The Community pARTners Gallery is a partnership between the Yorkton Public Library, the City of Yorkton and the Yorkton Arts Council that provides space in the library for art exhibitions.
This virtual exhibition, A Light Beyond: The Beauty of Jaroslaw, is a collection of photographs by local Yorkton photographers Keith and Debbie Hayward.
“Photographs are said to capture a moment in time. Sometimes, if a photographer is fortunate, they may have an opportunity to capture a moment that extends across time.
Travel with us down a gravel road, we’ll go for a few miles after we turn off the highway. Then we’ll come to a turnoff. It’s there if you know where to look. There are lots of poplars growing in the lane leading up to the old churchyard. At the end of the lane is the light beyond! The church is gone now, but the cemetery in the churchyard serve as a reminder of the families that once filled the pews of the church.
These photographs are meant as a tribute to the pioneers who came to this church to worship, be married, baptise children and ultimately be buried. Rather than capturing one moment in time, they are meant to represent a time that has gone before, a time that is here now and a time that stretches into the future.”
The wind still whispers in the trees surrounding a sacred clearing. A quiet country lane leads to the sun-filled site where the Jaroslaw church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary once stood, west of Yorkton. The church was built in 1903, constructed by Stephan Borys and volunteers on land donated by Ivan Holovenko. Costs for construction of the church were $2,500, a huge sum for the hard-working parishioners.
The church, which measured 18 by 32 feet, had a sanctuary complete with iconostas, a choir loft, a nave which seated approximately 30 people, and a gabled porch. Lit by candles, it must have been a very special place, as the faithful gathered for the joys of weddings and baptisms, and with tears and sorrow for funerals.
In 1924, a belfry was constructed, and it is easy to imagine the joy as the bells rand crisp and clear over the countryside to announce the next liturgy. The very first Divine Liturgy was celebrated on May 7, 1905, by Rev. N. Kryzanowski, OSBM.
The church was burned in 2010, but there is a cemetery at the site. It is beautifully maintained. The belfry can be seen. Many of the grave markers are very old, not all are intact. But the markers are still a testament to the lives, short or long, that were part of the Jaroslaw parish community.
It is difficult for us to imagine the trials and hardships early settlers faced as they began a new life on the prairies. The hard work, the extremes of the climate, the isolation, the loneliness. The church was often the first community structure built, a place to gather, a place to pray, a place to offer thanks for the chance of a new life.
A hearty thank you to the volunteers who give their time and energy to preserving Jaroslaw. It is a beautiful place, and when one stands quietly in the peace of that sacred clearing, listening to the soft wind in the trees, it is easy to see the light beyond. Vichnaya Pamyat.
Click on any of the images in the photo gallery below to see the larger version, and scroll through all photos.
Debbie Hayward is an enthusiastic photo bug, and when not photographing their garden, loves to accompany her husband Keith on photo expeditions to explore pockets of history in the area.
Debbie strongly believes in preserving country cemeteries, and hopes that by capturing their images with the camera will help in a small way to preserve them in a new dimension.
On these cemetery travels, she is especially moved by the small markers that mark the spots of infants or children, and makes extra effort to visit and photograph these tiny, precious resting places.
Keith Hayward is passionate about capturing the legacy of history through the medium of photography.
He and his wife Debbie live in Yorkton and enjoy visiting local cemeteries. Many times these visits turn into photo safaris with the aim of capturing the history and the spirit of special places.
The resulting pictures remind us that every headstone or monument represents a story. Keith and Debbie visited Jaroslaw Cemetery on a sunny day in early autumn. These photographs are presented here to represent “the light beyond”.
Sandra MacColl was a visionary and had a quiet way of making her visions come to life. In 2006 one of her visions came to life in the creation of the Community pARTners Gallery, a small public gallery space in the Yorkton Public Library.
The space is the result of a partnership of the City of Yorkton, the Yorkton Public Library and the Yorkton Arts Council.
It is a wonderful creative space that welcomes all. In her vision SandraMacColl saw beyond her own life and continues in her support of the arts even after passing away. Her generosity will ensure the continuation of the programming and maintenance of the Community pARTners Gallery for years to come.