Century Pew

In relation to “When In Lippstadt…”, being Lorne Anderson’s portrait of the centuries of history of religious observance in his wife’s family, Neil Remington Abramson commented as follows (reproduced with permission):

I have a lot of empathy for Lorne’s discussion of honouring tradition within one’s family. Even though my mother was an atheist, as was my step-dad, everyone in the previous generations were devout churchgoers.

On my mother’s side, my grandparents were Lutherans. My grandfather was an elder and sang in church choirs. The families left the Berlin/Brandenburg area (maternal & paternal sides) in the mid-19th Century to avoid the Kaiser’s draft and settled in the Albany (maternal) and Philadelphia (paternal) areas. When I was in Berlin, I went St. Nicholas’ Church, considered, along with St. Mary’s Church, depending on one’s perspective, to be the oldest church in Berlin. I thought that here was where generations of my ancestors must have occasionally worshipped, or would have wanted to. The old church is now a museum, and that’s where I was introduced to the choral works of Heinrich Schutz, now my favourite such composer.

My family of my father, William Walter Remington, were Anglicans, and United Empire Loyalists, who settled in a Presbyterian area of Nova Scotia. My father’s maternal grandfather was an Anglican priest.

It’s important to honour a families’ roots, for there is always more than one family. Somehow, through my grandmothers, these values have come to me, despite skipping a generation. I always thank my grandmothers and pray for them when we honour the dead who preceded us, in Anglican services.

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