From the time she arrived there to her death last year, Eileen Churchill was an important and much-loved part of the St. John the Evangelist Anglican Cathedral family.
So it is only fitting that the church in the middle of Main Street in Corner Brook has found a way to honour her.
Mrs. Churchill came to the church as the wife of the rector of the parish. Her husband, the late Arthur Churchill served in that role from 1983-1985 and from 1985-1998 was the dean of the cathedral. Rev. Churchill died on Dec. 13, 2001, and sometime after the church hall was dedicated in his memory.
Mrs. Churchill died on Sept. 25, 2016 while on vacation in Sweden.
Among her church involvements, Mrs. Churchill was a lay leader, a member of the ACW (Anglican Church Women), the church choir, vestry and served as the people’s warden.
She was also involved in the church’s outreach program, visiting seniors and people in the hospital.
On Sunday the church rededicated the hall “The Arthur and Eileen Churchill Hall” in both their honours.
Connie Lamswood first met Mrs. Churchill when she was in her teens.
The women lost contact over the years as Mrs. Churchill pursued a career in teaching and Lamswood one in nursing. But when they both ended up in Corner Brook their friendship was rekindled.
Outside the church she was involved in the Rotary Music Festival, an afterschool program, helped with a camp for less-privileged children at Killdevil and the Beta Sigma Phi.
“She was a leader in so many ways,” said Lamswood.
Since her death, Lamswood said there has been a big void in the community and among her church family.
Dean Baxter Park, the cathedral’s current dean, said the rededication of the hall recognizes not only the contribution of Mrs. Churchill as a lay leader, but also the role of women in the church, which has historically placed emphasis on the work of men and on ordained leadership and a little less on lay leadership. Mrs. Churchill, he said, did everything she did as a lay leader.
“Sometimes it was in the shadow of her husband, yet her contributions were just as significant as his in so many ways.”
In his five years at the church, Park became close with Mrs. Churchill.
“Eileen was the greatest sounding board that you could ever ask for,” he said.
Park said Mrs. Churchill was always up for something new and was instrumental in bringing in the Syrian refugee family the church sponsored.
Park said she died before the church could complete a project that she suggested, an apple pie fundraiser. It was her enthusiasm for the project that saw the church go ahead with it shortly after her death and she is the reason they continued it this year.
Two of the Churchill’s children, Phil and Dianne, were at the rededication and unveiled the plaque recognizing their parents that hangs in the hall.