Our Church


his is a history of Saint Edward the Confessor Anglican Church in Fairview and Oliver❟ in Bri­tish Co­lum­bia❟ Canada. This history was prepared and edited by Alma A. Upsdell, in May 1999 and Nov. 2003; numbers in square brackets denote footnotes.


ishop Dart of New Westminster founded the Mission of Saint 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❟ Our Church even in an emp­ty bar room. The church in Fair­view was built in 1898 [1] in Father Pat❜s time. [23] The Mission of Saint Ed­ward the Confessor gra­du­al­ly di­mi­nished as Fair­view❜s fortunes fad­ed: the few re­main­ing fa­mi­lies were served by Canon Thomp­son❟ who visited the 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 Saint Edward The Confessor. [6] Some of the lay people were J. R. Brown and Richard H. Parkinson. [7]


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]


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


Saints Edward and George rom 1933–35❟ Rev. WS Beames of Pen­tic­ton drove to Oli­ver once a month to hold services in the old school­house and in Griffin Hall (now part of the Mad Mer­chant on the corner of Highway 97 and 356th Avenue). By 1934❟ in­spir­ed by Rev. Beames❟ plans got off the ground for con­struc­ting 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 17th❟ 1935. [11]


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 Saint Edward the Confessor❞ instead of ❝Oliver Anglican Church❞❟ forty years after the Fair­view Mis­sion of Saint Edward was es­ta­blished. [12]


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]


John 20:17 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 12th❟ 1949❟ the eve of Saint 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 Saint Edward the Con­fessor. This gave a real stimulus to the work: dona­tions came from near and far. Work began 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]


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❟ with a 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.❞ The bells were dedicated October 13th 1952❟ Thanksgiving Day — Saint 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]


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


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]


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


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


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.


ver the years the number of parishioners has waxed and waned. We continually benefit from the Church Interiorex­perience and ma­tu­ri­ty of retired folk who come to join the ranks of Saint Edward❜s from other pa­ri­shes. And❟ of course❟ we warmly wel­come the 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 Saint Edward❜s. [24]


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



his lists footnotes to the information presented above.

[1]      Notes found by Dorothy Amor May 13th 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 May 25th 1953
[6]      From ❝High-Way❞ Anglican paper Feb 1st 1953❟ Quarterly❟ Diocese of Kootenay Vol. 2❟ No. 2❟Mar 1st 1958
[7]      Dorothy Amor in a phone call May 13th 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 May 18th 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 8th❟ 1952
[18]      Ibid. 2❟3
[19]      Dorothy Amor in person May 11th 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 May 11th 1999
[26]      1933-1995 List of Incumbents from Dorothy Amor May 11th 1999