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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Lamb

Opening Day of St. Andrew's on the Square in Kamloops, 1888

The year 1888 started off with the opening of the church we know today as St. Andrew's on the Square. On Sunday, January 1st of that year, the Presbyterians in Kamloops opened their new building and held a dedicatory service.

For that event, 3 Presbyterian ministers spoke. Reverend George Murray travelled from Nicola to speak in the morning, Reverend J Wood came from Clinton to speak in the afternoon, and the local pastor, Reverend John Chisholm, spoke in the evening.

The next evening, to celebrate the opening of the new church, the Presbyterian congregation enterained Kamloops with the biggest social event ever held in Kamloops up to that time. The ladies served dinner, then a programme of speeches and singing went on into the evening.

Both events were reported in the newspaper, The Inland Sentinel, a few days later. The Sentinel published two consecutive articles on the first page of their January 7th issue: one about the Dedicatory Services on Sunday, the next about the social event on Monday.

Thanks to the newspaper archives at the Thompson Nicola Regional Library, both of these articles have been preseved! You can find them there, or both articles can be read below! Enjoy.

The Inland Sentinel

Saturday, Jan. 7, 1888


Of the New Presbyterian Church on New Years Day.

The Dedicatory Services Conducted by Revs. Murray, Wood and Chisholm

An event which has been eagerly looked forward to by the Presbyterians of the community was consummated on Sunday, New Year’s Day, in the opening and dedication of the new Presbyterian Church. The building though not completed presents a most ecclesiastical and handsome appearance both outside and inside. It stands an ornament to the town and a monument to the energy of the pastor, Rev. Mr. Chisholm; the ability of the architect, Mr. Lee, and the skill of the builders, Messrs. Hill Bros.


The first service held in the new church, in the morning at 11 o’clock, was well attended. Rev. George Murray, of Nicola, occupied the pulpit and conducted the services, which were opened with the singing of the 100th Psalm, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow, etc.”

After reading from the 6th chapter of 2nd Chronicles and the 7th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, the reverend gentleman offered prayer dedicating the building to the worship of God, and invoked the divine blessing upon those who assembled there to worship. He then delivered an able and eloquent sermon, basing his remarks upon the 17th, 18th and 19th verses of the 6th chapter of 2nd Chronicles. The words of the text, he said, were uttered by the wise Solomon, dedicating to the Lord the temple built by him, with all the glory and grandeur it led him to exclaim, “But will God in very deed dwell with men? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee, how much less this house, which I have built!” The Presbyterians of this community had just erected a temple for the worship of the Lord, and it became them well to consider the Being worshiped, the worshiper and the place of worship. Like Solomon, the people of to-day would be constrained to ask would the God who makes the heavens His throne and the earth His footstool, condescend to take up his abode with man. The Lord was as gracious as he was fearful, and filled space with his presence, yet he had specially promised to be present with his people where they met together in his name.

God was a spirit and he must be worshiped in spirit and in truth. He required the consecration of all who worshiped him. God not only inhabited the churches, but also dwelt in the hearts of his people.

In the old dispensation, any place was not considered good enough to worship God in, and the scriptures plainly taught that Christians should not disregard that which those with less light regarded so much. The Church was the especial abode of God. He had chosen it as his tabernacle and he said, "here will I dwell for I have desired it." It is none other than the house of God, the Gate of Heaven. Here, God the Father was present to accept the worship and bestow his grace. Here the Saviour waited and received; and the Holy Spirit prepared the heart for the reception of the gospel. The reverend gentleman referred to the beautiful design and attractive appearance of the church, but these he pointed out would not be sufficient. They must have Christ in and for them, attend the guiding of the spirit and follow the lead of their master.


Rev. J. Wood, of Clinton, conducted the afternoon services, delivering an interesting and impressive sermon, taking as his text the 31st verse of the 2nd chapter of 2nd Samuel.

"As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried; he is a buckler to them that trust in him."

The following is a short synopsis. It was said the present age was one of scepticism. It was an age of research and examination; but not one of sceptical advance. The strongest testimony and undeniable proofs were given of the inspiration of the bible, both old and new testament; and further research only brought forth many further evidences. The miracles recorded in the bible, were only further proof of the divinity of God and the origin of the bible. They were God's unusual plan of working and he had a right to work as he liked. They were no more wonderful than the laws of nature, which were God's usual plan of working. God's prophesies were proof of the divine origin of the bible. God made prophesies and kept them, and evidences of their fulfillment were apparent to the most unobserving. The advancement of science, too, revealed by a dimmer light the truths revealed by the bible. The reverend speaker declared that ignorance was the chief reason why men did not accept the word of god. Men should take it and examine it for themselves, and those who know the word should be most zealous in imparting their knowledge to others. The testimonies of thousands must be accepted. In conclusion he exhorted his hearers to cling to that word in which was their hope and salvation.


