Author Archives: stgiles-ottawa

St Giles Harvest Home Supper

Mark your calendar for Friday, October 17 at 6:30 p.m.

The men of St Giles invite you to enjoy a turkey dinner
with all the fixings, dessert, juice, tea and coffee, in good company.
We are catering for 100 people; so be sure to invite family and friends,
and then get your tickets early.

$20 for adults and $10 for children and students (preschoolers free)

Tickets available from Pat Brush at the St Giles office, 613-235-2551.

are needed to help with table set up, kitchen work, serving, clean up, etc.
Please talk to Bob Fourney if you can help.

Peelers of potatoes and carrots are required for Friday morning, October 17.
Experienced or not, on the job training is provided. Please speak to Ian Stevenson.

Harvest Home

Missing in Action

picture of Alexis Helmer

Alexis Helmer

You may notice that the Cushman Roll of Honour is missing from the sanctuary. With the permission of the Session, it is temporarily on loan to the Canadian War Museum for consideration for inclusion in a First World War commemorative exhibition. One of the names on the Roll is that of Alexis Helmer, whose death aged 22 at the Second Battle of Ypres in 1915 inspired John McCrae’sfamous poem “In Flanders’ Fields.” The following is from the Canadian Great War Project website.

“Son of Elizabeth I. Helmer, of 122, Gilmour St., Ottawa, and the late Brig. Gen. R. A. Helmer. The following circumstances of his death have been compiled from letters received by Lieut Owen Carsley Frederic Hague’s father, Frederic Hague from officers in the area at the time. Early on Sunday morning, May 2, 1915 Lieutenants’ Hague and Helmer left their position to check on a Canadian Battery who had positioned themselves on the bank of the Yser Canal near St. Julien close to the France-Belgium border. They had only gone a few yards when a six inch, high explosive canon shell burst. Lieut. Helmer was killed instantly. Lieut. Helmer was a close friend of Capt. John McCrae and was the inspiration for “In Flanders Fields”.”

Pre-Authorized Remittance Programme (PAR)

What Is Pre-Authorized Remittance (PAR)?
You are about to go on holiday. You have had the mail and the newspaper stopped. Norma from next door will check on the house and feed Felix the cat. Your lights are on timers. Everything is ready for your month away.

But what about our church? We have ongoing expenses and rely on your generosity even when you’re away. Well, that’s no problem if you have joined the Pre-Authorized Remittance (PAR) program for St Giles. With PAR, you can give to St Giles and the wider church even when you aren’t home or cannot attend worship every Sunday.

If you have automatic debits going from your bank account to pay for insurance, hydro, telephone or cable, then you understand the PAR principle. It means regular contributions throughout the year. Over 300 Presbyterian congregations currently use PAR using a system set up by the United Church of Canada. It’s an easy way to make your contribution. Once a month, a set sum of money is deducted from your bank account or credit card to support our congregation, Presbyterians Sharing and PWS&D. Your account will be debited on or about the 20th of each month and our congregation’s account credited with the amount payable from all members who participate.

How to get involved:
1) Decide on the amount of your monthly offering (Church Operations, Presbyterians Sharing, and Presbyterian World Sharing & Development).
2) Fill in the Authorization Form (attached) and attach a cheque from your bank account marked “Void”.
3) Place the form and cheque in an envelope on the offering plate or send it in to the Church office.
4) Each week when you are in church, you may indicate your participation in PAR by placing one of the provided PAR tokens in the offering plate during the offering. These tokens will be available for pick up on a plate at the back of the Church.

How do you change the amount of your offering, change to a different bank account, or cancel your PAR?
All changes should go through the Church Office. Rob Brandon, a member of the Interim Finance and Maintenance Committee, is responsible for managing the PAR process. Rob will have forms to make additions, changes and deletions to the system. When there is a change in banks or account numbers, a new voided cheque must be provided. Any changes must be in the Church Office by the 5th of the month to take effect that month.

Who is responsible for tax receipts?
The Office Administrator still does the tax receipts. The United Church of Canada administers the program for the congregation. A printout is sent to the Office Administrator each month for record-keeping purposes.

