BRANTFORD – Community members from both Six Nations and the Brantford area gathered inside Mohawk Chapel for their Annual Christmas Service on Sunday, December 7.
After an opening address recited by Michael Montour, several prayers were offered along with Christmas carols. Reverend Larry Brown explained that he is one of twelve that can wear his regalia, and the church itself represents the unity of two people.
“This church brings two communities together, the community of Six Nations and the community of Brantford, and one of the things I spoke about during the service was learning to walk in the way of the Two Row Wampum,” said Brown, motioning to a stained glass window depicting the original Mohawk Village with a British flag and the Two Row Wampum. “That’s one of the ways in which we can make this world into the place of peace and love and justice that we all pray for,” he said.
Mohawk Chapel Event Coordinator Jacqueline Jamieson estimated that over 70 people had been in attendance, with many familiar faces from Six Nations, including Geronimo Henry.
“He’s been our greeter for the past two services, so he just comes in and gives people their program and their books. Which is nice because this church was used as the residential school church, so it’s a nice kind of way of reconciliation,” she said. “It’s always great to see people in the church and using the church. Chief Ava Hill was here too, and we’re always thankful to have her,” she said, including regular attendants and the organist that is also the chairman for the church. “And the guy that did the design for our windows was from Dundas, and we actually had his second cousin here today. He has passed on now, but she was here from Dundas which is really neat,” she said.
Jamieson explained that there are many original components within the church, not just the beautiful stained glass windows depicting its intertwined history.
“One thing that we do differently from other churches is that we sing the hymns in the Mohawk language, so that’s a nice addition to what we do here,” she said, explaining that the service was mainly geared towards Christmas. “Christmas hymns were sung, and we talked a lot about Christmas. We also talked about the violence that’s going on in the world and how we just want to keep [peace] going, and keep giving thanks and send our prayers to those who are in need right now,” she said, noting that it was a good service.
Jamieson shared that the Mohawk Chapel is a space that welcomes all.
“Everyone’s welcome,” she said. “Every time, I see someone new or someone who ‘discovers’ the place, which is really neat,” she said. The event provided attendees new and old with the chance to socialize, with light refreshments served in the downstairs hall following the service.