Decker Colony’s annual holiday get-together in December 2018 had special meaning and was a time of thanks for the Hutterite community for hardships overcome.
In May of 2017 fire destroyed two-thirds of its large equipment shed and a number of vehicles within it. The building not only served as a main cog in the farming and business operations, it also doubled as a hall for the community’s annual “Friends & Neighbours Evening,” and with only tarps to cover the massive structural doors in the winter of 2017, the event had to be cancelled.
Although the shed is not yet completely done, it has come a long way and Decker Colony was once again able to invite its friends and neighbours to come and celebrate the joy of the Christmas season.
The support shown by those same friends and neighbours over the past year and a half is greatly appreciated by the close-knit community, that showcased a renewed sense of energy, and commitment.
The journey from destruction to renewal was captured by two paintings created by Hamiota artist Joan Trott. The first depicted the enormous loss to the colony when area volunteer fire departments battled the early-morning blaze, and the second painting pays homage to the colony’s faith depicting the new shed and the words, “Despite the cold of winter, Our Faith has led us through, Like Phoenix from the ashes, we rise and build anew.”
These same sentiments were expressed by the Decker Youth Choir as the members performed “The Storm.” Produced entirely by the choir and musical director, Butch (George) Wipf, the number included cracks of lightning and pounding rain fading away into sunshine and the sound of birds, touching all 350 people in attendance.
The song was shared as a form of thanks to commemorate what the new building means to Decker Colony, but it actually went deeper than that.
“We are thinking more in terms of the storms that we go through in life, when trials and tribulations overwhelm us and when peace comes through divine intervention. This is true for us as people of faith; I’ve heard it echoed from friends and neighbours as well and it was certainly true for us,” said Kathy Waldner, a teacher at the Decker Colony School.
Besides the Youth Choir there were also performances by the K-12 School Choir, Decker Community Choir, Men’s Choir, Diene (Ladies) Choir, a special cowboy poetry presentation by Russ Andrew of Rossburn, and actors in “The Nativity Musical.”
Colony manager, Sam Waldner, said it was a great feeling to see so many friends from near and far present that evening.