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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Harrow celebrates Canada’s birthday with church service, donation collection

by Sylene Argent

With there being many reasons to celebrate being Canadian, the Harrow Ministerial Association sponsored a special worship service at the Harrow Soccer Complex parking lot last Wednesday morning, which marked the nation’s 153rd birthday.

  Reverend Darrow Woods, of Harrow United Church, and Reverend Elise Chambers, an Anglican Priest, joined together to offer the Canada Day Community Drive-In Worship Service to the community.

  The idea of hosting the special service, Woods said, was to “bring people together for something positive. So much has been on the news that has been frightening and depressing.”

  When thinking about the region, Woods added, “This is a really good place to live. We need to be grateful for that.”

  He wanted to take the opportunity to remind people of the nation’s first inhabitants, and the underground railroad that led slaves from the US to this region to find freedom.

  In order to host the event, Woods said he connected with the Community Services Department with the Town of Essex and the OPP to ensure all regulations were followed to allow for a safe event. In order to keep worshipers safe, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, each of the participants remained in their cars, one space apart.

  Volunteers with the Harrow Ministerial Association helped park cars and carried out other duties to ensure the event ran smoothly.

  The sunny day allowed those who pulled up to participate, the opportunity to roll their windows down to listen in.

  During the event, donations were collected for the Harrow Food Bank, which is organized through the St. Vincent de Paul. Woods said around half-of-a-truckload of non-perishable food items and cleaning supply donations were collected. He was impressed with the amount of donations forwarded as the community recently gave to the region-wide Miracle event the week prior.

  “We thought of this service before the Miracle event was announced. People were really good about it. The Harrow Food Bank is full, which is wonderful,” Woods said of not wanting to ask too much of the community.

  Harrow United has hosted a few food collections from its church parking lot since the pandemic has started. Another may be planned for August, “Depending on how the Harrow Food Bank is doing,” he said. “We don’t want to ask [the community] for too much.”

  To date, even though the Province has okayed churches opening back up for services with various restrictions, Harrow United has not resumed masses in-person as of yet.

  “We are still trying to figure out the best way to do it, so it feels like church, but keeps people safe,” Woods said. “The last thing we want is getting people sick.”

  In the meantime, Harrow United Church services can be viewed at


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