St. George's to mark 150 years
St. George's Anglican Church, located at the corner of Sandy Beach Road and Doran Road in Laurentian Valley Township, is celebrating its 150th anniversary Nov. 5, 2017.
LAURENTIAN VALLEY TWP. - At the corner of Sandy Beach and Doran Roads stands a small and mighty parish.
St. George's Anglican Church is celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017 with a church service and homecoming starting at 3 p.m. The celebrant, Archdeacon Rob Davis, has a strong connection to the country church, as his father Eldon Davis was minister there in the 1940s, and his wife the Rev. Cathy Davis is St. George's current minister.
The guest speaker Canon Allen Box preached there in the 1970s.
Kim Silkie, the church's People's Warden, said this will be a double celebration, marking their anniversary as well as the completion of renovations which gave the building a new addition and front entrance, wheelchair ramps, a washroom and a new kitchen.
She said the renovations were paid in part through the GIFT program (Growing In Faith Together), which is operated out of the Ottawa Diocese. For their part, the congregation had a goal of raising $28,000 over the course of five years, which they made and surpassed, collected at least $34,000 for the cause.
Once known as South Alice, but included as part of the Parish of Petawawa, even though they are in Laurentian Valley Township, few people in the Ottawa Valley seem to know of its existence.
Its origins began with a 10-acre land grant to the Anglican Diocese in 1865 to set up a mission. By 1867, a small log church, about 40 feet by 22 feet in size was constructed. After fire leveled the structure, a second church was constructed on the foundation of the first one in 1877.
Silkie said the congregation outgrew the building, which was known for how cold it would get in the winter, so the people voted to construct a third building. Work on that started in 1954, with the entire structure dedicated and ready by 1958. Until the upstairs was done, services and events were held in the basement, including two weddings held in 1956.
“Everything took time, as it was all done by the parishioners,” she said. All labour was donated, the materials either donated, salvaged from other churches which were closing, or bought by the congregation themselves and donated to the church.
Silkie said the church would have closed its doors if it wasn't for the dedication of its congregation to keep the it operating.
This continues to be the case, as this latest addition was constructed by the parishioners, with the help of Rossow's Home Hardware, whose lift truck was used to help install the 700 pound bell and bell tower at the end of September.
“The bell is from a church in North Gower which had been closed,” Silkie said, pointing out the new lighting in the church came from there as well.
“We finally got indoor plumbing in 2013,” she said, which, along with a well dug at the same time ensures the church could host suppers again. They had done so up to the late 1960s, early 1970s, before they were forced to stop due to a lack of running water.
Silkie said this anniversary celebration is a chance to let local people know about their small but mighty church community, which consists of about 40 families. She said they recently added a couple of new families to their congregation, so they have been growing.
“We may be part of the Parish of Petawawa, but we have our own identity,” Silkie said. “We're vibrant, we're alive and we do exist.”