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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Lamb

Cornerstone of First Anglican Church in Kamloops Laid with Grand Religious and Masonic Ceremony

After a small groundbreaking event a week earlier, the Church of England and Masonic Lodge in Kamloops held a grand ceremony at their Main Street site (West Victoria Street) to dedicate and lay the cornerstone of the first Anglican Church in Kamloops.

The event happened on Thursday, May 24, 1888. That Saturday, the regional newspaper, The Inland Sentinel, published a large and incredibly detailed article describing the ceremony. Right Reverend Acton W. Sillitoe, the Lord Bishop of New Westminster, travelled to Kamloops to oversee the ceremony, alongside Grand Master E C Newfelder of the Masons.

In the article, you'll see the Anglican ceremony occur first, followed by the Masonic ceremony and laying of the cornerstone.

To read the article in its digitally archived newspaper, visit the newspaper archives of the Thompson Nicola Regional Library. Otherwise, read on here.

The Inland Sentinel

Saturday, May 26, 1888


The Corner Stone Laid on the Queen’s Birthday With Masonic Ceremonies

By the Right Reverend, Lord Bishop of New Westminster.

Assisted by the W.M. Officers and Brethren of Kamloops Lodge

Thursday last, the Queen’s birthday, was celebrated in Kamloops by an event of unusual interest from the ordinary programme in other towns and cities, and of peculiar importance to the members of the Church of England in this place and vicinity.

As announced in the last issue, preparations for the erection of a handsome new edifice by the members of the English Church were being arranged, and the corner stone was laid with the beautiful and imposing religious services and masonic ceremonies, by the Right Rev. A. W. Sillitoe, Lord Bishop of New Westminster and Grand Chaplain, A. F. & A. M. assisted by the Very Worshipfuls Dr. Clarke and Canon Cooper, Worshipfuls Grahame, McGregor and Bannerman, and the officers and member of Kamloops lodge.

The religious services opened with the celebration of Holy Communion in the old church at 8a.m., by the Lord Bishop. About 11.30 the Masonic brethren left the Lodge Room, clothed in proper regalia, and marched up Victoria street to the new site, the following order being represented:—

Tyler with drawn Sword;

Stewards with White Rods;

Master Masons;

Past Masters;

Masters of the Lodges;

Grand Tyler with Drawn Sword;

Grand Stewards with White Rods;

A Past Master with a Golden Vessel containing Corn;

Principal Architect with Square, Level and Plumb;

Two Past Masters with Silver Vessels, one containing Wine and the other Oil;

Grand Secretary and Treasurer;

One Large Light, borne by a Past Master;

The Holy Bible, Square and Compasses, borne by a Master Supported by two Stewards on the right and left;

Two large lights, borne by two Past Masters;

Grand Chaplain;


Grand Wardens;

Deputy Grand Master;

Grand Deacon with Black Rods; Grand Master.

At the entrance to the grounds, a few lots west of the Court House, on Victoria street, the procession passed under an arch, in reverse order, to the platform, when the respected officers had taken their places near the corner stone the following hymn was sung by the church choir:—

The Church’s one foundation

Is Jesus Christ her Lord,

She is His new creation

By water and by Word;

From Heaven he came and sought her,

To be His holy bride;

With His own blood He bought her,

And for her life he died.

Elect from every nation,

Yet one o’er all the earth,

Her charter of salvation

One Lord, one Faith, one Birth;

One holy name she blesses,

Partakes one holy food,

And to one hope she presses

With every grace endued.

Though with a scornful wonder

Men see her sore opprest,

By schisms rent asunder,

By heresies distrest,

Yet saints their watch are keeping,

Their cry goes up “How long?”

And soon the night of weeping

Shall be the morn of song.

‘Mid toil and tribulation,

And tumult of her war,

She waits the consummation

Of peace for evermore;

Till with the vision glorious

Her longing eyes are blest,

And the great Church victorious

Shall be the Church at rest.

Yet she on earth hath union

With God the three in one;

And mystic sweet communion

With those whose rest is won:

O happy ones and holy!

Lord give us grace that we

Like them, the meek and lowly,

On high may dwell with Thee. Amen.

The following voluntary and responses were then repeated by His Lordship and the congregation.

V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.

R. Who hath made heaven and earth.

C. O Lord, hear our prayer.

R. And let our cry come unto Thee.

V. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

R. For this time forth for evermore.


After singing Psalm LXXXIV, the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer was repeated by the congregation, when the Bishop said:—

O Almighty Lord God, Whom the heavens and earth cannot contain, yet Who disdainest not to dwell with Thy Church here on earth; Mercifully grant that all evil may depart from this place whereon we are about to lay the foundation of a house to the honour and praise of Thy most holy Name; through Jesys Christ our Lord, Who ever liveth and reigneth. Amen.

The Bishop then laid his hand on the corner stone, and after prayer, in which blessing on the church work and the people was entreated, the choir sang:—

O Lord of Hosts, Whose glory fills

The bounds of the eternal hills,

And yet vouchsafes in Christian lands,

To dwell in temples made with hands.

Grant that all we, who here to-day

Rejoicing this foundation lay,

May be in very deed Thine own,

Built on the previous Corner-stone.

Endue the creatures with Thy grace,

That shall adorn Thy dwelling place;

The beauty of the Oak and pine,

The gold and silver make them Thine.

