Our Church

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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.

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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

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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.

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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.

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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]

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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

Footnotes

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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