A modern new sign is up at Chilliwack’s oldest church and it’s all thanks to church members and several community partners.
The sign at St. Thomas Anglican Church went up last weekend (June 5) and is visible as folks drive along First Avenue. The old, wooden sign at the 148-year-old church was decades old and a new one was long overdue.
“We feel it’s a step in the right direction to bring the church up-to-date and to inspire new membership,” said parishioner Wayne Adams, who had a big hand in getting the project done.
The sign cost about $13,000, but it would have been a lot more had it not been for various donations of materials and labour by members and businesses in the community.
Some funding came from the church budget and parishioners. The concrete for the foundation was donated by Lafarge (Chilliwack), the metal for the frame was donated by Woodrock Industry (Mission), and M&H Machinery (Chilliwack) donated the metal for the roof.
St. Thomas parishioner and welder Richard Gagne put in hours of his own time in as he constructed the frame and the roof in his home garage.
Fellow church members Jolette Moeliker and Jennifer Gagne designed the sign.
Others donated their time, too. An electrician volunteered to do all the wiring, and Flatland Equipment Sales and Services donated their crane to lift the sign into place.
St. Thomas Anglican Church has in interesting history. The original building came into Chilliwack on six canoes in 1873 from Port Douglas to Chilliwack on Harrison Lake. (At the time it was an unused church (St. Mark’s) which was constructed in 1862.) The church was reconstructed on an acre of woodland, donated by Isaac Kipp, where Five Corners is today.
This small church served the community of Chilliwack until a larger one was built in 1897 on the same site at Five Corners. The church building was lifted onto rollers in 1919, and with the assistance of the Royal Engineers, St. Thomas was transported to its current spot, where Gore and First avenues meet.
– with files from Jennifer Feinberg, and key history notes gathered by resident Laura Reid