Chilliwack’s oldest church is celebrating its 150th anniversary with a number of public events next weekend.
St. Thomas Anglican Church is marking this milestone year on Nov. 18 and Nov. 19.
On Saturday, Nov. 18, there will be an open house where people can see displays inside the church, watch a video about the church’s history, and take in a guided tour. It runs from 4 p.m. to about 5 p.m.
Following the open house will be the 150th anniversary dinner. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and dinner is at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 each and seating is limited. To buy tickets, go to stthomaschilliwack.com.
And then on Nov. 19 they will have a special Sunday service at 10 a.m. It will be attended by Bishop John Stephens and organizers are anticipating a packed house.
St. Thomas Anglican Church is an iconic building in Chilliwack with a unique history.
According to Chilliwack History Perspectives, the church was built in 1859 in Port Douglas and originally called St. Mark’s.
In 1873 the church, which was not being used, was offered to Chilliwack. Using six Haida canoes that were tied together, the building was transported from Port Douglas to Chilliwack. It travelled down Harrison Lake, west along the Harrison River, and southwest along the Fraser River to where it reached Chilliwack Landing. From that point it was transported east along Wellington Avenue to Five Corners.
This small church served the community of Chilliwack until a larger one was built in 1897 on the same site.
With the growth of Chilliwack concentrated around Chilliwack Landing and Wellington Avenue, the land St. Thomas occupied at Five Corners was needed for future development. 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.
The year 2023 also marks the 150th anniversary of the RCMP and the 150th anniversary of the incorporation of the City of Chilliwack.
For more, go to stthomaschilliwack.org.
– with files from Jennifer Feinberg and history notes gathered by resident Laura Reid
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