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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Lamb

Parish History of St. Paul’s Church, Kamloops, Written in 1924

Updated: Apr 16

In the same October 1924 newspaper as the article about the cornerstone ceremony of St. Paul’s Anglican Church, a parish history was published, compiled and added to by Reverend John Leigh. I’ll share a few explanatory points here, then you can find Rev. Leigh’s article below!

Rev John Leigh was the pastor of the Anglican Church in Kamloops in 1924. It seems that, in preparation for the exciting cornerstone laying ceremony, he had taken a 1912 version of the history of the parish, written it out, added to it so that it contained information up to 1924, then submitted it to The Kamloops Sentinel. A copy of the article is also contained within the cornerstone of St Paul’s Church — now St Paul’s Cathedral.

A few names are mentioned at the start of the history:

Rev H. S. Akehurst. This was likely the pastor of the Anglican Church from 1901 to 1915. In 1912, he compiled a history of the parish up to that point from two sources — the parish register and a book called “Memoir of Acton Windeyer Sillitoe”.

Bishop Acton Windeyer Sillitoe. After over a decade of service to the Church of England, in England, he immigrated to British Columbia and became the first Bishop of New Westminster, consecrated around 1880. It seems that he regularly visited locations throughout BC to build up the Anglican Church (which seems to be what was recounted in the book mentioned above). His visits are mentioned in records throughout BC from the time. His first visit to Kamloops occurred in 1880.

The article below can be found in the TNRL’s newspaper archives. You can also read it here! Enjoy.

The Kamloops Sentinel

Friday, October 17, 1924

Parish History of St. Paul’s Church

Following is the parish history of St. Paul’s church, Kamloops, compiled by the Rev H. S. Akehurst, July 1912, largely from the old registers and from the Rev H. H. Hower’s “Memoir of Acton Windeyer Sillitoe,” and written in the parish register and copied therefrom by the Rev. John Leigh with additions thereton, October 1924, deposited in the cornerstone on Wednesday last:

1880—The Right Rev. A. W. Sillitoe, first bishop of New Westminster, in the first year of his consecration, visited Kamloops on Thursday, Sept. 29, 1880. Friday and Saturday were spent in travelling to and from Grand Prairie. On Sunday, October 2, the Kamloops courthouse was used as a church and in the evening was filled to overflowing.

1881—Kamloops was again visited in October 1881, this time from Nicola, and the bishop held a confirmation in the courthouse on the 19th, the Rev J B. Good having come on in advance to prepare the candidates. The next day a meeting of churchmen was held at which the bishop announced that a lady was coming out from England to undertake school work in the district. From Kamloops the bishop went on to Cache Creek.

1883—The bishop again visited about July or August on his way to Spallumcheen and the Okanagan country by way of Grand Prairie. The journey, of which this was a part, lasted exactly four months and covered a distance of [1682] miles.

1884—This year was marked by the inauguration of a mission in the Kamloops and Spallumcheen district. The Rev. D. H. W. Horlock was removed from Yale to take charge of the new mission with headquarters at Kamloops. The mission extended from Clinton on the north to Okanagan on the south and from Ashcroft on the west to Donaldson on the east including even the Kootenay country from the time it began to be settled until it was organized into a separate mission with Nelson as its centre in 1898. The following names of places occur in the old registers in addition to that of Kamloops: Okanagan, Similkameen, Nicola Lake, Donald, Beaver, Granite Creek, Enderby, Spallumcheen, Pavilion, Mt. Rogers Pass, Albert Canyon, Revelstoke, Grand Prairie, Spence’s Bridge, Nelson, Ainsworth, Galena Bay, Clinton, Moberly, Illecillewaet, Golden, Windermere, Vernon, Shuswap, Ducks, and Savona.

The first marriage registered is that of Prive Ellison, now (1912) a member of the provincial cabinet.

A temporary church was erected in Kamloops and the first services in it was conducted by the bishop, Sept 7 1884. Two weeks later Mr. Horlock [entered with the permanent] duties of the mission and was shortly after joined by the Rev. A. Shildrick, transferred from Maple Ridge.

1885—Another visit was paid to Kamloops by the bishop in May, whence he left to visit the new town of Farwell, better known as Revelstoke. A second visit this year was in October.

1886—Saturday, April 3, two persons were confirmed in the church. Sunday, April 4, the bishop preached and celebrated in Kamloops in the morning and thence going by handcar held service and preached in the evening at Savona.

1887—A confirmation was held in Kamloops on the bishop’s way home from England where he attended the Queen Victoria’s jubilee service. A conference of clergy was held on the Wednesday, October (?), and in the evening a parish conversazione at which an address of welcome was presented to the bishop.

