Anglican Church of Canada
Christ Church has a Rich History
Christ Church is a one-story stone church with gable roof and Gothic stained glass windows. The church was built in 1865, the Rectory in 1879. In 1894 new transepts and a chancel were added. The original pipe organ was installed in 1895. (a replacement was built in 1964 in memory of parishioners who died in the two World Wars).
The two church hall (Crysler Room & Memorial Hall) were constructed in 1910, and have undergone various "facelifts" over the years.
Christ Church is the only church in Niagara Falls to have a full ten-bell carillon. It was installed in the tower in 1912. All the bells have names: Love, Faith, Hope, Charity, Truth, Temperance, Devotion, Long Suffering, and Peace. A new tower was built in 1935 on the southwest wall and the bells were re-hung in it. The old tower, which had been on the south wall, was torn down and replaced by a baptistery which in 1954 became what is now our Narthex.
During the 1950's construction was done underneath the church, creating various rooms and a tunnel connecting the church to the halls. The rector's office, secretary's office and Altar Guild Sacristy were also added in the 1950's, along with a second story room named the MacDonald Room (which was beautifully renovated in 2000)
Many renovations have occurred over the years, both inside and outside of the church, including making the church and hall wheelchair accessible. the park-like land south of the church (known as "The Point") was donated to the church in 1873. To commemorate our 140th anniversary and the "Year of the Vet". a Memorial Garden was created on the Point, adding even more to the beauty of Christ Church.
Our Coat of Arms
The Christ Church Coat of Arms is depicted at the top right of each web page. An official petition was made to Robert Watt, Esq., Chief Herald of Canada at Rideau Hall, Ottawa to grant that "the parish be granted armorial bearing by the Canadian Crown under the powers held by Her Excellency, The Governor General". This petition was granted and our Coat of Arms arrived in late December of 2006. The motto "As the sound of many waters" comes from the biblical book of Revelation and also refers to the sound of nearby Niagara Falls. The water of the river is represented by the blue wavy lines. The symbol in the middle is comprised of the first two Greek letters for "Christ" and the crown on the top represents the visit made by the then Princess Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth II. The flowers in the crown represent the floral industry of the area. Also included are a flag design and a badge design.
Below is our History Book compiled by Verna Reid.
Please read through it and if you have any comments, additions, deletions or suggestions, please contact the church office.
For editorial purposes and space constraint, the pictures have been edited out. They will appear in the final version.
Christ Church History Book
Compiled by Verna Reid
The beautiful old building on Zimmerman Avenue has seen many changes in its 140 years of existence. When it was originally erected in 1865, the railway was an exciting newcomer replacing the steamships as a means of getting to the Niagara area. Many in the congregation strolled to church services on a Sunday morning. Pollution was an unknown word, and the trees surrounding the church were new and fresh. Today that stately edifice offers a very distinguished and impressive link with the past.
Although the church has survived, the congregation has fluctuated, swelling at times, diminishing at others. The dress code has also fluctuated according to the current fashion. Once, no one went to church without a formal outfit. The women wore hats and the men were careful to wear a tie. Today’s churchgoers have a more relaxed dress code. Hats (thankfully) have been tossed aside and sport shirts and sweaters are more often the order of the day, especially in summer. Despite these changes, the dedication that created a vibrant, active church when the cornerstone was laid remains to this day.
Several histories in booklet and pamphlet form have recorded the course of Christ Church, the most recent in 1990 by Mary Stewart and Rick Brady. In honour of the 140 years of service, here is a short history of the church, the people, the organizations and a smattering of the events that helped to make Christ Church the magnet it is today, drawing men, women and children into its fold. So many who have helped build and maintain this beautiful building and parish have passed on. So many have worked long and hard without recognition, and in a brief history such as this, it is impossible to name them all. But you know who you are. Perhaps the greatest satisfaction derived from the time, energy and hours donated is the knowledge you are doing God’s work, and that is reward enough.
Special thanks are due to Shirley and Robert Lamb, Jean Giddens, Enid Jones, and others who resurrected dusty files and helped dig out facts and figures. They all joined me on this journey down memory lane, and I was truly impressed with the scope of their knowledge and the freshness of their memories of times gone by.
Before there was a building, there was a Christ Church congregation – men and women who worshipped together and dreamed of building a beautiful edifice to the glory of God. They began meeting at Clifton, as the Niagara Falls area was then known, in 1863, under the care of the Rev. D. I. F. Macleod, rector of Holy Trinity, Chippawa. Services were held every Sunday afternoon, first in a hall over the Bridge Street store of postmaster W. Woodruff, and later in the waiting room of the Great Western Railway. At the second annual vestry meeting, held in April of 1865, subscriptions were solicited for the construction of a building. On July 31, 1865 the cornerstone of Christ Church was laid by Rev. G. Whittaker, Provost of Trinity College, Toronto. Then, on December 17, 1865 the first service was held, with Bishop Cleveland Coxe of Western New York officiating.
The park land south of the church, now aptly called “The Point,” was donated by Lot and Frances Clark in 1873. With their donation, the Clarks specified that it should be for “the general uses” of Christ Church, on the condition that it remain an “open yard or court . . . without any buildings or other structures thereon.” To this day, the spaciousness of the lawn and the shade of the lovely trees are enjoyed by parishioners and passersby, and in the spirit of the Clark gift, a Memorial Garden was created in 2005 to commemorate the 140th anniversary of Christ Church and the “Year of the Veteran.”
In 1874 the Bishop of Toronto assented to the establishment of Christ Church as a separate parish. It was therefore necessary to build a rectory for the resident clergyman. This was done in 1879 with a Mr. Drew supplying the stone free of charge. Meanwhile, the continued growth of the congregation necessitated more building, and therefore in 1894 new transepts and a chancel were added to increase the seating capacity by almost two-thirds.
On August 1, 1895, a new pipe organ was introduced with a recital by W. E. Fairclough, FRCC, of London, England, then organist of All Saints Church, Toronto. The price of the organ was $1150, collected by the Young Women’s Guild. The organ was built by Lye & Son, Toronto. The air for the organ was originally supplied by a large bellows operated by a hydraulic piston type motor with an emergency lever for operation, both of which were situated in the church cellar, under the organ. If it was found necessary to use the hand lever due to trouble with the water motor, a system of raps on the floor by the organist to the operator below was necessary for his information as to when it was necessary for him to pump. The air supply today is received from a high speed centrifugal electric driven blower.
In 1905 the Rev. Guy B. Gordon, then a curate at Christ Church, initiated a plan for a Sunday School facility and parish hall to stand on the former site of T. Hawkins’ blacksmith shop. After a successful subscription campaign, the Richard Smith Construction Company completed the project in January of 1907 at a cost of approximately $8000. Due to Rev. Gordon’s interest in the wholesome development of the youth, the hall (named “The Memorial Hall” after the renovations of 1998) was equipped as a gymnasium, with lines painted on the floor for basketball and other sports. A stage was also erected on the north end, that was later used for the minstrel shows for which Christ Church became famous. The lower room (later named “The Crysler Room” in honour of long-time Sunday School superintendent Sarah Crysler) was used for general meetings as well as housing Rev. Gordon’s always popular pool table.
