Gary Weir and Rev. Hilary Murray toast the success of Holy Hops, a fundraising event of St. George’s Anglican Church to raise money for ending global hunger. (Photo: Gillian Portt)
Canadians are known around the world for their compassion, kindness, and generosity.
They’re also known for their love of beer.
Members of St. George’s Anglican Church in Fitzroy Harbour, Ontario are no exception to any of these qualities—which is how Holy Hops Brewfest came about.
“We were looking for new ways to elevate the profile of the church to keep the energy bubbling and also to engage new people in the congregation and community,” says Tom Jones, who chaired the Holy Hops organizing committee.
For $25, participants received samples of beer from two local breweries and a homemade “Oktoberfest feast” that included sausage on a bun, sauerkraut, potato and bacon salad, and apple strudel for dessert.
A portion of the proceeds from the event were donated toward the work of ending world hunger through Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
The idea started with a group of young people in the church, says Jones. They started a planning committee and began brainstorming ideas, and shortly after the Holy Hops Brewfest was born.
Gillian Portt, 25, was one of the organizers.
“This event was a way to support a good cause and give back to the community that has given me so much,” she says.
Portt grew up attending St. George’s but now lives in Ottawa. She says the Foodgrains Bank played a special role in her childhood.
“The Weir family, who runs the local growing project, rented land off my parents,” explains Portt. “So their Foodgrains Bank grains grew up at the same place I did!”
At first the committee was a little nervous at hosting the beer fest because it was so different than anything else they’d done in the past. But after hearing feedback from those who attended, Jones says they immediately knew it was a success.
“People were saying, ‘Where have you been? Why haven’t you done this before?’” he says.
The committee also organized a silent auction for the event. Altogether, they raised $135 for the work of ending global hunger.
The highlights go beyond just the finances, though.
“The thing that inspired me the most was that the 20-somethings in our church came together to plan the event and show they were involved in the church,” says Jones.
For Portt, it was the importance of bringing the church community together for a good cause that inspired her.
“We are a small community but we need to make a difference,” she says. “It’s the Christian thing to do – you’re supposed to help others.”
–Shaylyn McMahon, Communications Assistant