Minister's spirit lives on at banquet

Delhi United Church has winning formula

There is no shortage of people who want to volunteer for the Cheryl Fitch Memorial Community Dinner in Delhi on Christmas day. Two who enlisted this year are Rose-Marie Aelterman and Dan Fewings, both of Vittoria. MONTE SONNENBERG / Delhi News-Record

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DELHI – Pastor Cheryl Fitch has been gone nearly two years, but she taught her flock well.

The banquet room and kitchen on the lower level of Delhi United Church was again a bee-hive of activity Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as an army of volunteers hustled to put on the best Christmas dinner they knew how.

Precise numbers were unavailable, but that dinner included five turkeys, six hams and 75 pounds of potatoes.

“We’re just carrying on with what Cheryl had in mind to the best of our ability,” Kim Morris-Morgan, one of three co-organizers of the Cheryl Fitch Memorial Community Dinner, said Christmas morning at the church. “I’m sure she’s with us today, and I’ll try not to cry.”

Fitch’s passing in early January, 2017, left a mark on the congregation. She was beloved. Her diagnosis came suddenly and unexpectedly and was fatally swift in the way cancer can be.

Fitch started the Christmas tradition in 2004 as a means of reaching out to people in the Delhi area who had nowhere to go on Christmas. The future of the banquet was in doubt in December, 2016, but the congregants agreed to forge ahead as a tribute to Fitch’s kindness and leadership.

Fitch was not far from the minds of volunteers and the dozens who enjoyed a delicious turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

“She loved everybody,” said congregant Daryl Brown of Delhi. “It didn’t matter who you were, her love shone through. We can still feel her spirit here.”

Brother-in-law Ernie Fitch of Delhi echoed similar sentiments.

“I keep coming back to honour her memory,” Fitch said. “And the meal is very good. I can’t honestly say I could do better myself.”

There were volunteers at Tuesday’s event from every congregation in Delhi. Numerous individuals, businesses and farmers contribute to the banquet’s success.

Helping Morris-Morgan co-ordinate it were Ruth Brown and Mariette Stefek. Morris-Morgan said no one is interested in tinkering with Fitch’s formula because everything goes smoothly and it just feels right.

“It it’s not broken, let’s not change it,” she said. “Cheryl’s vision was family and community coming together – whoever you are.”

MSonnenberg@postmedia.com

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