One remarkable event concerning the halls needs to noted. It is a miracle that they are still here. In 1918 a fire broke out where the present kitchen for the Crysler Room is situated. It was extinguished very quickly and damage was minor. When the stage was removed in the recent reconstruction of the Memorial Hall, the blackened walls and half-burned joists were revealed. The new joists had been inserted and bolted to the remains of the ones not burned through. Perhaps the most surprising thing after all the years was that the smell of smoke was as strong as if the fire had been yesterday.
In 1912 local businessman and faithful parishioner William L. Doran obtained a chime of ten bells for the church tower in loving memory of his wife Alice. The names of the ten bells were permanently inscribed upon them: Love, Faith, Hope, Charity, Truth, Temperance, Chastity, Devotion, Long Suffering, and Peace. The dedication plaque is in the Narthex. In 1931 Mr. Doran and his brother Charles J. Doran made another major contribution by underwriting the redecoration of the Church interior.
In the fall of 1934 the parish inherited the sum of $2000 from the will of the late William L. Doran, a former warden, for the erection of a new tower to better house the chimes which he had previously placed there in memory of his wife. As the cost of such a proposition was much more than the sum provided, his brother, Charles J. Doran, and his daughter, Mrs. Fralick of New York, each added one thousand dollars so that the tower could be realized. So on August 12, 1935, the architects Findlay & Mann and contractor O.W. Zimmerman began preparations. Using a rope and a truck, the old wooden steeple, which had been in the centre of the south wall, was pulled off the stone work. The new tower, located in the southwest corner of the south wall, was completed by October of 1935, and the bells were re-hung inside the tower that now reached fifty-three feet in height. Meanwhile, a flat-roofed baptistery was also added on the south wall of the church where the old tower had been In view of the bare appearance of the south wall of the church due to the removal of the old tower, the Wardens decided that the beauty of the church would be enhanced by the placing of three windows above the baptistry. Therefore arrangements were completed with the contractor to complete this addition and have it finished by the time of the dedication of the tower. This would also provide better interior illumination in the nave of the church which in past had been extremely dark, due to the small size of the previous windows. (This baptistery was short-lived. In 1954 it was replaced by the addition of the Narthex.)
During the 1950’s rectorship of Canon A. T. F. (“Padre”) Holmes, considerable construction work was undertaken under the church, providing more classroom space, nursery rooms and a meeting room, as well as indoor access between the parish hall and the church. A Vestry section was also added, housing the rector’s office, parish secretary’s office, and the Altar Guild Sacristy. The second floor of this new section was created as an extra Sunday School room and lounge. It was named the MacDonald Room after William C. MacDonald who served as rector’s warden from 1936 to 1952. This project was undertaken by contractors Messrs. Smith Bros. and A.C. Barrett & Sons. In 1999, the MacDonald Room was renovated and refurnished and currently serves as a warm and lovely meeting room for Bible Study, Sunday 9am coffee hour, and smaller gatherings.
In 1958, it was decided to remove the archway which, with its supporting pillars, rose over the entrance of the sanctuary proper. An extra crossed roof truss was installed at the point where the old arched wall had supported the roof. A reredos was installed behind the altar in June of 1961, and in February of 1964 the choir pews were moved from the sanctuary to the east transept. This change coincided with the installation of a new organ built especially for Christ Church by The Wicks Organ Co. and financed by special donations from the congregation and organizations as a memorial for those who gave their lives in the two world wars. By the time Douglas Campbell gave the first recital on the new organ, the entire sanctuary had been changed.
As the next decades passed, the church once again fell in need of major repairs. In 1986 a restoration fund was launched but the cost of necessary repairs seemed insurmountable. Then a miracle happened—Christ Church inherited the estate of Dr. Hector Murray Simpson. Dr. Simpson had been living in London, Ontario, but had attended Sunday School at Christ Church, and his father, Dr. Hector E. Simpson, had been rector’s warden from 1909 to 1913. The bequest was in memory of Dr. Simpson’s parents, and was only to be used for church building repairs of a permanent nature. After much planning and decision-making a contract was worked out with Rison Construction and Engineering Ltd. of Niagara Falls. The cost was in excess of $200,000 and then it was not known what problems and extra expenses might be incurred. On August 22, 1988, the plans were presented to a special vestry at which time the vote was unanimous to proceed with the restoration, under the direction of a Restoration Committee comprised of the Rev. Glen Bresee, Ed Alderton, Dennis Delaney, and Jack Stevenson.
It was now almost the fall of the year so the exterior jobs would have to be done before winter set in. The roof on the church and parish hall were the most important and work was started immediately. After stripping off several layers of wood and asphalt a new steel tile roof was put on, complete with matching eaves troughs and downspouts. At this time the cupola was removed from its place on the church roof and completely rebuilt on the ground, using the same material as the roof. When the cupola was re-installed on the roof, a stainless steel cross was added to the top of it.
The church chimney was in need of repair, so it was reduced in height and re-mortared to its original condition. The rectory garage north wall had been forced out of place by the frost over the years and had to be relocated and reinforced with concrete, and at this time a new concrete floor was also poured. (The courtyard had previously been repaired during the summer by the two property chairmen, Ed Alderton and Dennis Delaney).
When the cold weather set in, the restoration of the interior began, on January 2, 1989. Five large stained glass windows had previously been removed for repairs. The organ pipes were dismantled and stored in boxes in the parish hall, and a large dust proof box was made to cover the organ console. The pews were piled, on their ends, in the centre aisle and covered with plastic sheeting. The walls were then stripped of all lath and plaster and wainscoting right down to the stone. It was discovered that there were spaces where the wind actually blew in through the stones, so these were re-mortared before carrying on with the rebuilding.
The walls were now rebuilt using steel studding, insulation, vapour barrier and 5/8” thick dry wall sheeting. The wiring was also completely up-dated at this time, and outlets, emergency lighting, light fixtures, and a new electrical panel in the vestry were installed. The hanging lights in the nave and transepts received new wiring and sockets, but the original stained glass shades were retained.
Three coats of paint (apple blossom) were applied to the new walls, new oak wainscoting and trim was added, and the plaques and reredos re-installed.
As the battleship linoleum under the pews was still in good condition it was decided not to replace it at this time. The pews were then re-installed in their original position. The wall between the nave and the narthex had also been replaced because of the fire regulations, and a fire retardant ceiling was installed in the narthex. The outer walls of the bell tower had always been just the building stone, so this room was also insulated and dry-walled and a fire-retardant suspended ceiling installed. New carpeting in the centre and side aisles was laid. As well, a stained glass window was installed over the choir stalls in memory of Dr. Simpson. Meanwhile, services were held in the parish hall until at last, on Easter Eve, March 25, 1989, the church was reopened for worship.
