Cookes Church celebrates 125 wonderful years

Cookes Presbyterian, one of Chilliwack's oldest churches, is celebrating its 125th anniversary this month with a number of events.

A view of first Cooke's Presbyterian Church building on the North side of Wellington Avenue.

One of Chilliwack’s oldest churches is celebrating its 125th anniversary this month with a number of events.

Cookes Presbyterian Church was the third church built in Chilliwack and it opened on June 17, 1888 on Wellington Avenue. Though the original building was replaced by the current church in 1965, its location remains the same.

To celebrate its 125 years, the church is having three events: a special anniversary Sunday service, a lobster dinner, and a hall dedication ceremony, says Rev. Willem van de Wall.

It all begins this Sunday when the church hall will be named ‘Singleton Hall’ in honour of the late Hal Singleton, a former Cookes member.

Singleton was known as the ‘godfather’ of the federal Liberals in B.C. after he held the Liberal family together in the early 1990s when the Reform Party tidal wave struck. Singleton also served for 33 years with the Canadian Armed Forces, retiring in 1993.

The hall dedication ceremony will consist of a prayer, ribbon cutting, unveiling of the sign, plus a speaker from the Singleton family.

The Singleton Hall dedication ceremony takes place around noon, after the church’s regular 11 a.m. service this Sunday, June 9.

On June 22, the church will be hosting a lobster dinner in Singleton Hall at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at the church (45825 Wellington Ave.) or by calling the church office at 604-792-2154 (9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday to Friday).

Lastly, Cookes Church is having a special 125th anniversary service on Sunday, June 23 at 11 a.m.All events are open to the public and everyone is welcome to attend.

Historical facts:

  • The construction of the original Cookes Presbyterian Church was completed in the summer of 1888 at a cost of $6,000 on a 14-acre plot of donated land
  • A pipe organ was installed in 1946 and served as a memorial to those of the congregation “who offered their lives for the way of peace and freedom”
  • In 1950, the church hall was built
  • From the spring of 1965 to December 1965, service was held in the church hall during the construction of the new (and current) Cookes Church
  • The organ was stored in a barn during the construction of the new church in 1965
  • In 1988, as part of the centennial celebration of the church, a detailed history was published entitled ‘A Century of Faith: The History of Cooke’s Presbyterian Church – Chilliwack’
  • Several of the historic aerial photos of Chilliwack, including those taken from the 1948 flood, were shot from the tower at Cookes Presbyterian Church