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    Monument Dedication, 1967:  Pastor George Strack conducts the dedication service with Colonel and Mrs. Reilander in attendance. (Submitted photo). 

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    (Left to right) Real Property Operations Detachment OC Major Matthew Ng, 4 CDSG Formation Sergeant Major Chief Warrant Officer Tom Verner, 4 CDSG Commander Colonel Louis Lapointe,  Senior Chaplain Major Matthew Lucas and Pastor Albert Romkema at the conclusion of the Rededication Service. (Submitted photo). 



St. John’s Petawawa rededicates 50-year-old monument

Submitted by Gary Barling

Posted on Thursday, October 5, 2017

Canada celebrated its Centennial Year in 1967, with projects large and small appearing all over the country. St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Petawawa was no different. Apart from doing additional construction on church property, they decided to raise a small monument to the memory of the early German settlers who arrived in the mid-to late 19th century.

As recorded in the church’s first history, “This being Centennial Year at St. John’s, further preparations are being carried out to erect a monument at Brindle Road and Highway 17. Colonel [N. W.] Reilander [Base Commander] has given his consent, and Major C. A. Breakey is doing the preparatory work in consultation with Reverend G. H. Strack [St. John’s Pastor] as to the design, inscription, etc. This work is again sponsored by Garrison Petawawa, to whom we are most grateful. This monument will be dedicated later this year…”

As expected, the monument was dedicated on September 10th, 1967 with Colonel and Mrs. Reilander in attendance.

It is fifty years later, and St. John’s is celebrating their 150th anniversary. The little monument is fifty years old, and by this time it was showing its age: broken parging, slight vehicular damage such as chipping and, regrettably, some vandalism had all taken place. St. John’s decided to renovate the monument and rededicate it to the ancestors of many of the church’s families.

Church representatives contacted Campbell Monument in the autumn of 2016. Over the next several months they received new monument fittings and then completed the renovation in late May and early June.

Concurrently, St. John’s sent a letter to the Commander of 4th Canadian Division Support Group (4 CDSG), inviting him and some of his staff to the rededication service on September 10. That date was chosen because the calendars of both 1967 and 2017 are the same, so the service in 2017 was held fifty years to the day since the monument was originally dedicated

We were very pleased to welcome as our guests Colonel Louis Lapointe, 4 CDSG Commander; Chief Warrant Officer Tom Verner, Formation Sergeant Major; Major Matthew Lucas, Senior Chaplain; and Major Matthew Ng, OC, Real Property Operations Detachment.

Colonel Lapointe’s presence in 2017 mirrors that of Colonel Reilander’s in 1967. The presence of Major Ng represents the modern version of the 1967 Base organization that constructed the monument. Padre Lucas was our point of contact for this activity, and we are very pleased that he took direct part in the rededication service. CWO Verner was invited as a mark of respect for his position and his obvious direct connection to the Garrison Commander. Unfortunately, Mr. Lawrence Neville of Campbell Monument could not attend due to an illness. We thank him for his help and support over a period of nearly nine months.

After the regular Sunday service at St. John’s, about sixty congregation members and visitors moved by bus and car to the Monument site at Brindle Crossing on Highway 17.

Under brilliant blue skies Pastor Albert Romkema and Padre Lucas jointly conducted the Order of Blessing. “We give you thanks, O God, for those who have gone before us in this place too, as we rededicate this monument to your glory and praise.”

After the Order of Blessing, Mr. Sean Moyles, Range Control Officer, conducted the members to the St. Matthew’s cemetery, located on Garrison property about two kilometres west of Highway 17.

This was the site of an early church, St. Matthew’s, built in 1895. It was subsequently moved to Chalk River when the then Camp Petawawa was established in 1905.

Only the cemetery remains, marked by a large wooden cross erected in 1966. The cemetery is maintained by 4 CDSG Petawawa, and we thank them for their efforts to safeguard and maintain it in excellent condition.

We thank Colonel Lapointe and his staff members for their attendance at our church and rededication services. His and their kindness and interest markedly increased the significance and importance of the day as the link between St. John’s and our Military community was further strengthened.

We also thank everyone who worked to make this day a success, a day that links us directly with the original dedication of our Monument in 1967 and a day that will take its rightful place in the history of St. John’s.