Since then there have been other additions and renovations. A new set of communion rail kneelers, created by members of the congregation in memory of the late Rev. Douglas Perry, was dedicated by Bishop Joachim Fricker on January 29, 1990. The west transept was remodelled in 1995 into the St. Martin’s Chapel in memory of those from the city who had died in the Second World War. It was dedicated by the late Archbishop Ted Scott. The topic of wheelchair accessibility was raised early in 1996, with the suggestion of suitable ramps and accessible washrooms, and this work was later carried out. At a special vestry meeting in June of 1996, it was decided to replace the stage in the upper parish hall with a fully equipped kitchen and to update the washrooms and redecorate the hall. The cost was $90,000 and it was completed in 1997. In 1997, a new office for the secretary was made in the Vestry, and the old office converted to a larger office for the Rector. In the church, a new sound system was installed in 1998, and the old Baptistery dedicated as the St. Francis Chapel. In 1999, the MacDonald Room was updated and improved, the cost of which was covered by the bequest of $7,500 from the Jean Atcherley Estate. In 2003, the lower kitchen was remodelled and new carpeting installed in the Crylser Room. In 2003 the rectory kitchen was remodelled by the Doug Reece, John Harris, Ed Czaban and Bret Harrison. The cabinets were redone, the stove and refrigerator were replaced and the dishwasher and microwave built in. The bedrooms, living and dining rooms were painted. The bedroom doors were fitted with new latches so that they all close properly. Windows in the rectory were replaced with double hung thermal paned windows. All of the exposed wood on the outside of the rectory was capped with aluminum. The basement was structurally improved by Roland Dueck, who placed a new support beam in the ceiling, thus supporting the upper floor better. New windows were also installed in all the rooms of the church basement and a contractor capped the exposed side to provide a maintenance free exterior. The height of the window wells were raised by Roland Dueck, Roy Moreau, and Colin Hoare. A new Sunday School room was made in the basement of the church by Roland Dueck and Bill Bean. In 2005 a new steel roof was put on the rectory by Hy-Grade roofing.
The maintenance and repair of this fine old building with its attached hall and rectory have been carried out by many workers devoted to its care. In 140 years, the building that is Christ Church has never looked lovelier than today.
But despite all the labour and donations that have been poured into the building, there is no record of its consecration! Normally, an Anglican church would be consecrated as soon its mortgage is paid, but in a brief history of Christ Church by the Rev. Duncan Lyon, he notes that “there is no record in the Vestry books of the parish, nor in the Diocesan Archives of the Diocese of Niagara confirming the date of Consecration of the church. Despite the letter of petition to the Bishop (a copy of which is in the parish files,) there is no reply extant, nor any reference in the old brief history of the parish to the bequest of Mrs. W. Woodruff of $1,000 ‘to be used in reducing the mortgage on the church.’” From this, it would seem that the church was still ‘unconsecratable’ in 1910 when this money was given, although it is possible that the first mortgage had been cleared earlier, consecration made without record, and a new mortgage taken for the work done in 1894, or at the time of the building of the church hall in 1910 itself.
Stained Glass Windows
The stained glass windows that add so much color and beauty to the church deserve special recognition. Given as memorials, they are testimonials to the love of the donors, not only for the persons remembered, but also for the God whose glory shines through them.
St. Francis Chapel, formerly the Baptistery
Windows on the left wall of the Nave
St. Martin’s Chapel (Left Transept)
(Depicting a pre-Raphaelite style of 3 angels)
In loving memory of Mrs. May Williamson, organist and choir member for 43 years. Placed by present and former members of the choir in 1960.
This beautiful cast window representing the ascension of our Blessed Lord, was put in place by the parishioners and bears the following inscription:
“So then, after the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into Heaven and sat on the right hand of God.”
It is to the glory of God and in loving memory of the Very Reverend Stewart Houston, M.A., D.C.L, Dean of Niagara, beloved Rector of this parish for 32 years; died October 9, 1911.
Right Transept (Choir Transept)
Upper Window in the Right Transept:
“WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR” is in memory of Dr. Hector Murray Simpson. Money left from his Estate paid for the refurbishing of the Church & the roofing of the Church and Parish Hall. 1988-1989.
Windows over the balcony:
1,2,3. “Crucified Saviour of All Nations” (depicting soldiers from WW 1 & 2) is to the glory of God and in commemoration of the ministry of the Venerable Guy B. Gordon, Archdeacon of Lincoln & Welland, curate of the Parish from 1902 to 1906 and Rector from 1910 to 1944. He served as a soldier, and was wounded, in WW1. He was also very active with Cubs and Scouts.
The right wall of the Nave
1. “The Sower” is to the glory of God and in loving memory of Arthur and his wife Annie Boyle. Erected by their children. (1927)
2. “The Good Shepherd” is in loving memory of Frederick J. Preston and his wife Anna G. Erected by their children.(1901)
3. “Rabboni” is to the glory God and in loving memory of H. H. Meikle. Erected by his wife Hilda May and his son Thomas Whittingham. (1942)
4. “Jesus Praying” is in memory of Padre Holmes. Erected by B. M. Kelly.
Windows in the Narthex (facing the back wall):
1. “Baptism of Jesus” is to the glory of God and in loving memory of Reverend W. P. Lyon 1863-1931 and his wife Eliza W. Lyon 1863-1936 and their daughter Dorothy 1904-1909.
2. “Presentation of Christ before Simeon” is to the glory of God and in loving memory of Elizabeth V. Witty, died September 15th, 1923.
Flags in Christ Church
Notes on Some of the Flags
Communion Rail Kneeler Cushions
The communion rail cushions were given to the glory of God and in memory of the Reverend R. Douglas Perry by the Altar Guild of Christ Church, as a part of the 125th Anniversary celebration of Christ Church in Niagara Falls. The concept of having communion rail cushions grew out of several discussions with Reverend R. D. Perry during 1985 and was announced as a probable project at the 125th Anniversary meeting held in 1986. Visits were made with Mr. Perry to many of the churches in the Niagara Region to study their cushions. Finally it was decided that our cushions should be made of needlepoint and that the design be specific to Christ Church, Niagara Falls.
Many designs were conceived and rejected before the final ones were selected. Each part of the design was drawn to scale, then adjusted for needlepoint application, before water colour paintings were made for final approval of design and colour. During this phase, several showings of the work were made and constructive criticism invited.
Coincident with the design stage, we made contact with Mrs. Betty Mitchell of Niagara-on-the-Lake, who had helped many of the area churches with their needlecraft work. We retained Mrs. Mitchell as our technical advisor and with her help selected our wools and canvas. She also advised us to use the basket weave stitch because of its strength and durability. As this stitch was new to almost all of our potential needle crafters, Betty was enlisted to conduct several training sessions. In actual fact, any needlecraft stitch would have been new to the majority of our workers. During and after these classes several of our potential workers chose not to continue with the project; however, twenty-three ladies stuck with it to completion.
