Rev. Wilber James, retired minister, left, and Keith McGregor invite all to attend the 125th anniversary of the laying of St. Andrew’s United Church’s corner stone on July 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

St. Andrew’s United Church celebrates 125th anniversary

Church on Fitzwilliam Street in Nanaimo to hold event July 18 to recognize milestone

St. Andrew’s United Church in Nanaimo will celebrate its quasquicentennial in a few days.

Rev. Wilber James, a retired minister, said Wednesday, July 18, represents the 125th anniversary of when the corner stone for the church in the Old City Quarter was laid – July 18, 1893.

Subsequently, the church was built, connected to the old church, the current hall, according to James. The first service, for Christmas Eve, took place before the church was finished, estimated at around 1895.

The church has undergone extensive renovations over the years, including re-painting and more notably, stained-glass window replacement, with only two originals still in place, one in the church and another in the hall.

“These were blown out in about [1913] … it was in the explosion of the Oscar in the harbour, which was the dynamite boat,” said James.

In addition to services, the church serves the community in other ways, for example with a coffee hour that fills up the hall on Wednesday mornings. The church also hosts musical events, including from the Malaspina Choir.

“It’s a fabulous place to perform…” said Keith McGregor, choir member and parishioner. “The acoustics are phenomenal and we’re singing in a church that’s 125 years old. It’s a great experience.”

The celebration takes place between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tours of the church will take place until 1 p.m. and from 1 to 2 p.m. there will be a slideshow.

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