Our Church

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his presents a history of St. Edward the Confessor Anglican Church in Fairview and Oliver❟ in British Columbia❟ Canada.

Note : to find our church❟ see the Find Us page; to contact someone in our church, see the Contact Us page.

Church History

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Our Church ishop Dart of New Westminster established the Mission of St. Edward the Confessor in Fairview when he visited Fairview in 1897. The legendary Father Pat, (Henry Irwin), in his wanderings throughout the mining areas of Kootenay at the end of the last century, is known to have held services in Fairview in any room available on a Sunday morning: even in an empty bar room. The church in Fairview was built in 1898[1] in Father Pat❜s time.[2,3] The Mission of St. Edward the Confessor gradually diminished as Fairview❜s fortunes faded; the few remaining families were served by Canon Thompson who visited Fairview and Keremeos settlements whenever he could make the journey from Penticton.[4] The Church Hall in Fairview was sold to Louis Deighton for $50.00.[5] A chalice and collection plate bearing the inscription "Fairview Anglican Church in memory of C. T. B......", was retrieved from Fairview and formed part of the plate of St. Edward The Confessor.[6] Some of the lay people were J. R. Brown and Richard H. Parkinson.[7]

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Saints Edward and George he Township of Oliver was established in 1921. In 1925, the first service was held in Oliver by Canon Thompson, and by 1926 the Anglicans in the new community were ministered to by the Rev. Yolland, and later by the Rev. Alan Dixon. In those early years of the opening up of the valley to accommodate returning veterans from the First World War, an extensive irrigation project was set up in the valley bottom. Orchards were developed, a slowly growing number of Anglicans moved into the district, and a group of faithful lay men and women worked to establish a church community.[8] Among the early lay people were the Parham, Bettison, Hardie, Seeley, Steward, Douglas, Porteous, Corbishley, Amor, Overton, Wright and Bertram families.[9]

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lthough there was no church building, a Women❜s Auxiliary was started by Mrs. Parham with Mrs. Seeley. Sunday School classes were started by Mrs. Parham with the help of Mrs. Brown and others for the children, in various homes. In 1934, Sunday school was revived by Les Amor and associates.[10]

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rom 1933-35, Rev. WS Beames of Penticton drove to Oliver once a month to hold services in the old schoolhouse and also in Griffin Hall (now part of the Mad Merchant on the corner of Highway 97 and 356th Ave.). By 1934, inspired by Rev. Beames, plans got off the ground for construction of a dual-purpose building to serve as both church and parish hall. The land had already been acquired, through the efforts of the Women❜s Auxiliary, at the corner of 348th and 350th (Fairview Road), and thanks to much volunteer labour and donations of material and money, the building was ready for official opening on March 17, 1935.[11]

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n May 1936, The Rev. Frederick C Briscall and his wife Kathleen arrived from Saskatchewan to serve Oliver and Keremeos. In 1937, the Bishop of Kootenay formally named the parish "Mission of St. Edward the Confessor" instead of "Oliver Anglican Church", forty years after the Fairview Mission of St. Edward was established.[12]

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John 20:17 n 1948 there was no rectory when Rev. Briscall came, so a parishioner backed a loan and the rectory was built[13] for $2,500.00, after the last rental house available had been sold.[14]

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ith the influx of new veterans and families after World War II, the Church Hall was no longer adequate and plans were drawn up for a new church. The untimely death of Rev. Briscall in 1948 unfortunately prevented him from seeing "his dream" completed; however, under the careful direction of Rev. REM Yerburgh, the new church began to take shape. On October 12, 1949, on the eve of St. Edward❜s Day, Rev. Dr. Jocelyn Perkins, Canon and Sacristan of Westminster Abbey, turned the first sod on the site of the new church. This was most appropriate, as our patron saint, Edward the Confessor, the English King (1042-1066) is associated with Westminster Abbey, the original Church of St. Edward the Confessor. This gave a real stimulus to the work: donations came from near and far. Work was begun in the spring of 1950 and the building was completed within the year. The Right Reverend F. P. Clark, Bishop of Kootenay dedicated the new church, on the 3rd of June 1951.[15]

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he church is constructed of cement pumice blocks with a seating capacity of 250, a chancel choir, two vestries, and a lovely Lady Chapel for smaller services. It is completed in Norman style, square bell tower at the west entrance. Interestingly enough, the church was to originally have been built beside the church hall, but because of the height of the bell tower, it had to be relocated across the street to avoid being in the flight path of the Oliver airport! A peal of eight bells was installed in the tower in 1952, the gift of an anonymous donor as a memorial to the early settlers on orchard land in the Okanagan. The bells were cast in England, the largest weighing 700 pounds! One person, on large wooden piano-like keys operated from the balcony can ring them[16], one of a few such peals in western Canada.[17] The inscription on the brass plaque installed in the stairway concludes, "May the bells installed in this tower, as they peal forth, bring cheer throughout the years." They were dedicated 13 October 1952, Thanksgiving Day - St. Edward❜s Day - by the Right Rev. A.H. Sovereign, D.D.[18] It was necessary to heighten the tower for the bells, as the weight was too much for the lower height of the tower.[19]