Originally it was believed that the water coloured designs would be reproduced in England onto the needlepoint canvas. This dream did not become a reality as the English source would only work with their own designs. Refusing to let the project die at this point, Elliot Brady learned to paint with acrylics on the needlepoint canvas. This action is somewhat akin to painting a picture on window screening without filling in the holes. The painting of the five canvases were completed by mid February 1997. The ladies then began the needlecraft phase with the help and encouragement of Ruth Perry and Helen Brady who served as project coordinators. Their many and varied duties included procuring and the distribution of the wools and canvas, keeping records of the active and future needle crafters. In general their duties were to ensure that workers were simultaneously active on each of the five cushions at all times.
The exposed canvas for the cushions contain 841,392 openings, and since the basket weave stitch passes through each hole twice, our needle workers produced 1,682,784 stitches (not counting the occasional repeated ones).
The five communion rail cushions given by the Altar Guild to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Christ Church were designed to represent some of the history and people who attended and worked for the Glory of God through Christ Church.
The central cushion pictorially represents the Zimmerman Avenue view of the Church. This is abutted on either side by views of the great falls of Niagara with their attended rainbows. The rainbow theme is extended colour wise outwardly throughout the other four cushions where the background hues for the medallions radiate in accordance with the spectrum from the central red to the outermost red-violet hues.
The blue grey background hue of the cushions represents the ‘Mists of Time Past” through which we peek at our Church history through medallion-like portals. These portals are composed of a quatrefoil superimposed on a square o to represent the four corners and
four hemispheres of the ministry of the Church. Each medallion is outlined in gold to represent the richness of the subject to the history of Christ Church.
Because of his interest and great help in the formulation stage of the project and his unexpected death, the cushions are dedicated to the glory of God and in memory of the Reverend R. Douglas Perry. It is appropriate that the dedication is recorded on the rear of the cushion which contains the medallions representing ‘Christmas’ and ‘Music of the Church’ as Reverend Perry had a great passion for music and was called to the greater glory just prior to Christmas in 1986.
The Symbolism of the Pall
The funeral pall has eight medallions set in the form of a traditional Latin cross. The number eight is associated in Christian tradition with the end of the present creation and its total redemption in and through Christ who is both its creator and redeemer.
Beginning at the bottom of the cross is the medallion with the crown of thorns symbolizing Christ’s suffering that demonstrates the depth of His love for all creation.
The second medallion from the bottom is a symbol of the Holy Communion. The physical material of bread and wine is symbolic of Our Lord’s present incarnation in and involvement with our material existence, and His desire to heal and renew it.
The fish in the third medallion are an ancient symbol used by the early church when it was a secret, persecuted society. The fish symbol was used to identify members and guide them to the secret celebrations of the Holy Communion. In some places fish was used as a food of the Holy Communion. As the fish swims in the depths so does Christ live in our depths.
The Alpha and Omega in the fourth medallion tell us that He who is our loving creator is both the beginning and end of all creation.
The lily at the centre of the cross symbolizes the centrality of Christ’s death and resurrection. Here is affirmed the gift of eternal life which He has already given us and which we can never earn.
The medallion on the left arm of the cross features a dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit whom the Bible deeply connects with our lives. In the Old Testament, the word for Spirit is “Rauch.” This is also the word used for human breath. In the New Testament the word used for spirit is “Pneuma” and again it is the word used for human breath. This helps us to see a deep connection between our physical existence and our spiritual existence in Christ.
In the medallion on the right arm of the cross is the phoenix, the ancient world’s symbol for the triumph of life over death, reminding us that Christ’s triumph is both material and spiritual.
At the top of the cross is the crown of the victorious king who rules over heaven and earth so long as they shall exist. When He decides they shall no longer be, He shall then gently wrap them up and bring all into His own loving heart where there is neither time nor space and all is completed and made whole.
The Bells of Christ Church
The Christ Church ten bell chime was inaugurated Christmas Eve, December 4, 1912. For the next three days the bells chimed several musical programs celebrating the birth of our Lord.
William Lowry Doran, a long time member and warden of Christ Church, presented the ten bell chime to Christ Church in memory of his late wife, Alice Edith Doran, who died September 15, 1906.
The bells were cast by the McShane Bell Foundry Company, Baltimore Maryland are a composition of the very best standard bell metal, 78% pure Lake Superior ingot copper and 22% imported East India tin.
The chimes are in the key of “E” and include the regular octave, a diminished seventh, and one extra tone above the scale, making it possible to play music in the two keys “E” and “A”, with six full tones in the latter key.
The number of hymns and other musical tunes that can be played on the bells is unlimited.
The ten bells are each named and inscribed: Love, Faith, Hope, Charity, Truth, Temperance, Chastity, Devotion, Long Suffering, and Peace.
The total weight of the bells in 9,250 lbs. and with the weight of the framing the weight is 12,000 lbs. or 6 tons.
The bells have a historical significance in the community. The bells were rung to celebrate the end of two World Wars and the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
The 100th Anniversary Bell Project At Christ Church
In February 2010 parishioners of Christ Church voted to renovate the ten bell chime and bring back the music of the bells to celebrate the 100th anniversary of their installation in 2012. There was a strong desire in the parish to have the bells chime again resulting in a strong commitment to make it happen.
Prior to 2010 the bells of Christ Church were silent for five years because of the deterioration of the chiming mechanism due to age and wear that made them unsafe to chime. When the bells were installed chains and leather belts were used to chime the bells.
After visiting several sites with different chiming systems, Meeks Watson & Company, a highly respected company in the manufacture and installation of bells and chiming systems was chosen for the bell project.
The bell project included renovation of the chime stand, installing a new chiming system that would allow the bells to be played manually on the chime stand or automatically by a computerized system and replacing the worn clappers in the bells. The bells themselves were in good condition.
The project started in September 2011 with the dismantling of the chime stand and its removal for renovation. In May 2012 the new chiming system was installed and new clappers installed in the bells. The renovated and refinished chime stand was put in place.
On June 16, 2012 Christ Church hosted a public outdoor event “Chime the Bells for 1812”. Politicians, church members and the public attended to commemorate the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 and celebrate the 100th anniversary of the bells of Christ Church. The music of the bells returned to Christ Church.
The following day, June 17, 2012, The Right Reverend Michael A. Bird, Bishop of Niagara, attended church service at Christ Church and re-dedicated the bells of Christ Church.
Christ Church has the only ten bell chime in Niagara Falls and the music of the bells is shared daily with our community.
The Thomas Nelond “Rubbing”
The power and influence of the monasteries throughout the Middle Ages was tremendous. The abbots, priors and monks are, however, poorly represented on brasses, thanks to the destruction and pillage of the monasteries demanded by King Henry the VIII during the sixteenth century Reformation. Fortunately, the magnificent brass of Thomas Nelond (1433) escaped destruction. Nelond was Cluniac Prior of the Lewes, at Cowfold, Sussex. This brass rubbing that now hangs on the west wall of the nave shows Nelond in the monastic habit of the Benedictine Order – the black cowl like a loose surplice with deep sleeves, and the hood attached to the scapula beneath. The composition is of Nelond praying to images of the Virgin and Child, and to St. Pancras, and St. Thomas Becket, the defiant martyr of an earlier English king.