1888—A new church (the present one 1912) was erected and opened for service on Sunday Feb. 24, being dedicated in the name of St. Paul. A confirmation was held on the following Wednesday. (It is a question how to reconcile this statement with the fact that the cornerstone of the church was laid with Masonic ceremony on May 24, 1888, as witness the form of services used on that date, deposited herewith , which form of service we intend to use on the 15th October 1924, next week)

The last entry in the registers signed by the Rev. D. H. W. Horlock is that of a marriage on

May 3, 1887. Entries made by Rev. A. Shildrick occur from 1884 to March 1894. Entries made by Rev. H. Irwin (Father Pat) from 1886 to July 1889. Others who served for longer or shorter periods up to the end of the Rev. A Shildrick’s incumbency were Canon W. N. Cooper, Archdeacon F. E. Wright, Rev. Stuart C. Scholefield, Rev. J. C. C. Kemon and the Rev. James Cheal.

1894—The Rev. A. Shildrick was appointed rector of Holy Trinity Cathedral, New Westminster, and was succeeded in May 1894 by the Rev. E. P. Flewelling. By this time the original mission district had been carved up into many smaller ones and during the whole of Mr. Flewelling’s incumbency there was no assistant priest. During his incumbency, the present rectory was built. (This rectory was sold during the Great War but as full payment was not received it was taken back on a bill of sale and resold in 1922)

Mr. Flewelling resigned the incumbency in August 1901.

1897—St. Paul’s church consecrated March 13 at 10 a.m. by Bishop Dart assisted by Archdeacon Small and Rev. E. P. Flewelling. The following day, March 14, there was an ordination.

1901—The Rev. H. S. Akehurst was appointed the first rector of Kamloops in November 1901. During his incumbency the mission district has been further curtailed by the appointment of resident clergy at Nicola, Salmon Arm and Ducks. The two last named districts, in spite of their being in Kootenay diocese, having been ministered to by the rector of Kamloops for some years. In the present year (1912) though from time to time so undivided still covers an area of fully 6,000 square miles from Deadman Creek on the west to the east boundary of New Westminster diocese, and from Stump Lake and the line of the railway belt on the south to the north boundary of the diocese.

The present church accommodation was enlarged in 1907 by the addition of the schoolroom. The present excellent organ was installed in 1906. Mrs. H. G. Cornwall at Easter 1909 presented the pulpit. The parish branch of the W. A. installed the pews in 1910, the present lighting system in 1911 and gave the pews carpeting, kneelers, and sanctuary mats in 1912.

For a few months in 1908 the rector was assisted by the Rev. W. R. Livingstone and from September 1910 to September 1911 by the Rev. A. E. Daviss

1912—In May, Mr. A. A. Taylor joined the staff as paid lay-reader, and in June it was further strengthened by the coming of the Rev. Field Yolland as assistant priest; the rector and assistant sharing the town work and all three taking part in the outside work which now includes North Kamloops, Tranquille Sanitarium, Savona, Edith Lake, Long Lake, Beresford, Rosehill, Campbell Creek, Heffley Creek, Louis Creek, Barriere River, Chu Chua, Blackpool, Raft River, Galena Creek, Vavenby, Clearwater Crossing, Little Fork, Black Pines. In July 1912 the first stained window in St. Paul’s church was dedicated in memory of Arthur Q. Pemberton, Alice Mara, and Harry and Dalton Marpele, all sometime worshippers in S. Paul’s church, the necessary funds having been obtained through the efforts of Mrs. Wentworth Wood. This east window consists of three panels representing faith, hope and charity. Other gifts lately received are a white dossal from Miss M. Corbett; another white dossal from Mrs. E. T. W. Pearse; kneelers and mats for the pews and a set of handsome bound service books, the gift of S. Paul’s W. A.; a set of red book markers, the gift of Miss Maude Woolsey.

Communicants in S. Paul’s church on Easter Day of the following years: 1897, 46; 1898, 63; 1899, 67; 1900, 71; 1901, 72; 1902, 69, 1903, 70; 1904, 50; 1905, 71; 1906, 80; 1907, 73; 1908, 96; 1909, 122; 1910, 97; 1911, 130; 1912, 140; 1913, 150; 1914, [?], 1915, [?].

A surpliced choir was organized in November 1912 with about 30 members, and to provide room, a portion of the old vestry was opened into the church, for organ chamber.

Bishop Dart, second bishop of New Westminster, besides consecrating the church in 1897 held confirmation herein on April 3, 1898; March 31, 1901; June 8, 1902; December 23, 1903; March 23, 1905; June 4, 1906; June 9, 1907; June 6, 1909.

