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St. George’s Anglican Church was filled to capacity on Friday, May 19 as it hosted a royal visit by HRH Princess Anne, daughter of the late Queen Elizabeth II. A similarly filled church — Trinity in Sussex — also hosted the Princess Royal on May 21 during her three-day visit to New Brunswick.

The Princess was in the province to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise’s), of which she is colonel-in-chief. 

The service of Evening Prayer at St. George’s was part of the anniversary celebrations. The guidon of the 8th Canadian Hussars has hung over the chapel door inside the church since 1990, making St. George’s the natural choice for the service. 

Three Anglican military chaplains were in attendance: Major (ret) the Rev. Canon Malcolm Berry, Major the Rev. Canon Chris VanBuskirk (rector of St. George’s), and Capt. the Rev. Rob Salloum, the regimental chaplain of the 8th Canadian Hussars. Archbishop David Edwards also attended.

Rob had the distinction of ushering the Princess Royal to her seat. Warden Sheila Searle escorted the Princess to the lectern, and later, to the church’s guest book.

As the princess arrived, the bells of St. George’s pealed. She met the assembled clergy in the foyer, then, as organist Nhat-Viet Phi (Toto) and his wife, flutist Angela Phi, played, she took her seat.

The service was led by Chris and David. Rob led a responsive reading of Psalm 97. Malcolm read the first lesson, while the Princess Royal read the second lesson, which was Hebrews 3.

Jim Lockyer, honorary colonel of the 8th Canadian Hussars, read the honor roll, which included the 79 names of members killed. Most died in Italy during the Second World War.

Carolyn Keirstead led a 40-person choir. Moncton-area clergy led prayers, and David pronounced the blessing. Chris thanked Princess Anne for her presence and wished her a pleasant visit. A reception was held immediately following the service, though the Princess was on a tight schedule of more public appearances and did not attend.

Sheila was thrilled to have been asked by Chris to escort the Princess to the lectern and have her sign the guest book.

“It was very nice to have the opportunity to meet Her Royal Highness,” said Sheila. “She carried the conversation while signing the guest book. It was a wonderful experience. And it was amazing to see such a turnout.”

Chris was very impressed by the Princess, particularly her reading of the lesson.

“I thought while she was reading that she is a great leader, very comfortable with scripture,” he said. “People were engaged in worship, and that’s the aim of it. 

“It was an opportunity for the church to celebrate the ascension of Christ and for the church to honour the regiment, and that part is an act of bearing witness with our shared faith.

“It’s a great honour for sure. It was a big team effort and we’re all very grateful for the opportunity.”

On Sunday, May 21, amid heavy downpours, Trinity Church in Sussex hosted a service of Morning Prayer in another celebration of the 175th anniversary of the 8th Canadian Hussars. 

Members of Trinity and the neighbouring Parishes of Waterford and St. Marks manned the doors and guided worshippers to their seats. Members combined to form a choir led by Trinity organist and music director Matthew Chamberlain, with Brad Buchanan of St. Marks on piano. 

The church bells pealed as Princess Anne arrived a few minutes ahead of schedule and the service actually began five minutes early. A procession, led by the young daughter of the Rev. Dan McMullen, included Dan, Archdeacon Rob Marsh (acting for Archbishop David Edwards), the Rev. Canon Allen Tapley, the Major Rev. Mike Caines, the Major Rev. Canon Malcolm Berry, the Captain Rev. Rob Salloum, and the Rev. Dr. Sean Davidson, who escorted the Princess to her seat.

Mike welcomed the Princess and those gathered to Sussex, noting Trinity is his home church and Sussex his hometown.

Allen read the Psalm, while Malcolm read the first lesson. Rob Salloum escorted the Princess to the lectern for her reading of the second lesson, Luke 24.

Dan read the Collect for the day, while Malcolm said prayers. Rob Marsh pronounced the blessing.

In his homily, Rob Salloum began by quoting an entry in the logbook of the 8th Canadian Hussars:  “Cancel all offensive operations, ceasefire at 0800 hrs, 5 May-45.”