The rubbing which is incomplete was made by Mrs. Arthur White in memory of her husband and given to the church in 1995.
Beautiful though a building may be, it is a mere shell without the people that fill it and make it a vibrant, living entity. Christ Church has been fortunate to have had so many men, women and children who made it come alive.
The story of our parish begins with the story of our diocese, which begins with the outbreak of the American Revolution, when United Empire Loyalist missionaries were forced to leave their parishes and start anew in Nova Scotia and Canada. In 1787 one of their number, The Right Reverend Charles Inglis, last British Rector of Trinity Church, New York, was consecrated at Lambeth Palace to be the first Colonial Bishop, with the title of Bishop of Nova Scotia.
In 1793 the Canadas (Upper and Lower) received a Bishop of their own in the person of the Right Reverend Jacob Mountain, whose title was Lord Bishop of Quebec. In that year the diocese of Quebec separated from the original diocese of Nova Scotia. This new diocese included both Lower Canada (Quebec) and Upper Canada (Ontario). But in 1839 the diocese of Quebec was divided and the western half was named “The Diocese of Toronto.” In 1842 John Strachan, the first Bishop of Toronto, founded the “Church Society” which sent out missionaries over extensive areas. About 1844 James Stoneham was appointed the first missionary to an area approximately corresponding to Welland County. In 1875 the diocese of Niagara was set apart from that of Toronto. The first synod was held on March 17th at Christ Church, Hamilton, Ontario when Archdeacon Fuller was elected first Bishop of Niagara.
Until the year 1863, no regular service of the Anglican (Church of England) had been held at Clifton (now Niagara Falls). But on the death of the Reverend William Leeming, Rector of Stamford and Chippawa, his parish was divided into two parishes, with Clifton being part of Chippawa. The Rev. D. I. F. MacLeod became rector of the new parish of Chippawa and began holding services every Sunday afternoon in Clifton (Niagara Falls). The first of these services was held in the hall over the store of W.W. Woodruff (postmaster) on Bridge Street and later the waiting room of the Great Western Railway was used.
The first Easter vestry meeting of the budding parish was held on March 29, 1864 at which two wardens were chosen: Mr. R. B. Price as rector’s warden and Mr. William Leggett as people’s warden. (Mr. Leggett was great-grandfather of Mr. Gerald Brown). Six people were present. After the second vestry meeting held April 17, 1865, the wardens began to solicit subscriptions for the building of a church, and met with such success that they felt warranted to proceed immediately with the building. On July 31, 1865, the cornerstone of Christ Church was laid by Reverend G. Whittaker, Provost of Trinity College, Toronto, and on December 17, 1865 the Church was opened for worship, with Bishop Cleveland Coxe of Western New York officiating.
For eleven years Niagara Falls was an out-station of the Village of Chippawa, but because of the growth of the town, it became evident that a resident clergyman was needed. Accordingly in 1874 the Bishop of Toronto gave consent to Niagara Falls becoming a separate parish with a resident clergyman. The first incumbent was the Reverend E. H. Mussen, M.A. who, after two years was succeeded by the Reverend E. J. Fessendon, B.A. On his appointment, the congregation in Queenston became his responsibility too and a service was held there every Sunday afternoon.
After two years the Reverend Mr. Fessendon resigned to accept the rectorship of Chippawa. He was succeeded at Christ Church on October 1878 by Canon Houston, M. A., who continued the services at Queenston and had the care of all families from Niagara Falls along the river to within four miles of Niagara-on-the-Lake. On November 2, 1879 the Brock Memorial Church of St. Saviour, beautifully situated on the bank of the Niagara River at Queenston, was opened, and being free from debt, was at the same time consecrated to the worship of Almighty God by the Right Reverend Thomas Brock Fuller, D.D., LL.D, Bishop of Niagara.
In 1879 the Christ Church rectory was built and at this time the rector moved in from a brick building on Cataract Avenue. Mr. Drew supplied all stone for the rectory free on site. In 1883 the Cantilever Bridge was built at the Falls, whereby the traffic passing through the town was almost doubled and the population greatly increased by the influx of railway employees. On account of this increased population the need for more church accommodation was felt and as Christ Church was situated on the extreme eastern boundary of the city the church families living in the western section were encouraged by the Bishop to build a chapel. This movement was also encouraged by Mr. E. Tench and friends who helped secure the site. Thus, on October 31, 1887 the cornerstone of St. Stephen’s Chapel on what was then Chestnut Street (now 4890 Bridge Street) was laid by Bishop Hamilton, D. D., D.C.L., Bishop of Niagara, and on January 18, 1888 the first service was held with Bishop Hamilton officiating. The latter licensed Mr. W. P. Lyon, lay-reader, to assist the rector in supplying the services of the church to people assembling at the chapel. (He held this post continuously until 1900 when he resigned, later to become the Reverend W .P. Lyon, incumbent of Holy Trinity Church in Fonthill.) The continued growth of the parish made it necessary to enlarge Christ Church. The plans were prepared by Mr. James Balfour, architect, Hamilton. Mr. John Drew was the contractor and mason, and Mr. William Cowie was the carpenter. The addition was completed in 1894 and consisted of transepts and a new chancel, increasing the seating capacity by almost two-thirds.
More improvements followed. On August 1, 1895 a new Pipe Organ was used for the first time, Mr. W. E. Fairclough, F.R.C.O. of London, England, being the recital organist. At Christmas 1896 a pulpit was presented by Mrs. E. Davis. At Easter, 1898, a prayer-pew, designed by Reverend M. W. Britton, and made at the Valley City Seating Co.’s Works, Dundas was put in Christ Church as a memorial of Miss. E. C. Baxter, a faithful member and zealous worker.
Dean Houston was Rector of the Parish for 32 years. He had as his assistants, the Reverend W. DuMoulin, 1900-1901, the Reverend G. B. Gordon, B.A. from April 1902 to October 1906, and Deacon C. E. Smith, B.A. from 1907 until Rev. Houston’s retirement. On his retirement on April 1, 1910, Rev. Houston was to enjoy the use of the rectory and receive an annuity from the parish for the rest of his life. He lived for one and a half years after retiring – a great man, loved by the people of the parish.
In 1905, a “ways and means committee” was appointed to investigate the provision of rooms for accommodating Sunday School classes and other needs. The financial canvass was successful and in 1907 the parish hall was built by Richard Smith Construction Company on the site of the T. Hawkins’ blacksmith shop. The work began in July of 1906 and was executed with such expedition that it was occupied by the Sunday School on the last Sunday in January, 1907.
During 1908-09 the girls of Mrs. Houston’s Sunday School Class presented a large Bible for the lectern, a book of Altar Services, and a service book for the Prayer Desk. In 1910 a new lectern was presented by Mrs. W. W. Woodruff, who, at her death, also left $1000 to be used in reducing the parish mortgage. During 1912 a chime of ten bells was installed in the tower of the church by Mr. William Lowery Doran in memory of his wife who had died in 1906.
