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A Cookbook of Memories

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My favourite memory of PCTC is of canoe trips in Northern Saskatchewan and northern Manitoba between 1990-1995. Memories of the beauty of the north, solitude, camaraderie, laughter, fellowship, meals around the campfire, flocks of pelicans, mosquitoes and the effort demanded on the portages, mingle and swirl in my head. One particular memory stands out - a holy moment I have tried to capture in these words:

The wind abates. The tossing lake is still. Deep calm prevails. The silence is profound. Radiant pink clouds suffusing to fiery red, then golden orange Spread finger-like across the western sky, marking a sharp contrast with shadow-darkened spruce trees. Campers perched on rock ledges are wrapped in a communion of silence. The majesty of this moment is not to be trivialized by speech. The majesty of this moment attests to the glory of God. One by one the campers slip soundlessly away. 

Jo Millard, Winnipeg, MB

We remember accompanying the Yellow Grass United Church Youth Group and their leaders to PCTC in the 70's for a weekend. We were preparing for a Youth Church Service in our congregation in the near future and we were there to help with the music as well as chaperoning. The chaperones were in a different area and our sleep was limited as we had a group of lively teenagers. We appreciated the cozy downstairs lounge area where our group was able to participate in games and fun activities. There weren't any complaints either when they had to set tables and help with dishes. The meals were delicious and we had a great weekend. 

Myrna Steer and Audrey Wilkinson, Yellow Grass United Church

My favorite memory of PCTC is being in the first class given by PCTC in 1951. It was a four week course given by the late Rev. Elmer Leaker. There were quite a few of us (the number eludes me). We met in one of Fort Qu'Appelle's buildings that was adequate for our purpose of learning some things about the church and Christian life. I particularly enjoyed the course and the fellowship of the group. Elmer was a genial host and a good friend. (Christian Education Secretary for Saskatchewan Conference). I remember I was in the process of transition from pharmacy to something else and this event helped me to clarify my vocational position because the next year I entered theology school after a mission field experience. I claim to be the first graduate of PCTC because I had to leave for work after the third week of the course! 

Rev. Jim Tremblay, Melfort, SK

I was thrilled and pleased this fall to have a visitor from Toronto who had not only shared my enthusiasm and interest in PCTC at its beginning, but he also had spent his University holidays that summer fundraising and then pounding nails. So we had a lot to reminisce about. It is pleasant to share memories with people from our younger years. 

Cleo Lally

At PCTC - September 2000

The trees beginning their autumn splendour,
Spill down the ravine
Their yellows and greens of every shade
Glisten in the sun.
The sun sparkles on the lake-
Diamonds come to life!
Peace and serenity are all around
God's presence is here
For all to see and feel-
Calming the spirit
And feeding the soul!

I first began coming to PCTC in 1993. My experiences at PCTC have always been wonderful, growing, stretching times for me. When I turn into the driveway to PCTC now it's like coming home! The setting is so peaceful that I can feel myself surrounded by the presence of God and at the same time, a part of that Presence. Most of all, for me anyway, has been the people I've met here that have made this place so special to me. Wonderful friendships have developed here because it is a very safe place to connect with God and with others, a place for building relationships! 

Joan Tessier 

The crowd was gathered outside waiting in anticipation. As part of Carol Palenstein's retirement gift from PCTC she was given the stove she had cooked on all those years. Out it came! It was loaded on a flat deck hooked to the little garden tractor. To add an extra flourish the driver circled around in a ceremonial "drive past" before leaving. Ooops! He had turned too sharp! The trailer tipped over! A gasp came from the crowd! 

Unceremoniously, the stove slid to the ground! What a way to present a gift!

This is just one of the fond memories my folks have of funny things that happened at PCTC.

Our family has been involved with PCTC since it's beginning. My dad, Bruce Knox, was one of the Regina AOTS volunteers who helped in the actual building. He is noted for his good nature, sense of humour and for playing harmless tricks on any unsuspecting victim. I'm sure, along with the hard work, there were many light-hearted moments as that building began to take shape.

In 1960, my mother, Muriel Knox, became the Christian Education Director of St. Andrew's United Church, in Regina. This was to be a "testing church" for the New Curriculum.

For the next two years, before the Curriculum was formally introduced, PCTC played a very important part in teaching those who, in turn, taught others to teach these new ideas. Mom was born to learn and to teach. She thoroughly enjoyed the invaluable lessons garnered at PCTC and passed them on to others in her work. Reverends Ken Powers, Brian Stubbings, George Cargo and Brian Walton give some credit to Mom for their choice of vocation. AOTS, U.C.W. and Young People groups were other reasons my parents were often at PCTC.

This was in the days before the automatic dishwasher. Everyone had to pitch in. Dad had a gimmick that sounded like dishes breaking when he threw it on the floor. Right in the middle of doing a huge stack of dishes he let it drop. The crashing sound was tremendous! Poor Carol thought every dish in the place had been broken! 

My parents, both 92, talk fondly of incidences and people from the "good old days" at PCTC. As the years rolled by my parent's involvement at PCTC began to diminish and mine increased.

My first time at PCTC goes back to when the New Curriculum became public. As a Sunday School teacher, in Rouleau United Church, I was sent to PCTC for a week to learn what this new stuff was all about. At that time Saskatchewan Hall was the women's dorm and Manitoba was for men. Each room had two bunk beds meaning four people to a room. In a separate room, down the hall, were the sinks, toilets and showers. Once when my friend went to have a shower and I decided, as a prank, to go and throw a glass of cold water over the shower wall. The scream that emitted was not hers! 

I left in a hurry! I found out later that she'd visited in another room before going to shower. To this day I don't know who the recipient of my cold water was, nor does that person know who threw it! My first time at PCTC was great but trying to implement those New Curriculum ideas when we got back home was another matter. In many cases it caused a great deal of hard feelings. 

Later, I became involved with the Women's movement and attended events each year in this connection. I have met many, many wonderful people and made lasting friendships at PCTC. Without PCTC, I would never have met Carolyn McDade nor sing her songs with such gusto! 

When touring the Fort Qu'Appelle area, on a Sunday bus trip a few years ago, I suddenly became violently ill. We were to have lunch at Fort San but, as I was sure I would be dead by then, I pleaded to be dropped off at PCTC. What better place for me to die than in a place that is like a second home to me. I had visions of my ashes being spread away up on the hill where Barb Elliott's are. The bus couldn't make it up the driveway! Scratch that idea! I lived to tell the tale! In good health I've been back to PCTC many times since then. 

If PCTC has had such a profound effect on just one family, like ours, think of what it has done for the thousands of folks who have participated in all the events over the past 50 years! 

A "Cookbook of Memories"! What a fitting way to commemorate this anniversary of PCTC, for, along with spiritual nourishment, PCTC is noted for wonderful nourishment to our bodies when we are there. 

Evelyn Rogers, Regina SK

The Rev. Bill Clarke was a personal friend. Their first child was born while living in our home in Regina. His wife Ruth is now living in Saskatoon. We keep in touch. Bill's passing was quite a shock to me, as he seemed to be in good health. When PCTC was being built, I helped with the shingling of Saskatchewan Hall. Bill clocked thousands of miles contracting and cajoling various companies and organizations for materials and donations, and he did a fine job. I'm now almost 93 and in the Veterans part of the Wascana Rehabilitation Centre, in Regina. I wish you continued success with your operation. 

George Charrett, Regina, SK


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Box 159, Fort Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan Canada S0G 1S0
Phone: 306-332-5691 Fax:306-332-5264
Email: office@callinglakes.ca