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The light just went on in a tiny office just down the hallway from those of the Journal du Haut-Saint-François, at 57 Craig N. in Cookshire. The new occupant of the little office is Marie-Josée Brière, and right now she's deep into papers and brochures and getting to know people. She's a people person, so that makes her eyes light up with genuine enjoyment.

Marie-Josée is the new bilingual employee of the Centre d'action bénévole (Volunteer Action Centre, CAB) du Haut-Saint-François. She's responsible for the CAB's services in English, things like Meals on Wheels, transportation with volunteer drivers, supporting Viactive volunteers, caregiver support groups, and an income tax service for persons with limited income.
No one welcomes Marie-Josée more than I do, because I'm passing this job over to her. It's been an honour and a pleasure to work with the good and creative folks at the CAB, and all of those who have been involved in the CAB's activities over the past three years. (You know who you are!) But my plate runneth over, and I'm looking forward to having more time for some more leisurely activities, such as reading and writing, for example.

To reach Marie-Josée, just phone the CAB at 819-560-8540 (option 9 for English) or email

Those gentle and fun Viactive exercise groups for seniors are going strong every Wednesday at 10 a.m. in Bury, Cookshire and Sawyerville. All are welcome to drop in, or to attend regularly. The sessions are bilingual, and are free.

But beware - the groups will be taking a break over the holidays. In Bury, at the Armoury Community Centre, 563 Main St., the last session is on December 10, and the first in the new year is January 7. In Cookshire, at the Manoir de l'eau vive, 210 Principale E., Cookshire, the sessions continue until December 17, and re-start on January 14. In Sawyerville, at the Sawyerville Community Centre, 6 Church Street, the last session is on December 10, and the first in the new year is January 7.

And be on the lookout in the early spring for two new bilingual Viactive groups, one in Island Brook, and one in St-Mathias-de-Bonneterre. All this is made possible by stalwart volunteers who receive training to lead the groups, and then do so every week. And by the non-profit organization SERCOVIE, whose kinesiologist trains the volunteers and gives them resources. And also by the Centre d'action bénévole (Volunteer Action Centre) du Haut-Saint-François, who provides key support to the volunteers. And that's who you contact for more information: 819-560-8540 (option 9 for English - Marie-Josée) or

White Gift Sunday is December 7 at the United churches in Sawyerville and Cookshire. Bring non-perishable items or monetary donations for the Christmas Basket funds at the Alexander Galt Regional High School and local schools.

A special Christmas Concert of classical and Christmas music is coming to Cookshire, with Myriam Genest-Denis on flute, as well as a tenor and a pianist. It is on Sunday, December 14, at 3 p.m., at the Trinity United Church, 190 Principale W., Cookshire. Admission is $10. Proceeds go to the Cookshire Food Bank.

An Old-Time Christmas Party and Dance is planned for the Bulwer Community Centre, 254 Jordan Hill Road, on Saturday, December 13, at 7:30 p.m. The Christmas tree will be decorated by the children prior to Santa's arrival at 8:30 p.m. Santa will have gifts for everyone aged 10 years and younger. Dance music will be courtesy of The Drew Family and Todd Aiken. The old-time dances, including square dances, will be taught to the young and young-at-heart, under the guidance of Jim Naylor. "So put on your dancing shoes and come along for a fun time," says Sharon Moore. The food will be potluck - bring something along, but be aware that some have severe allergies: Please do not bring food containing peanuts. There's no charge, but a free-will donation box will be at the door.

A bilingual Christmas Carolling event is in the plans for Island Brook. Newport's recreation committee-Loisirs 4 Horizons-is organizing it - and it starts now. About 15 carollers will start practising this week, then go door to door in the village on the evening of Tuesday, December 23. After that, at about 8 p.m., they will sing in a short concert at the Newport Municipal (Community) Hall in Island Brook for those whose homes they could not reach. Look for news on the Loisirs 4 Horizons Facebook page. Info: Scott Stevenson 819-578-3033.

Anglican: Sunday services are in Bury, with Sunday school, at 9:30 a.m., and Cookshire at 11 a.m. A Christmas Eve Service with Holy Eucharist and carol singing is on Wednesday, December 24, at 2 p.m. at St. Peter's Church in Cookshire and 3:30 p.m. at St. Paul's Church in Bury (Info: 819-239-6902).

Baptist: In Sawyerville, the worship service is at 9 a.m. in French, and 11 a.m. in English. Sunday school is at 10 a.m. in English and French. A Christmas Eve Service with scripture readings and Christmas carols is planned for Wednesday, December 24, at 7 p.m. (819-239-8818).

United: Sunday worship is at Cookshire United at 9:30 a.m., and at Sawyerville United at 11 a.m.

A Blue Christmas, or Longest Night Service, is planned for Monday, December 22, at 2 p.m., a the Sawyerville Manse, 42 Principale St. N.

A Christmas Eve Service, including Holy Communion, will be led by Student Minister Tami Spires and Rev. Jim Potter of the Lennoxville United Church. It is on Wednesday, December 24, at 2 p.m., at the Trinity United Church, 190 Principale W., Cookshire. Info: 819-889-2838 (listen to message or leave one).

Do you have news to share? Call 819-300-2374 or email by December 8 for publication December 23 and by January 5 for January 14.

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