Can you remember the songs you sang when you were a student? Who were your friends? What excited you about learning? What did you have to do that you didn’t like?
Mary Ellen (Suter) Moore and Laura (Fielder) Richardson, both of the class of 1964 have been remembering these things and planning to get together with classmates of 1963-65 for a fifty year reunion in London this June. The details are falling into place as people get in touch and make their plans. Even those who can’t come have called Mary Ellen to reminisce. She says, “We keep finding people who say, ‘I keep in touch with so and so’ and that way we are able to put together a more accurate contact list.” Those that CCS has lost addresses for are being found.
The schedule for the reunion is low key. Mary Ellen is planning to bring a copy of the Hallowed Hollers, a regular newsletter produced by students in her day, as a way to begin the process of remembering. They will do a lot of talking, sharing pictures, singing, and catching up. A special celebratory meal is planned but nothing formal. One of the reasons they are gathering in London is to overlap with the students in the LDM program being held at Huron College. On the last Saturday, the students will be talking about diaconal ministry and the Covenant College grads will join them for the morning followed by a shared lunch. No doubt there will be learning all around the circle.
Making connections with the new students and finding out that life at CCS 50 years later still bears some similarities to the student experiences of these grads provides continuity. Mary Ellen’s memories sound familiar. “It was a privilege to have that experience of living in community. It was something I hadn’t experienced before. There was so much learning about how to listen and live with differences. In first year my roommate was a nighthawk and I was a morning person. We all had to learn to work out our problems and ask forgiveness.”
She recalls her field placement, Harriet Christie’s willingness to spend time with the students, Sarah Harrison’s leadership, and the shiny newness of the 77 Charles building. While the Sunday requirement to dress up and learn to serve formal meals was not a favourite activity, overall it was a joyous time. There was lots of singing around the piano, in chapel services, and two of the musical students, Emily and Jean, coordinated the class to cut a record. A copy of it resides in the archives.
Back then learning felt like being stripped of everything they believed in Sunday School, but it was built back up into a faith that is still growing. For Mary Ellen, it was a good time at Covenant College.
1963-65 graduates will gather to honour that good time at their reunion which takes place June 20 & 21, 2014 at the Guest House on the Mount in London, Ontario. Contact Lori Stewart at CCS (204-783-4490) if you want to be in touch with Mary Ellen and Laura for further information.