To Thee they all pertain; to Thee

The treasures of the earth and sea;

And when we bring them to Thy throne

We but present Thee with Thine own.

The heads that guide endue with skill,

The hands that work preserve from ill,

That we, who these foundations lay,

May rise the topstone in its day.

Both now and ever, Lord, protect

The temple of Thine own elect;

Be Thou in them, and them in Thee,

O ever-blessed Trinity! Amen.

The following voluntary and responses were repeated:

V. Behold I lay in Zion’s chief corner-stone, elect, precious.

R. And he that believeth in Him shall not be confounded.

V. The stone which the builders refused.

R. Is become the head-stone of the corner.

V. This is the Lord’s doing.

R. And it is marvellous in our eyes.

V. Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid.

R. Which is Jesus Christ.

V. Praise ye the Lord.

R. The Lord’s name be praised.

The Bishop said:

Here let true faith, the fear of God, and brotherly love ever remain: this place consecrated to prayer and to the praise of the most holy Name of the same our Lord Jesus Christ. Who ever liveth, &c.

R. Amen.

The religious services closed with singing hymn 354 A. & M.


Bro. Secretary A. McGregor read the warrant of dispensation from Grand Master E. C. Newfelder, authorizing the ceremony and delegating the Lord Bishop, Grand Chaplain, to represent him. The remaining preparations for laying the stone were then completed, and a package containing a list of the officers of the lodge, a copy of the last issue of the INLAND SENTINEL, other provincial newspapers of recent date, and several coins, was placed in a cavity in the stone, which was carefully lowered into position, the brethren present giving the grand public honors, taking time from the Director of Ceremonies, Bro. J Bannerman.

The architect, Bro. J. P. Burnyeat, presented the working tools to the acting Grand Master, who handed the Square to Deputy Grand Master Clarke, the Level to Bro. Senior Warden Ridley, and the Plumb to Junior Warden Tunstad; when the following questions and answers were given:—

G.M.—Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master, what is the proper jewel of your office?

D.G.M.—The Square, M. Worshipful.

G.M.—What are its moral and Masonic uses?

D.G.M.—To square our actions by the square of virtue and prove our work.

G.M.—Apply the implement of your office to that portion of the foundation stone that needs to be proved, and make report.

The D.G.M. applied the instrument and replied; Most Worshipful, I find the stone to be square. The craftsmen have performed their duty.

The G.M. then asked: Right Worshipful Senior Grand Warden, what is the jewel of your office?

S.G.W.—The Level, M. Worshipful.

G.M.—What is its Masonic use?

S.G.W.—Morally it reminds us of equality, and its use is to lay horizontals.

At the request of the G.M. the warden applied the level to the stone and announced that he found the latter level, the craftsmen having performed their duty.

The R.W. Junior Grand Warden was asked what was the proper jewel of his office and on replying that it was a Plumb, was requested to state its Masonic use. He replied that morally it taught rectitude of conduct and was used to try perpendiculars. The instrument was applied and the warden announced that the stone was plumb and the craftsmen had performed their duty.

The Grand Master then said; This corner stone has been tested by the proper implements of Masonry. I find that the craftsmen have skillfully and faithfully performed their duty, and I do declare the stone to be well formed, true and trusty, and correctly laid according to the rules of our ancient craft. Let the elements of consecration be now presented.

The D.G.M. handed the G.M. a vessel of corn, who poured it on the stone and said: “I scatter this corn as an emblem of plenty. May the blessings of heaven be showered upon us, and upon all like undertakings, and inspire the hearts of the people with virtue, wisdom and gratitude.”

The brethren responded, “So mote it be.”

The S.G.W. presented the vessel of wine, which the G.M. poured upon the stone and said;

“I pour this wine as an emblem of joy and gladness. May the Great Ruler of the Universe bless and prosper our national, provincial and municipal governments, and may we all be united by a bond of friendship and brotherly love, that shall endure through all time.

The J.G.W. presented the vessel of oil, which was also poured over the stone by the G.M., who said:

“I pour this oil as an emblem of peace. May the blessing of peace abide with us continually, and may the Grand Master of heaven and earth shelter and protect the widow and orphan; shield and defend them from the trials and vicissitudes of the world, and so bestow his mercy upon the bereaved, the afflicted and the sorrowing, that they may know sorrowing and trouble no more.”

The G.M. then made the following invocation, with extended bands: “May the all bounteous Author of nature bless the inhabitants of this place with an abundance of the necessaries, comforts and conveniences of life; assist in the erection and completion of this building; protect the workmen against any accident; long preserve the structure from decay; and grant to us all a supply of the corn of nourishment; the wine of refreshment, and the oil of joy. Amen.

The brethren responded to each remark with the customary words, “So mote it be.”

The G.M. struck the stone three times with the gavel and the public grand honors were given.

The G.M. then delivered to the Architect the implements of Masonry, saying: Brother Architect, having thus as Grand Master of Masons, laid the foundation stone of this structure, I now deliver these implements into your hands, intrusting you with the superintendence and direction of the work, having full confidence in your skill and capacity to construct the same.

A plate was then laid on the stone and contributions made by the brethren and others present, realizing a handsome sum.

The ceremony concluded with a short address from the G.M. expressive of the principles of the order, and with music by the choir. The procession re-formed and marched to Lodge where the brethren were dismissed.

Explore the "From News Archives" blog category for more old newspaper articles about the history of churches in Kamloops.

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