Youth celebrated at North River United Church

North River Notebook, By Julie Johnstone

Published on March 31, 2014

Talent presentations, W.I.N.S. service showcase contribution of children

February was youth month at North River United Church.

Each Sunday throughout the month of February the congregation celebrated the community’s youth by having special guests and music.

On the first Sunday there was a solo by 10- year-old Ashlyn Johnstone. Johnstone was invited to sing Coat of Many Colours, a song about finding peace in what you have and not what others think you should have.

The following Sunday included a mini-concert put on during the service by a group of talented, young local fiddlers.

North River’s Sunday School organized the final Sunday service. Twenty-two children took the stage to sing songs, dance, tell stories, share artwork and talk about what they had learned in the previous months at Sunday school.

The Women’s Institutes of Nova Scotia (W.I.N.S.) were also supposed to take part in February’s celebrations, but a storm forced them to hold their service on March 16 instead of in February as originally scheduled.

The ladies of W.I.N.S. performed the whole Sunday service, which included several meaningful readings, hymns and a lot of humour.

The ladies also included the children from North River’s Sunday School by having them sing a lively St. Patrick’s Day song about Noah and the lost unicorns. It was well received by the congregation.

Following the resignation of Reverend Kym Burke-Cole in July of 2013, both the North River and Brunswick Street pastoral charges were left without a steady minister. That is, until January of 2014 when Reverend John Parsons was appointed as the new minister for the pastoral charge.

Reverend Parsons moved to Truro from Camborne, Ontario in August 2013.

Originally from Newfoundland, he and his wife decided to make Truro their home in order to be closer to their daughter and two grandchildren.

His lively sermons have been a welcome addition to both Brunswick Street and North River and have left many in the community hoping he will stay on even after his current term ends this coming June.

One of Parsons’ favourite parts of being a minister is children’s time and even though North River has a steadily growing Sunday School population, he always makes an effort to call every child by name and gives each child a chance to speak aloud and share their thoughts, ideas and opinions.

“I really appreciate the children’s willingness to engage with someone they don’t know all that well. They’re always so willing to speak with me and to listen,” Parsons says.

Parsons also acknowledges the warmth of the people in the area and says he especially enjoys spending time getting to know people and their stories.

Julie Johnstone is a married mother of two school-aged children, fiddle and step dance teacher, and a community volunteer. She lives in North River. If you have any community news to report, send it to her at