One hundred and twelve years ago, in 1907, the first Anglican church was built on land in Salmon Arm given by Mr. Henry Charles Fraser.
Volunteers cut logs in the bush in the winter of 1906 and then hauled them to Brayden and Johnston Mills to be sawed into boards. The construction contract was let to Jackson and Parker. The new Gothic-style church building (no hall) was ready for use in six weeks and the first service was held by the vicar of Enderby on Trinity Sunday 1907.
In September, the church’s congregation will be recognizing the 40th anniversary of the present, larger church building—complete with a basement hall built on the same, original property as the first church building.
Both churches were built after sufficient funds and pledges had been secured to cover the costs. Many individuals helped in this way. The contractors for both buildings led the construction process but were willing to allow parishioners to work alongside their people so that construction and finishing costs could be minimized through volunteer labour.
As the original church was soon considered too small and costly to heat, talks about a larger replacement building seemed to have been ongoing on since 1912. Years went by, with final decision making and movement on this idea finally occurring in 1979. This time the construction contract was let to W.H.Laird Construction Ltd with plans to include a lower hall for activities, running water, plumbing and better heating.
The old wooden church was de-consecrated in May, and the new building was started shortly after the remains were hauled away to be burned. The first service was held on Dec. 16, the third Sunday in Advent 1979.
According to a release from the church, apart from all the savings made possible by the contractors and many volunteers, the greatest benefit was the joy and fellowship that came from working together for the Lord.
Consecration of the new church building was held on Sept. 8, 1979, the 77th anniversary of the consecration of the original church.
The church’s release quotes Father Don Malins, the incumbent during the entire planning and construction period, “A new church is a wonderful thing to have. We have to remember that it is only a meeting place where people of all ages come to worship, study and work together before being sent out into the world to be apostles of our Lord.”
The public is invited to help mark the 40th year of this present building and observe back-to-church and bring-a-friend Sunday. An anniversary celebration will take place on Sept. 22. A Thanksgiving service at 10 a.m. will be followed by a reception/lunch (RSVP at 250-832-7238). Attendees can share memories and anecdotes about the stresses and joys of building St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church.
Submitted by Brenda Garren
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