In 1910 the Reverend Guy B. Gordon, B.A., later Archdeacon Gordon, D.D., who had been curate from 1902-1906 (and left to become rector of St. John’s Church, Port Dalhousie), was appointed rector. He worked with great zeal, taking special interest in the boys and all children, and exercising a pastoral and paternal influence over them.
Archdeacon Gordon was away from the parish from 1914 to September 1918, when he returned after service with His Majesty’s forces overseas. During his absence, the parish was placed in the care of several priests-in-charge. The first, from September, 1914 to Easter 1915, was the Reverend Kitterson. He was succeeded by the Reverend G. J. Bousfield, B.A., who was in charge from 1915 to 1918. When Archdeacon Gordon returned his vestry report of April 1919 showed that there were 515 families on the parish register, containing 1872 persons. He also presented a corrected Honour Roll of members of Christ Church which read as follows: Enlisted – 238; service in France – 203; Service in Canada – 35; Killed in action or died on active service – 34.
In 1919 three lots were purchased on the corner of Fourth Avenue and McCrae Street for the erection of a new St. Stephen’s Chapel which was started in 1921 and opened for divine worship on March 5, 1922. The land and building cost approximately $10,000. After the new St. Stephen’s Chapel was built, the work in the parish became more complex and at the 1925 Christ Church vestry meeting it was decided to appoint a curate to help Archdeacon Gordon. The number of persons in the parish had now jumped to 702 families or 2705 members. In 1925 the Reverend W.G. Luxton, B.A. was appointed curate and stayed till 1926 when he left to assume duties at Fergus, Ontario. In June 1927 the Reverend Edward Brillinger, M.B.E., B.A. came as curate, was ordained priest in 1928, and stayed until 1932 when he was appointed Rector of Wainfleet by the Bishop of Niagara. In May 1932 the Reverend E.H. Costigan, B.A. (who later was rector of Christ Church) came as curate in place of Reverend E. Brillinger. In 1936 the Reverend J. F. Hinchcliffe, B.A., succeeded the Reverend E. H. Costigan and was at Christ Church until 1940.
In October 1940 the Reverend R. W. Cowan, B.A., L. Th. (now canon) came as curate, and served until 1942. In 1942 the Reverend E.A. Pulker, B.A., B.D. became curate of Christ Church, remaining until 1944. In 1944 Archdeacon Guy B. Gordon resigned and was succeeded by former curate the Reverend E. H. Costigan (at that time rector of St. Matthew’s Church in Hamilton, Ontario). Canon E. H. Costigan was rector of the parish from 1944 until he left in 1950 to take charge of St. Thomas’ Church, Hamilton, Ontario. During his curacy and rectorship he was extremely popular. A great sportsman, he took interest in the men’s organizations of the parish and in the development of St. Stephen’s parish. In December 1948 the Reverend C. G. Eakins, M. A., came to work with Canon Costigan until becoming priest in charge of St. Stephen’s Chapel in November 1950. Later, on November 1, 1951, he became the first rector of the new St. Stephen’s parish.
In 1950 Canon Costigan was succeeded by Canon A.T. F. Holmes, L.T.H., B.D., (later Archdeacon Holmes), and always “Padre”. During his rectorship considerable construction work was undertaken under the church, providing more class room space, a church office, nursery rooms and meeting room, and also affording indoor access to the church from the parish hall (which was much appreciated by the choir). Messrs. Smith Bros. and A.C. Barrett & Sons were the contractors.
On October 14, 1951 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, then Princess Elizabeth, with Prince Philip, attended divine service in Christ Church. This visit is commemorated by the retention of their pew with a suitably inscribed plaque.
THE ROYAL PLAQUE
H.R.H Princess Elizabeth subsequently
H.M. Queen Elizabeth II
The Duke of Edinburgh
occupied this pew when they worshipped
in this Church on the
14th day of October in the Year
of our Lord 1951
during the Rectorship of
In 1951 the Reverend John Gerard, B.A., L.Th., son of the assistant Bishop of Sheffield, England, became curate under Archdeacon Holmes. In 1955 the Reverend W.H. Neil Williams became the next curate and was with the parish until 1958. In 1957 the congregation of Christ Church recognized the immense contribution Archdeacon Gordon had made during his 35 years as rector by installing a stained glass window in the west end of the Church (see pg. 10). This window was dedicated on November 3 by an old choirboy of Christ Church, Bishop H.W.B. Donegan of New York, N.Y. The following is a list of clergy present at the dedication of the Gordon Tribute Window:
Reverend Canon E. Brillinger, B.A. M.B.E.
Reverend Canon E.H. Costigan, B.A.
Reverend Canon C.G. Eakins, M.A.
The Right Reverend Horace W.B. Donegan, Bishop of New York, N.Y.
Archdeacon G.B. Gordon, M.A. D.D.
Archdeacon A.T.F. Holmes, L.Th. B.D., (Rector)
Reverend Canon A. H. Walker, B.A.
Also present at the ceremony were F. H. Boswell (rector’s warden) and C. C. Gregory (people’s warden). The window is inscribed with the following words: To the Glory of God and in commemoration of the ministry of the Venerable Guy B. Gordon, Archdeacon of Lincoln and Welland. Curate of this parish 1902 to 1906 and Rector from 1910 to 1944.
On February 3, 1958 Archdeacon Holmes, who had served his Church in so many areas outside of the parish (including Camp Artaban) died suddenly and was succeeded in April 1958 by Canon W. H. Langhorn (later Archdeacon W. H. Langhorn). In June 1960 a beautiful stained glass window was installed in the church by the late Archdeacon Holmes’ family who were present at the dedication by Archdeacon Langhorn.
In May 1958 The Reverend David W. Morris, B.A., LTh. came to Christ Church as curate and left in 1960 for the Yukon. Archdeacon W. H. Langhorn next had as curate the Reverend T. E. Clarke from September 1960 until May 1963. On June 1, 1963 he was succeeded by the Reverend D. J. Coombe.
Meanwhile, in 1959 the Church of St. Saviour’s, Queenston, with over 75 years association with Christ Church, had the Reverend C.H.E. Day appointed as rector, leaving Christ Church by itself, for the first time in its history. However, in 1963 St. Saviour’s was again served by the clergy from Christ Church.
Archdeacon Langhorn’s tenure was relatively brief and he was succeeded by the Rev. H. B. Stokreef. Canon J. T. Hesketh came in 1969 and in 1978 Canon D. G. Huether was rector. From 1978 to1984 the Rev. H. L Reese was rector, followed in 1985 by Rev. R. D. Perry. In 1987 the Rev. G. C. Bresee came, staying until 1994 when the Rev. Bob Cross served as interim briefly until the Rev. Duncan A. Lyon arrived and was rector for 10 years.
