Saturday, November 14, 2009

St. Catherine's Celebrates Centenary on November 22

St. Catherine of Alexandria Anglican Church will hold its centenary service at 10:30 AM on November 22. Bishop Michael Ingham will preside at the service to which federal, provincial, and local politicians and former members of the congregation have been invited.

St. Catherine’s Church opened at its first location (Dewdney Trunk Road near Burleigh) on November 28, 1909. John Smith, who would become Port Coquitlam’s first City Clerk, was one of the founders of the church. He kept a diary, which recorded the planning and construction of the first church building:

January 11 [1909]. In evening Church meeting re forming a Parish here.
July 12. Slashing church lot. Mr Govier here to dinner.
August 21. Working in garden in A.M. In aft: burned the church lot.
September 10. In aft: hauled lumber for the Church of England.
September 11. Finished hauling lumber for church.
October 4. Church meeting, re building fund, held here in evening.
October 7. Working on church all day.
October 26. Hauled sand, etc to church.
October 27. Hauled windows, etc. to church.
November 27. Very wet all day. Took chairs, etc. to church.
November 28. (Sunday). Very wet all day. River very high. All trains stopped from wash outs & the roads all round junction flooded. Mrs Pentreath & Miss Roberts here to sing at church opening. Bishop could not come, too wet.

The Coquitlam Star (May 8, 1912), which erroneously gives an opening date of 1910, provides a slightly more detailed description of the church’s first service:

“The service of dedication will long be remembered. Floods held up the train, the Bishop only arriving in time to return on the next and only train. Archdeacon Pentreath managed to get in, but too late for the service, which Mr. Govier conducted. None the less, the congregation rejoiced to have the church finished.”

Extracts from John Smith's diary are from "Very Fine" The Diaries of John Smith, transcribed by Philip A. Jones (October 2006) and from the original hand-written Diary 7 (May 1, 1907—April 10, 1910) from the Special Collections Division of the University of British Columbia Library.

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