With a major milestone approaching, parishioners of St. Thomas Anglican Church are asking the public to help write the history of the downtown Chilliwack landmark.
The church will celebrate its 140th year in Chilliwack this fall and is compiling a book to mark the anniversary. With so much history, those tasked with the job are asking the public for their memories and photographs of the church-or churches.
The proud building at the non-intersection of Gore and First avenues is more than 100 years old. But even it only knows part of the story. Ditto for its original site at Five Corners.
The first Anglican church in Chilliwack was actually an import. In 1873-just two years after British Columbia joined confederation-an unused church from Port Douglas on Harrison Lake was uprooted and floated on six war canoes to Chilliwack.
Here, it was re-constructed on an acre of cleared forestland that was donated by local pioneer Isaac Kipp. Originally called St. Mark's, the church was renamed for St. Thomas and consecrated on Nov. 6 of that year by the province's first Anglican bishop, George Hills.
The small church took care of parishioners' needs for more than two decades until 1897, when, with Chilliwack growing, it was replaced by a larger building.
That church was hand built in the "carpenter gothic style" with lumber donated by parishioners. It remained at Five Corners for 12 years until it was moved to its present location to make room for new development.
It has remained there for 104 years and continues to host Sunday worship, soup kitchens, seniors' luncheons, weddings, funerals and more.
To celebrate its vibrant history, the church is planning several events this year, beginning with a Church on the Grass celebration in September. It will also hold a historical church service-complete with period costumes-in October, a community banquet in November, and special festivities in December.
Laura Reid said they are particularly interested in photos from the church's history.
"We're looking for photographs from the community, from people who have attended the church or got married at the church," she said. "We want to reach out to create a history of all the people that have attended and been a part of the parish community."
? Photos can be scanned and emailed to email@example.com or dropped off at the Church office at 46048 Gore Ave.
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