Bob and Rowena Dunlop are familiar faces around PVUC. But then so are their granddaughters, Alexis and Sydney. In the 30 years that Bob and Rowena have been attending PVUC, 14 of them have been in the company of their granddaughters, both of whom began attending PVUC soon after their first birthdays.
“When they were young, we had the girls on weekends when their mom and dad were working,” says Rowena. “When we asked their parents’ permission to bring them to church, they said it was okay.”
Rowena recalls a congregant telling her that she wouldn’t know her own grandson if she tripped over him. So Rowena cherishes the time they all spend together calling it a real blessing. “It has made us closer,” she says. “We are lucky to have our grandchildren living close by because we often go to Bowmanville to make them dinner,” adds Bob.
Although their grandparents live in Ajax, the girls have a long weekly trek from Bowmanville, leaving home at 6:30 a.m. While the girls love many things about coming to PVUC, the early start is not one of them. Sydney, who is 15 and in grade 10, loves the PVUC youth group because it gives her the chance to communicate with others her age. Twelve-year-old Alexis is in grade 7 and enjoys Sunday School where she gets to do many different activities. Both girls have attended Conference where they have met kids from their schools, showing them that they are not the only ones who go to Sunday School.
The girls’ active involvement in church life may well be the start of them following in their grandparents’ footsteps. Rowena is a choir member. She has served as Secretary of the Board, and been part of the Church and choir executive. She has been active with the UCW as unit leader, vice president and president. Bob has been vice chair and chair of the Board; an elder; chair of the outreach committee; envelope steward; has helped coordinate PVUC’s fireworks display, the yard sale and Snowflake Market; and has participated on the Affirming Committee and two search committees for new ministers.
To other grandparents and grandchildren, Rowena, Bob, Sydney and Alexis have this to say:
“You have to be willing to put the time and effort into it, but it’s worth it. You have to have the parents’ commitment, they have to say it’s okay.”
About PVUC, the family says that when you belong to PVUC you have a much larger family beyond your blood relatives. When things go wrong, they will stop what they’re doing and come and help. When asked about their favourite PVUC memories, Sydney cites her recent confirmation; Rowena and Bob pick their oldest daughter’s wedding at PVUC and church pageants with the girls; and Alexis thinks all her PVUC memories are great ones!