On May 18, Shenandoah Valley Westminster-Canterbury hosted an anniversary gala to celebrate 25 years as an integral part of the Winchester community. More than 400 guests attended the Friday-afternoon celebration.
During the gala, guests enjoyed self-paced tours of the community and savored Tastes of Virginia, an array of hors d’oeuvres created by the Westminster-Canterbury culinary team and served at stations throughout the community.
On display were vintage photographs depicting the community’s ground-breaking and other significant activities that have taken place over the past 25 years. Musical entertainment throughout the afternoon included:
- Oui 3, a jazz trio.
- Jazz by Combo, a trio that features SVWC resident Verne Collins.
- Guitarist and Shenandoah University professor Glenn Caluda.
- The Vitali String Quartet, an acclaimed foursome performing as part of the Bistro Concert Series held in the evening.
Local business leader calls Westminster-Canterbury a "gem"
During the event, local business leader F. Dixon Whitworth, Jr., the keynote speaker and currently the chairman of the board of trustees at Valley Health, had some kind words about the community.
“This gala pays tribute to the real engine behind the train: the community of volunteers,” said Whitworth, Jr. “As we celebrate the 25th anniversary, I say thank you to the Winchester community and the Westminster-Canterbury community that have made this gem a reality. Yes, Westminster-Canterbury’s amenities are spectacular, but what transcends the amenities are the caring and engaged residents who live here. It’s truly a family.”
Mr. Whitworth was an active participant in the early stages of Shenandoah Valley Westminster-Canterbury, serving on the governance board.
“This is quite an occasion for us,” said CEO and President Jeannie Shiley. “So many people have contributed so much to help Shenandoah Valley Westminster-Canterbury prosper over the years. Our community is the product of thousands of dedicated, energetic people who have believed in – and continue to believe in – our mission. We want to take this special opportunity to show how much we appreciate their time, talents, and, in many cases, financial support.”
A history of Westminster-Canterbury
Since the first residents of the continuing care retirement community (CCRC) moved to Westminster-Canterbury in January of 1987, the community has grown steadily both in size and number of residents.
Today, approximately 380 residents live in three levels of care – independent living, assisted living, and the health center – in private apartments and cottages.
“Shenandoah Valley Westminster-Canterbury has a wonderful, wonderful mission statement,” added Dr. Terry Sinclair, chairman of the board of trustees of Shenandoah Valley Westminster-Canterbury, as he read the statement as part of his remarks during the ceremony. “And it’s a mission we’re living up to. Twenty-five years later, this is an active, thriving, vibrant retirement community.”
Historically, Shenandoah Valley Westminster-Canterbury began more than 28 years ago, when parishioners at the Christ Episcopal Church in Winchester, Virginia, saw a need for and set a goal to create a first-class community to serve seniors.
They adopted the Westminster-Canterbury model, where both the Episcopal and Presbyterian churches share sponsorship.
In 1982, the family of Mr. and Mrs. William H. Lawrence, Jr., generously donated land for the campus, which grew with subsequent purchases to 65 acres. In 1987, Shenandoah Valley Westminster-Canterbury welcomed its first residents.
Many of the original leaders or members of their families remain active and support the mission and vision of the community to this day.