This was the beginning of an open door policy both in the church and in the rectory, as many events were held in that lovely old building adjacent to the church. Fireside teas in the rectory living rooms during the winter months and lunches in the attractive courtyard setting in the spring and summer brought parishioners and many visitors into closer contact with the rector and his wife. It was during this ministry that Christ Church became twinned with a small parish in Cuba. Father Duncan and his wife Wendy, along with several parishioners, made yearly trips to this community, taking much-needed medicinal and educational materials to the Cubans. Out of the Cold, another outreach program initiated by Father Duncan, joined Christ Church with area churches in bringing hot meals to the needy during cold winter months.
Upon the departure of the Lyons, Archdeacon Ken Cardwell, a former choir boy, served as interim priest. In 2004, the Rev. Kevin J. Block, a former Mennonite minister, came to Christ Church, initially as Deacon in Charge and briefly assisted by Canon Jim Powell. He was ordained in 2004, and is the current rector. Meanwhile, the parishes of St. Stephen’s and St. Martin’s were sadly disestablished, and many of their parishioners joined other Anglican parishes, including Christ Church.
No history of this parish would be complete without the mention of two very important positions…that of church secretary and of sexton. Enid Jones has been secretary for ten years, handling the weekly bulletin and many other duties. In January of 2007 she also accepted the responsibilities of parish treasurer, with the new title of administrative assistant. Ms. Jones succeeded Mary Benson, who in turn succeeded Barbara Freeman in 1992. Nancy Pellerin became sexton in 1995, following the resignation of Nancy Ferranti. Ms. Pellerin keeps the church, grounds, and garden looking perfectly beautiful, and also assists in the Sunday School and Vacation Bible School.
Lastly, as anyone living within a few blocks of Christ Church knows, talented bell-ringers have provided stirring music on Sunday mornings for many years. In 1997, Nick Minov took over the post on the sad loss of long time carillonneur Robert Stuckey. Tragically, in the spring of 2007, Mr. Minov, a local lawyer, violinist, pilot, Arctic explorer, and husband of rector’s warden Anita Minov, also passed away.
Interesting Items from Past Records
At the Easter Vestry of 1872 the following recommendation was made by the Wardens: “We beg to recommend the erection of a suitable building for the accommodation of the Rector’s horse and carriage to protect them from the inclemency of the weather and from the hands of evil disposed persons.”
In 1874 Mr. Lot Clark gave the rector and wardens a deed of a piece of land forming an angle in front of the church free of charge to be used for church purposes only. It was valued at about $500.
All but five pews in the church up to 1894 were rented. The other five were free. The prices ranged from $15 to $30 each per year. In 1888 a gallery was built over the front entrance of the church and all gallery seats were free. This gallery was subsequently replaced.
At a cost of $12 thirty maple trees were planted in the church yard in March 1868.
The first electric lights in the Church were installed in 1891.
The interior of Christ Church was redecorated in 1931 through the generosity of William L. and Charles Doran.
On July 3, 2005 a special vestry meeting of the Parish of Christ Church was held to consider a plan for a Memorial Garden “on the Point.” The Memorial Garden would commemorate the 140th anniversary of Christ Church and the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II and would honour all veterans, including the Lincoln and Welland Regiment of which Christ Church is the garrison church in Niagara Falls. A vote was taken to approve the basic idea of building the Memorial Garden with the results of 84 in favour and 5 against. The plan was then discussed in detail, outlining the cost and plans which showed how the proposed garden would look when completed. A vote was taken to approve the Memorial Garden according to the presented plan. The vote passed with all but one in favour. The garden has become a huge success and in 2006 won first place in the Trillium Awards for Church Gardens. It was inspired by then people’s warden Colin Hoare and designed by University of Waterloo student Will Czaban.
Volunteer organizations have been the lifeblood of Christ Church. Countless men and women give generously of their time, energy, and money to ensure the church operates, the children are taught, the homeless and indigent have relief. Although the names of some of the organizations in Christ Church have changed, in most cases the original purpose is maintained and in some cases enlarged. Some of the organizations were only alive for a short while, serving their purpose, then disbanding. Some have, regretfully, disappeared because of lack of interest. Those remaining are alive and well and functioning on almost a daily basis.
A. Altar Guild
One of the earliest organizations in the life of Christ Church was the Altar Guild. Official records date from 1915, when it was known as the Chancel Guild with 12 members on the roster. In 1935, 24 members made up the Guild, according to the 1935 Souvenir History, and their function was much as it is today: the care and placing of all altar linen, flowers, and Communion vessels. Polishing the brass railings is another of their tasks, as well as distributing flowers to the sick and shut-ins after services. Today, the number of workers has increased to 31. Jean Dodd is the current president and welcomes all newcomers to the Guild.
B. Women’s Auxiliary
Now known as the Anglican Church Women (ACW), the Women’s Auxiliary was organized in 1927, and has, like the Altar Guild, continued through the years. Meetings are held as they were then on a regular basis the last Thursday of the month in the MacDonald Room. Eight members are at present on their roll, and the main activity is the making of beautiful quilts and other handcrafted items for sale. The ACW’s Sunshine Teas, the first of which was held April 29, 1927, also provided funding to support the Mission target. Kathy Lowe submits reports on the group.
C. Youth Clubs
At one time, Christ Church boasted a very active young people’s representation. Boy Scouts, Rangers, Cubs, Girl Guides. Brownies and an A1 Boys Club (membership in this one swelled to 35 in 1935.) were filling the hall and the church with their activities. The Anglican Young People’s Society created a social venue for the teens of the day. Sadly, the young people’s organizations have seen a drastic reduction in members today, and none of the above are currently held in Christ Church. Chi Rho Fellowship began in 1947 to attract those who had been in AYPA pre-war.
“Kids’ Place” began in 1993 as a plan to tutor children who might require especial attention. John and Mary Grantier coordinated this program. In 2000, the decision was made to wind up the tutoring activities, because it was no longer possible to keep up with the learning needs of the children.
D. Sunday School
Sunday School was a vital part of the church in the earliest days, and the lower level of the building was the scene of much activity later directed by Linda Detlor-Cross. The special Vacation Bible Clubs initiated in 1994 are still going strong, one week in the summer. In 2003, renewed interest in Sunday School was shown under the leadership of Betty Reece and Jean Dodd and in 2004 with the increased attendance at church, due primarily to the closure of the two Anglican churches, St. Stephen’s and St. Martin’s, more rooms were needed once more. A wall was knocked down and the room was enlarged and redecorated. A nursery has also been created, which is supervised by Kathy Whalley. Ramona Upton now supervises the Sunday School with many helpers.
E. Chi Rho
Chi Rho – the first two letters of the Greek word for Christ – continues today, though on a reduced basis. Where once the meetings were held twice a month, now one meeting, preceded by a pot luck supper, is held. At one time, members were very active in providing entertainment, musicals, and shows. Joseph Elliott was the first president, and membership totaled some 40 men and women. Current membership is 35, and the president, Jack Stevenson, has held that post since 1963. The first Chi Rho project was to assist the Sunday School, and they bought a 16 mm sound projector and screen to show films during the Lenten season. Today, members continue to assist with many of parish activities. Speakers and a variety of games are usually held following the business meetings. During the Lenten season, the rector usually contributes to the social aspect, with videos or interesting lectures. No meetings are held during the summer months, but members and other groups meet for a barbecue at Jack Stevenson’s place and at Ed and Kathy Whalley’s.