“This entry… marked the final World War II battle in which the Unit would engage,” he said, explaining they had fought for nine days to free the strategic Dutch port of Delfzijl, which ultimately led to a strong and lasting friendship between the town of Sussex, New Brunswick and the town of Eelde, near the port.

“As a lasting tribute of mutual affection, on May 5, the flag of the 8th Canadian Hussars is raised at the Garrison in Eelde,” said Rob. “And here, in Sussex, the Eelde flag is raised at the Armory.”

What contributed to their victory? They were well-trained, well-equipped and well-led, he said.

Two-thousand years earlier, there was another commander, and another group of men meeting in a small room. The men had just completed their basic training: three years of watching, mimicking and practicing their commander’s ways.

Shockingly, they had witnessed their commander’s capture, trial, death, and resurrection, he said.

“So this group was radically changed, but unlike the Hussars, their tour of duty was just beginning,” said Rob.

But like the Hussars, they were well-trained, well-equipped and perfectly led. Their equipping was through encouragement by their leader’s truth; understanding what was to come; and assurance of the Holy Spirit.

For this group, the most stunning paradox was that the battle had already been won by their commander.

“Jesus, their commander, called his disciples to gird themselves with faith, trust and hope, in the power of the Holy Spirit,” he said.

"The battle orders are given from the great commander: 'Commence all loving operations, engage the world, beginning 1000 hrs, 21 May 23. End of Message.'"

At the end of the service, Princess Anne was escorted from the sanctuary to the basement, where she spent a few moments with the clergy. Then she was off to other events of the day, mainly a military parade, inspection of troops and tour of the 8th Canadian Hussars Regimental Museum in the former train station in downtown Sussex. 

After the service, the clergy had time to process events.

“It was an honour to have her with us and to have her read the second lesson,” said Sean. “And I appreciated Rob’s charge as well.”

“The Princess Royal is a delight,” said Rob Salloum, who was involved in all three days of activities. “It is a blessing to have her as our colonel-in-chief.

“All these events and services were a delight to be involved in as we celebrated the 175th anniversary and legacy of leadership, courage and commitment by those who served.” 

Malcolm recalled that Princess Anne attended the 150th anniversary of the regiment in Shediac Cape, where he was serving, so this was not the first time he’d met her or celebrated a regimental anniversary with her.

“I’m really grateful to the archbishop for giving me this ministry in my retirement,” he said. “It was an honour to be asked to read the lessons and say the prayers, and to be with Her Royal Highness.”

Malcolm is the former regimental chaplain to the 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise’s).

The 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise’s) is the oldest continually serving Cavalry regiment in Canada, beginning in the Sussex area in 1848. Its members have served with distinction on the battlefields of France and Flanders in the First World War, and in Italy and Holland in the Second World War. Since then, members have served under NATO as peacekeepers in many parts of the world, in Asia, Cyprus, Germany and Afghanistan.

Princess Anne was made colonel-in-chief in 1972, visiting on many occasions.

With notes from The Association & Museum of the 8th Canadian Hussars Inc.

1. Captain, the Rev. Rob Salloum escorts HRH Princess Anne to her seat at St. George's in Moncton for the service of Evening Prayer to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the 8th Canadian Hussars, of which she is colonel-in-chief. Rob is the regimental chaplain.

2. Awaiting the arrival of Princess Anne in the foyer of St. George's Moncton on May 19 are Major, the Rev. Canon Malcolm Berry, Archbishop David Edwards, Captain the Rev. Rob Salloum and Jim Lockyer, honorary colonel of the 8th Canadian Hussars.

3.  Parishioners, guests and current and retired members of the 8th Canadian Hussars await the arrival of HRH Princess Anne at Trinity Church, Sussex on May 21. 

4.  HRH Princess Anne reads the lesson from Luke 24 as the Rev. Dr. Sean Davidson looks on.

McKnight photos

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