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St. Patrick’s celebrates 50 years

By   /   July 16, 2011  /   Comments

By David Shivers


After months of planning and weeks of observance, the extended celebration of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church’s 50th anniversary hit a high note with an evening celebration July 1 at Chehaw park’s meeting center.

The occasion brought together current and past members of the congregation as well as clergy who have served the parish through the years, including the Reverends Reginald Gunn and Jim Bullion and Deacon Pat Peets. (Another former rector, the Rev. Michael Rowell, was unable to attend the Chehaw dinner, but had delivered a morning message at St. Patrick’s on one of the Sundays during the nearly month-long anniversary event. Additional June Sunday events were a visit by the Right Rev. Scott Benhase, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia and the baptism of Ella Weldon, the infant daughter of St. Patrick’s rector, the Rev. Jay Weldon, and his wife Alison.)

As guests enjoyed a lavish buffet and liquid refreshments, a continuous slide show of photos and artifacts collected from parish members depicted highlights from the church’s five-decade history, from  its formation  to construction of the first sanctuary on Homewood Avenue to the move to the new and current church at 4800 Old Dawson Road. Also included were meaningful St. Patrick’s-related events from the lives of some parishioners

The current rector, the Rev. Jay Weldon, ably emceed the portion of the program where guests and clergy were invited to share memories of their time at St. Patrick’s. The Shamrocks, a quartet composed of four present and former members of St. Patrick’s choir, performed selections for the audience at intervals during the evening.

The anniversary celebration concluded with the Sunday morning, July 3, service exactly 50 years to the day from the date the first meeting was held to plan the formation of the St. Patrick’s parish. The service again included the active participation of the Revs. Gunn and Bullion and Deacon Peets. Another facet of meaning for the final service was the selections of Irish/Celtic music, including a bagpiper, a as tribute to Ireland’s patron St. Patrick.

Guests enjoy the sumptuous buffet during St. Patrick Episcopal Church’s July 1 anniversary event at Chehaw.

The Shamrocks (from left, Joe Wingard, David Hogue, Bill Behrend and Charles Luttrell) regale the St. Patrick’s audience with a musical favorite.

Juby Phillips (left) and Mary Bullion enjoy The Shamrocks’ performance at Chehaw.

Johnny and Maxine Belk (left) share some St. Patrick’s memories with Dr. Larry Perkins.

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Tom Knighton is the publisher of The Albany Journal. In November, 2011, he became the first blogger to take over a newspaper anywhere in the world. In August of 2012, he made the difficult decision to take the Journal out of print circulation and become an online news agency, a first for the Albany area.

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