United churches take prayers to great outdoors

Peninsula residents host outdoor revival meeting at fairgrounds

A congregation of followers meets under a yellow tent at the Saanich Fairgrounds for the tent revival meeting of Greater Victoria United churches on July 29.

A congregation of followers meets under a yellow tent at the Saanich Fairgrounds for the tent revival meeting of Greater Victoria United churches on July 29.

By Phil Cotterell

As the sun rose over Mount Baker the morning of Sunday, July 29, a small group of Peninsula residents was putting the final preparations in place for an old time tent revival meeting at the Saanich Fairgrounds. Volunteers had raised the three masted tent the night before, but morning saw them back at the fairgrounds and busy arranging the sound system, chairs, flowers and outreach displays.

The tent revival meeting was not only an opportunity to unite the Greater Victoria United churches as a family under one roof, but was also an opportunity to celebrate the 150th anniversary of one of the region’s oldest congregations, Shady Creek.

By 9:30 a.m. a crowd began to arrive for the 10:30 a.m. start and by the time the band Shady Mountain had played a few old time gospel favourites, the tent was overflowing with people of all ages. Between 500 and 600 people from as far away as Salt Spring Island attended the service and listened to guest speaker Ralph Milton as well as an amalgamated choir from a number of local United churches.

When the two hour revival service concluded, all were invited to mingle and partake in sandwiches and refreshments provided by the Open Door society. Donations were graciously accepted to help the Open Door continue their community work.