead, it was a joint effort between the members and building missionaries assigned to the project. The members were also required to raise a certain amount of money toward the cost of the building which could not be dedicated until the debt had been paid.

Once the land was purchased, the site was dedicated and the ground-breaking ceremony was carried out. Since the site was a heavily wooded area, the members met to work out a clearance project and a work plan. The first time they met, it seemed as if the whole branch was there--men, women and children, all eager and ready to go.

Colchester Chapel being built

The members employed their talents and trade, completing the electrics, the plumbing and the plastering. In fact, the only paid tradesman was the bricklayer.

Every Saturday and every evening you would find the members there, clearing, painting, labouring to build the chapel with great love and dedication.

Completion came in 1967, but it was 1968 before it could be dedicated. One Sunday, the Branch President sent out a plea to all the members that they dig deep and find the money needed to have the chapel dedicated. The members had already given so much in time and labour and love, but they rallied again and gave all that they had. One elderly gentlemen that lived about 16 miles away, gave his bus fare and walked home.

On May 28, 1968, their sacrifices were rewarded and the chapel was dedicated by the Apostle Mark E. Peterson, with the Mayor of Colchester in attendance.

The celebrations concluded with a special ward conference attended by the current Mayor and Mayoress of Colchester.

The past pioneers were remembered as the ward gave thanks for all that they sacrificed to enable them to have a very beautiful chapel to worship in. They built the foundations not only of the building but of faith, sacrifice and commitment from which has grown a wonderful ward.