In the evening the church was crowded when Reverend Mr. Chisholm, pastor of the church, occupied the pulpit, from which he delivered a powerful and eloquent sermon, appropriate to the occasion. He based his remarks upon the 4th to the 8th verses of the 44th chapter of Joshua, taking as his text the words, "what mean ye by these stones?" He pointed out the position of the Children of Israel, who, led by the great Joshua, were about to take possession of the Promised Land. They came to the banks of the mighty Jordan. To cross the river seemed impossible, but as soon as the priests' feet touched the waters they subsided, and the people passed over dry shod. Joshua, wishing to commemorate the event raised a monument of stones. The new church was not built of stones, but of a material almost as valuable in this land. He proposed to change the question to "what mean ye by this building?". It represented energy, money, and labor, and if it were for nothing then it should not exist. This building means that the human family needs the gospel that is to be preached in it. There was a desire that could not be satisfied, a hungering of the mind that could not be satiated by anything but the gospel. Man could not be satisfied with matter. The soul sighed for the supernatural. There was nothing without its complement, and man required something to complete him. The builders of the church had faith in the gospel to supply that want, it was the only thing that would supply the want of men's souls. The gospel was the bread of life for the hungry and the water of life for the thirsty soul.

In the old dispensation the presence of the Lord was manifested in the Schekinah. It was a type of that which should follow. The altar was only a semblance of the greater altar on Calvary. Instead of bloody sacrifices, those of a broken spirit and a contrite heart had to be offered, awakened by the fire of the Holy Spirit. Unless the gospel were accepted it would do no good to those who attended the church.

The church was erected because the Christians believed in the aggressive or missionary power of the Christian church, and there was reason to be proud of the wonderful progress it had made, since the time when a few obscure men began to preach Christ. The erection of the church showed faith in their distinct organization being in harmony with the gospel. The denominations that would worship in it believed in a cosmopolitan christianity. They wanted a church of the people, government by the people for the people, which the Presbyterian body aimed at in their church management, and which was also adopted recently by the Methodists. The first principle of Presbyterianism is the rights of the people. In whom does church power rest, in the people or in the clergy? When you settle this question you decide the question of the civil liberty of the nations. If you decide that the power rests in the clergy, then you establish a principle which by inevitable analogy associates itself with the principle that the civil power rests in kings and nobles. The people need not be ashamed of joining with them, in one distinct organization, rising above sects and narrowness. It was the intention of the people of the church to join Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, and Congregationalists in one great union for the one common good, and to rejoice together in spiritual and social prosperity. The pulpit would be occupied every other Sunday by Rev. Mr. Turner, and should a Baptist or a Congregationalist minister come to town, he would be given the use of the pulpit as often as circumstances would admit. They should all in common worship one common God.

The choir, under the leadership of Mr P.S. Renier, gave valuable assistance during the service in leading the singing, also in contributing several appropriate anthems.

Large collections were taken up at the conclusion of each service in aid of the building fund.


In the New Presbyterian Church on Monday Night

A social entertainment was held in the New Presbyterian church on Monday night last, to celebrate the opening of the church for public worship. It was successful in every particular, and eclipsed anything of the kind ever held in Kamloops before. A splendid supper, provided in abundance by the ladies of the congregation, was served at seven o'clock. There were upward of one hundred and fifty persons present who consumed the good things provided with an avidity characteristic of such events. When the refreshment part of the programme had been tested and tried, and found to be good, and had been dealt with as good things deserve to be, a slight cessation occurred, when Mr McIntosh took possession of the chair. Mr. McIntosh preluded the programme with a neat little speech in which he expressed the pleasure it gave him to fill the position he did, and to see around him the grand outcome of the untiring efforts of "our worthy pastor," Mr Chisholm. He then called on Miss McLean and Miss McQueen and Messrs. Carpenter and Reid, of Nicola, who contributed the pretty quarter "Row Boatman, Row" in good style. They also delighted their hearers with several other selections during the evening. Rev. Mr. Chisholm was next called upon. In the course of a happy address he laid before his hearers a statement of the finances of the church. He said the actual cost of the building when furnished, exclusive of the site would be $5,000, of this amount $3,128 had already been paid, while subscriptions yet to be collected, amounted to $1,500. A very creditable showing, indeed. He also took the opportunity of publicly thanking all who had assisted him in the work of erecting the church, both with money and sympathy. Mrs. Clyde, recognized as a star in singing circles since her first appearance in town, charmed the audience with a very pretty solo given in her most pleasing voice. She was loudly encored and gracefully responded.

Rev. Messrs. Wood and Turner both gave admirable and appropriate addresses, offering congratulations to Rev. Mr. Chisholm, to the congregation, and to the architect and builders; also giving seasonable advice with regard to church work. Miss McLean and Miss McQueen, sang a very pretty duet, and were followed by Mr. Reid who gave an admirable recitation. Mr. P.S. Renier, gave a capital solo in fine voice, when the meeting was bright to a close by the singing of "Auld Lang Syne." Mrs. Clyde and Miss McLean performed the duties of accompanists during the evening. Upward of $100 was realized.

Click to explore more old Kamloops newspaper articles from the TNRL archives shared here on our blog.

Or, learn more of the history of St. Andrew's on the Square.

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