Richmond Church To Hold Pysanky Fundraiser In Support Of Ukraine

By Charlie Senack, Manotick Messenger

A Richmond resident is getting ready to host a traditional Easter Egg making event in support of Ukraine. 

The traditional Ukrainian Easter eggs called Pysanky, dates back centuries, and is a fun activity for both young and old to do. 

Darlene McLeod-Sprott, who moved to Richmond in 2017, said she wanted to find a sense of community. That’s when she joined St. Paul’s United Church and got involved in local fundraising. 

Those efforts took a back burner during COVID, but now with war unfolding in Ukraine, McLeod-Sprott said she wanted to find a way to help when so many feel helpless. 

“This is about how we help each other,” she said. “At times we feel quite alone, and during COVID there was never a time I felt more alone than that. This is about reminding us that there are people out there.”

The Richmon resident added it’s an opportunity to share creativity and peace with local residents, all while supporting an important cause. 

“I get the feeling that it’s been a really rough two years for everybody, and on top of that with what’s been happening in Ukraine, my heart has been breaking and feeling powerless with what I’ve been seeing,” said McLeod-Sprott. 

The ‘Pysanky for Peace’ workshop will be held at St. Paul’s United Church, located at 3452 McBean st in Richmond, on April 9 and 10th from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Tickets are $40 each and include a kit with all materials needed to paint the eggs. Funds raised will go to the Red Cross. 

McLeod-Sprott said she learned the Ukrainian Pysanky tradition from her mother, who took a class in Ottawa a few years ago. The East Coast native has a visuals arts degree with honours from York University. 

Pysanka, as it’s also known, is often taken to mean any type of decorated egg, but it specifically refers to an egg created by the written-wax batik method utilizing traditional folk motifs and designs. Like many ancient cultures, Ukrainians worshipped a sun god, who warmed the earth and was a source of life.

McLeod-Sprott says it’s important to pass on traditions to the next generations so they don’t go lost. 

“I’m trying to make it accessible for the next generation, because I find these things often get lost across time,” the St. Paul’s United Church member said.

The eggs also offer an opportunity to paint symbols which have meaning. 

“A ladder is for prayer, a cross is for the Trinity, and stars are symbols of Christianity,” said McLeod-Sprott. “There’s rakes, flowers, seeds. For me Pysanky is about renewal, rebirth, and about hope. After the two we have been struggling through, I think everyone can benefit from all these things.” 

This is not the first fundraiser McLeod-Sprott has held in support of Ukraine, already raising a little over $380. Reaction has been positive with people travelling from across Ottawa and as far as Renfrew to attend. 

Anyone who wants to purchase tickets or is looking for more information can contact McLeod-Sprott by email at darlene_mcleod@live.ca, or by phone at (416) 209-9651

All donations raised will go to the Red Cross, who is helping with Humanitarian Aid efforts in Ukraine.