1913—The Rev. Field Yolland resigned as assistant priest at Kamloops and left for Golden at Easter. On April 13 the Rev. R. B.Croydale arrived and immediately entered upon the duties of assistant, though not formally appointed until the end of the month. On the first Sunday in July the rector dedicated a polished brass lectern, the gift to S. Paul’s church of Mrs. Penzer in loving memory of her husband, Alfred Penzer, for many years a regular worshipper therein, and for a number of years a lay delegate to synod from this parish. The Rev. R. B. Croydale resigned September 22 and was succeeded on November 16 temporarily by Rev. H. Edmonds, vicar of S. Albans, Rochdale, England, who remained until Easter, 1914.

1914—The rector having obtained two months’ leave of absence spent two month in England, returning at the beginning of Lent. During the Easter festival the rector dedicated brass altar ornaments (cross, two pairs of vases, desk and alms dish) together with credence cruets and paten, all gift of Mrs. Stobart of Wallingfork, Berks, England. In the summer of this year the Rev. F. W. Wheeler was licensed by the bishop as assistant priest in the mission district and shortly afterwards took up his residence at Barriere, giving most of his time to the work along the North Thompson River. On Oct. 28, 1914, the first synod of the newly formed diocese of Cariboo was held at St. Alban’s church, Ashcroft; the rector and three lay delegates from Kamloops (A. A. Taylor, E. H. Grubbe and E. Walkley) were among those present. Kamloops appointed a deanery — The autumn of this year was marked by the building of the first daughter church in the district, viz., St. Peter’s church, Goose Lake, which was first used for service on Christmas Day, conducted by lay-reader A. A. Taylor.

1915—The church was dedicated by the rector on the festival of the Epiphany, there being 12 communicants at holy communion.

At Easter, 1915, the Rev. H. S. Akehurst announced his resignation of the city parish of S. Paul retaining charge of the mission district, to accept the position of organizing missionary at the bishop’s request, resignation to take effect June 30.

The Rev. J. Wiseman, vicar of Agassiz, BC, was appointed rector of St. Paul’s to take effect from July 1, 1915. He arrived in Kamloops for Sunday, August 20.

1918—The Rev. J. Wiseman was away for a time with the Canadian troops but so far as can be gathered he did not leave Canada. While he was away, thus acting as chaplain, the Rev. Christopher Reed was in charge of S. Paul’s [as Incum ?]. On Wiseman returning to Kamloops, Reed took work in the province of Quebec, so it is said, certainly in eastern Canada. Eventually on Wiseman resigning Kamloops, Reed was communicated with and asked to come and take charge. The last entry in the handwriting of Wiseman is apparently Oct. 16 1918, the entry of a baptism by him.

1922—The Rev. Christopher Reed was in charge of the parish until March 1, 1922, when the present rector and writer hereof, the Rev. John Leigh, was suggested to the church committee by Bishop dePencier, Bishop of New Westminster and Cariboo. The suggestion was agreeable to the committee and I was elected and duly appointed by the bishop. I arrived in Kamloops March 9, 1922. Now has come the time for the removal of the church from where it has stood since 1888 to at the corner of Nicola Street and Fourth Avenue. It has entailed much talk, for it has been on the board since at least 1913; finally the time has arrived to do something. As I write this the work of removal, reconstruction and enlargement is proceeding. The work is being supervised by Mr. E. C. Thrupp at the nominal figure of 2½ per cent of the total cost which the committee stipulates shall not exceed $10,000.00. Mr. Thrupp’s time and labor is really a [?] valuable contribution. His plans, or a copy thereof, is to be deposited herewith. The cornerstone is to be laid next Wednesday,October 14. We are to hold [...?] of St. George’s school, Lytton, the Rev. H. S. Akehurst, Rev. James Thompson of Merritt, Rev. George Stewart of Monte Creek, Rev L. A. Morant of Salmon Arm cannot be a church service on the grounds commencing at 2:45p.m., followed by the laying of the stone by the Masons, Grand Master Stephen Jones and his Grand Lodge officers being present for the purpose. Our bishop is also to be present as bishop and also as grand chaplain. The following clergy have already signified their intention of being present: The Rev. A. G. Reeves of Ashcroft, the Rec. A. Leff with us and Rec. M. K. West of Sorrento has not replied so far. I have invited mayor and council and hospital staff, while the Masons have invited Golden, Revelstoke, Arrowhead, Field, Salmon Arm, Vernon, Kelowna, Ashcroft.

I have also invited the members of the Kamloops School Board, the Rev. H. R. McGill of the local Presbyterian church, the Rev W. R. Lee of the Methodist church, and the Rev. J. R. Rowell of the Baptist church. Among our own clergy invited I have omitted to mention the Ven. Archdeacon Pugh of Lytton; at present I do not know whether he will be with us or not.

Click here for more Kamloops faith history from the news archives.

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