How much does PAR cost the congregation?
The PAR program costs the congregation 50¢ per giver, per month up to a maximum of $45, which is deducted at the time of transfer. This helps to defray administrative costs incurred by the United Church. This fee is much less than what our bank charges at present to process your donations. Individuals will still pay the normal chequing/debit fees to their local bank or credit union.

To receive a PDF of the application form, please contact the office at

How to Read the Music of a Song and Sing It!

Review by Josh Moskau

To ‘face the music’ gets a surprisingly new twist at Glebe’s St Giles Presbyterian Church. Organist and passionate choir master Desmond Hassell has launched a tutorial avalanche to teach all comers, young or old, rich or poor, the surprisingly simple basics of singing a song straight off the printed score. The philosophy is simple; even Mozart, Verdi and Bach began with ‘do-re-mi.’ Mr. Hassell’s merry cast of choristers is thinking of calling itself “Vocal Chords R Us.” And the donation-driven effort is in aid of the Centretown Emergency Food Centre. Classes have been enjoyed since early March and the action resumes in September.

Desmond Hassell with birthday cake.

Desmond Hassell with birthday cake.

Update: Participants are having a grand time, learning so much and having a lot of fun doing it. They are enjoying it so much that they demanded that the series go beyond the 8-week time frame so that they could continue learning. The class of May 13 broke into celebration as previous choir members of Mr. Hassell’s “interrupted” the session with a cake and much glee for his large-number birthday.

picture of music manuscriptTuesdays ~ 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. (on hiatus for the summer)

An 8-week workshop at St Giles conducted by Desmond Hassell, who has a lifetime experience teaching music reading. No charge for the classes but participants will be invited to make a donation towards the outreach work of St Giles at the Centretown Emergency Food Centre. Classes will be enjoyable and fun for all ages from 10 to 99. Register by calling 613-235-2551 or email


  • Participants will master the skills necessary to sight read music.
  • It would be helpful if participants could come prepared to sing Row Row Row Your Boat, Frère Jacques, and Jingle Bells, and also any favourite songs of theirs.
  • Along the way, participants will learn how to write down, in music notation, all such songs.
  • Participants should bring: a clipboard or hard surface to write on, a pad of lined paper, and a soft pencil with an eraser.
  • They will be supplied with music paper.

Letter of thanks from Centretown Emergency Food Centre

December 31, 2013

Dear Friends,

On behalf of the CentreIown Emergency Food Centre, I am writing to thank you for the generous donations of $1359.30 and an additional $305 to our Food Centre, that was raised at the Cameron Highlanders concert that your church hosted. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank not only your church members but Mr. Don Tate for the phenomenal amount of work that went into organizing this concert. This was the largest amount of monies that we received from a single fundraiser in 2013. Bless you.

This contribution will help us purchase perishable food items, such as ground beef and fresh fruit and vegetables to supplement the staple foods that we receive from the Ottawa Food Bank and our local food drives. This enables us to offer a healthy five-day supply of food to each client, according to family size, on a monthly basis.

In 2013, the number of clients we are serving per month is rising and the Food Centre is currently serving an average of 980 people a month and we are again expecting to see a higher monthly increase next year. We spent over $110,000 on food in 2013. This higher food cost is the result of an increase in client base and a decrease in donations and this is why your donation is so appreciated.

We are currently seeing a drastic increase in the number of families that we are serving, notably a 41% increase in children, and would not be able to give the amount of meat, fruit and produce we are giving out without your help. Again, many thanks for your generous contribution to our work on behalf of the needy and marginalized in our community.

We are anticipating another increase in client base in 2014 due to the increase in hydro rates. We know that with support from churches like yours and the power of prayer we will again be able to meet the need. Happy New Year.


Kerry Kaiser

Centretown Emergency Food Centre
507 Bank Street
Ottawa ON K2P 1Z5


Christmas Concert

On December 8, 2013, St Giles hosted a Christmas Concert featuring:

  • Men and Boys of St Matthews Church
  • Girls Choir of Christ Church Cathedral
  • Concert Choir of Glebe Collegiate
  • The Glebelles
  • The Kevin Hassell Strings and Flutes

The final piece had all the musicians and the audience singing the Hallelujah Chorus from The Messiah by G.F. Handel. This video gives a snippet of that event.