Bradford Baptist Church held a special service Sunday to celebrate Canada Day in advance.
The service was hosted by Bradford Baptist Church pastor Tim Walker, Greater Life Community Church pastor Easton Grant, Iglesia Hispana de Bradford pastor Juan Espino. York-Simcoe MPP Caroline Mulroney, Deputy Mayor James Leduc and councillors Jonathan Scott and Raj Sandhu were in attendance.
“It’s a privilege for all of us to be celebrating Canada Day together once again after many years where we were not able to celebrate together. I was very moved by the tributes of our nation today. We’ve overcome so much together, and we’ve done it because as Canadians, we’re kind, we care about our neighbours, and we’re resilient. Nowhere is that more true than right here in York-Simcoe,” said Mulroney.
"That’s why it’s such an honour to represent you. We have a breathtaking country in its landscapes, towns, villages, and cities, but also in its people. We’re only 155 years old this year, that’s very young as a country, and you think of what we’ve accomplished as a people to be the free and prosperous nation that we are today. We welcome people from around the world and we enable people to reach their dreams and prosper. That’s one of the things that makes us so proud to be Canadian.”
After a performance of O Canada, with an accompanying video showing the triumphs of Canadians, Leduc spoke of why he and council are so passionate to serve the community.
“It was wonderful to see that. The pride that ran through my heart was amazing,” he said. “This is a council that’s very inclusive, very diverse. We’re working for one goal — to help you and help everybody. This country is built on beauty and pride. We’re here to serve you and help you.”
The Canada Day service brought a number of churches together in an effort to show unity in Bradford and the country as a whole.
“I don’t have to convince anyone in this audience that we live in the greatest country in the world,” said Sandhu. “I think what makes it great is how different cultures and nationalities come together and make this country great. When the national anthem comes on, it gives me goosebumps.”
With the last two years of the pandemic interrupting Canada Day festivities, council members was excited to be able to meet in person with the congregations ahead of Bradford West Gwillimbury’s Canada Day celebration Friday at the Bradford and District Memorial Community Centre.
“It’s wonderful to be here together in one place with four different congregations to celebrate Canada, and it was so fitting that one of the songs sung this morning referred to ‘the Year of Jubilee,’ when, in ancient Israel, captives were set free, debts were forgiven, and there was a year of favour and freedom,” said Scott.
“What a perfect message after the past two years we’ve had as we celebrate Canada, religious freedom and diversity, and the promise we have to maintain in this country Ss scripture says, ‘For freedom, you have been set free.’”