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The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ n 1954, on October 13th, St. Edward❜s Day, a Consecration Ceremony was held, attended by several former incumbents [20] to celebrate the new church being debt free.[21]

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he first parish register including Parishes of Penticton, Fairview, Trout Creek, Keremeos and Kelowna was thought to have been burned, but was found by the Archivist for the Diocese in 1979.[22]

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n 19 May 1985, one of the Stained Glass Windows, "The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ", shown here, was dedicated.[23]

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he church was renovated in 2003, with construction from December 2002 to March 31 2003. Services were held in St. John❜s Lutheran Church during this period. The first service in the renovated church took place April 6 2003. The dedication of the renovated Church was July 6 with the Most Reverend David Crawley officiating, assisted by Rev. Patrick Reid, Bishop❜s Chaplain Chris Yerburgh, and Server Cynthia Jones.

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hanges during the renovation were: a ramp was added on the east side for the handicapped; the sanctuary-chancel area was subdivided and made into a new hall; the altar, pulpit and lectern were placed on a hardwood platform a few feet from the pews; the organ that was in the sanctuary area was placed at the back on a raised platform on the east side of the church; the two transepts were converted to a sunny kitchen, a handicapped washroom, a vestry, and an office; cupboards in the narthex were removed, making it larger; a new carpet was placed in the center aisle, and tile in the narthex; and the hardwood floor was sanded and varnished to a warm glow. Wood from the choir pews was used extensively in the renovations.

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ver the years the number of parishioners has waxed and waned. We continually benefit from the Church Interiorexperience and maturity of the retired folk who come to join the ranks of St. Edward❜s from other parishes. And of course we warmly welcome those younger families who come to Oliver to undertake the changing business opportunities in the district. In them we see the hope of renewal of Sunday School, Choir and church life; as together, young and old, we offer to God our time and talents in service to one another, to the community of Oliver, and to continuing the tradition of St. Edward❜s.[24]

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t. Edward❜s in Fairview and Oliver has been well served by many good men over the years.

In Fairview:[25]

Late 1800❜s to 1901      "Father Pat" Henry Irwin
1892      Rev. Green held occasional services
1903      Rev. Borlace
1904-1906      Rev. St. John Mildmay (circuit rider of Penticton)
          Arch Deacon de Pencier visited Fairview
 

In Oliver, incumbents have been: [26]

1921-1933      (Yet to be identified)
1933-1936      Rev. W.S. Beames
1936-1948      Rev. F. C. Briscall
1948-1951      Rev. R. E. M. Yerburgh
1951-1954      Rev. G. T. Pattinson
1954-1958      Rev. C. S. Lutener
1958-1961      Rev. C. H. Butler
1961-1971      Rev. John Stainer
1971-1980      Rev. D. D. Holt
1980-1985      Rev. J. A. Jackson
1985-1986      Rev. John Stainer
1986-1995      Rev. Brock Lupton
1995-1997      Rev. R. Matthews and Rev. Irving
1997-today      Rev. Patrick Reid
 

Honorary Assistants: Rev. Ray Turner, Rev. R. Hillson, Rev. John Stainer; 1997-today, Rev. Ray Turner

Footnotes

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his lists footnotes to the information presented above.

1      Notes found by Dorothy Amor 13 May 1999
2      From an article written by Rosemary Mititka with the help of Dorothy Amor May 1996 for Oliver❜s 75th - June 15
3      Reminisces by Dorothy Amor 1982
4      Ibid. 2,3
5      In a letter written to Mrs. A. D. Hardie from Hester White, dated 25 May 1953
6      From "High-Way" Anglican paper 1st Feb 1953, Quarterly, Diocese of Kootenay Vol. 2, No. 2, 1 Mar 1958
7      Dorothy Amor in a phone call 13 May 1999
8      Ibid. 2,3
9      Newspaper clipping, no date or name of paper, probably Oliver Chronicle and Osoyoos Observer
10      Ibid. 3
11      Ibid. 2,3
12      Ibid. 2,3
13      Ibid. 6
14      Dorothy Amor 18 May 1999
15      Ibid. 2,3
16      Ibid. 2,3
17      From the plaque on the church tower. Also in the Oliver Chronicle and Osoyoos Observer Vol. XVI Wed. Oct 8, 1952
18      Ibid. 2,3
19      Dorothy Amor in person 11 May 1999
20      Oliver Chronicle and Osoyoos Observer Vol. XVII No. 51, Oct. 22, 1954
21      Ibid. 14
22      From the "High-Way" Sept. 1979
23      Oliver Chronicle Wed. April 1985
24      Ibid 2,3
25      Names found in a list Mrs. A. D. Hardie made. In D. Amor❜s possession 11 May 1999
26      1933-1995 List of Incumbents from Dorothy Amor 11 May 1999