F. The Brotherhood of Anglican Churchmen
This organization had its charter issued in Christ Church on March 9, 1964. Its function was to provide fellowship, entertainment, and education. The BAC sponsored annual events such as the Pancake and Sausage Supper on Shrove Tuesday, and members made items for sale at the yearly Bazaar. For many years John Morgan served as president, and meetings were held once a month on a Monday evening. Although the BAC has recently disbanded, its former members continue to be involved in many of their previous activities.
G. Christ Church Servers’ Guild
According to the 100th anniversary booklet, the Servers’ Guild was an active organization in 1965, associated with the diocesan organization. Members were present at all major services, performing their duties in the sanctuary. The processional crucifer is one of their members, and in 1965 membership in the Guild was 11, including the Sacristan, Mr. Roy Moreau. Seven young men and women comprise the Guild today.
H. The Mission Committee
As late as 1990, this committee was involved in the Christmas food drive, the Primate’s World Relief Fund, and assisted in the Community Living association, by collecting a “Mile of Pennies” toward the purchase of a new vehicle for them. The Open Door policy, originally tried in 1988, was curtailed to weekends during the summer of 1989 due to increasing fear of vandalism. “Seeds of Hope” (North Mbale Agricultural Project) began in 1994 for a three-year period. Pledges by the church were realized and sent to Uganda to establish a diocesan farm at the personal request of the then Bishop.
I. The Pastoral Committee
This committee was formed with the express purpose of visiting the sick, distressed or lonely people of the parish. A report of 1992 notes the committee visited 18 home shut-ins and 28 people, as well as hospital patients on a regular basis. This committee also arranged a taxi service to ensure anyone unable to get a ride would not miss a church service. Tapes of the service were also made available to those who might have missed the Sunday service. Communion is celebrated by the rector in four local seniors’ residences, and communion from the relevant service is taken to hospitals and to individual homes when requested. Members of the committee go along to assist on these occasions. This vibrant committee, now called “The Pastoral Care Team,” meets monthly to organize and encourage one another in Christian service.
J. The Informals
Usually meeting once a week (but without officers or elections or constitutions or any kind of formal structure), this group of women assists where needed. They hold card parties and luncheons, have rummage sales, sell church souvenirs, and act as guides when the church is open for visitors. They contribute to various church and diocesan projects. But it’s not all work. They have picnics, breakfasts and lunches as well as daylong outings. Twenty members meet every Tuesday to plan the group’s activities. Recently $2500 was given to the wardens from the sale of crafts and other similar events held over the year, and $1300 given to the bazaar from a basket raffle. One of their most successful events has been the bake and craft sale held “on the Point” in June. There is no president as such, but reports are given by Helen Brady and Pamela Nemeth.
K. The In Betweens
Like the Informals, the In Betweens is a fairly recent group in the parish’s history, forming in 1993. They fill in the cracks of any function that needs extra hands. Fluid in membership, there are no meetings or officials, and they pull together when the occasion demands, primarily as a catering service, although they are on call for any function. Pub nights in honor of St. George (first held in 2002), Mother’s Day Teas, and courtyard lunches have all been arranged by the In Betweens. Originally initiated by Wendy Lyon, Margaret Harris and Geraldine Wilson Black now lead this team. Some 26 women are on call at any given time. The In Betweens produced a Christ Church Cookbook in 2004, which resulted in a donation of $700 to the Residential School Program.
L, Social Action Committee
This committee in 1996 had Margaret Harris as coordinator. Food drives are held on a regular basis to supply baskets for Project Share. These have been highly successful, resulting in minor mountains of food available and delivered at Christmas time, Thanksgiving and Easter. In 2004, it was decided to make the committee a two-pronged endeavor, performing both social and charitable functions. On the social side, Ed Whalley has helped with events such as the Christmas Sing-a-Long, and on the charitable side, Gerry Logan chairs the outreach branch looking after the Christ Church team at Out of the Cold.
M. What’s Happening
This newsletter first saw the light of day in June 1988. Originally edited by Mary Stewart, it came out four times a year – in September, at Christmas, Easter and in June. Rev. Bresee envisioned it as a vehicle to keep all parishioners in touch with each other, and with what’s going on in one another’s lives. Each organization submitted its news of activities, and personal experiences were shared. Verna Reid was the most recent editor.
Begun in 1937 by Alice and Len Scotcher, contributions to the little coin boxes in the homes of parishioners were used to supplement regular church income. It was a fine source of extra funding until 2004 when the program was closed down.
O. The Choir
In 1915, there were listed 15 women, 10 men, and 14 boys in the Christ Church Choir. Harold Bradley was organist for a short time. In 1935 there were 24 women, 13 men, and a Junior Boys Choir of 16. The choir leader was Harold Jones and the organist Mrs. May Williamson. Mrs. Miner was also a choir leader for a few years. The choir met every Friday evening at 8 p.m. to rehearse. At one time a large Junior Choir sang for the 9:30 a.m. service, and Dorothy Hamer and later Shirley Lamb were in charge. A former organist and choir leader of note was Harold Revill who had been a choir boy himself. On his retirement in 2001, assistant Lynda Fairbairn was interim music director until Tom Skinner became organist and choir master. In 1989, Nancy Jones presented the choir with new hymn books in memory of her parents, Harold and Helen Jones, formerly active Christ Church parishioners and choir members. Since then, the red hymn books have also been used. In 1997, bookracks were installed in the choir stalls. In 1998 Common Praise was published and many books were purchased for the church by Deanna and Alan Tustin in memory of her grandmother May Williamson. In 2004, the choir acquired new gowns. Membership now stands at 18 to 20, and rehearsals are held following the coffee hour after the 10 a.m. service. Besides the regular church services, the Christ Church Choir performs at funerals and other special occasions. Two former members were recognized in the year 2000 as especially dedicated. Both Jean Giddens and E. May (Ayling) McCrie were honored for celebrating 65 continuous years each as choir members. In 2007, the Right Rev. D. Ralph Spence presented Bob and Shirley Lamb with a plaque honouring their combined 125 years in the Christ Church Choir. Emily Bolton is current secretary. The choir enjoys several social events throughout the year.
The Lincoln and Welland Regiment
Christ Church continues to be proud of its role as the garrison church in Niagara Falls for the Lincoln and Welland Regiment. The origins of this regiment can be traced back to Colonel Butler’s Rangers which were formed on September 15, 1777 to combat the American revolutionaries. After their disbandment in 1784, many of the men joined the Nassau Militia in Upper Canada. When the province was reorganized into sixteen counties in 1792, Lincoln came into existence and the militia was re-named the Lincoln Militia. The Lincoln Militia took part in the battles of Queenston Heights, Lundy’s Lane, Stoney Creek, and Fort Detroit in the War of 1812.
In 1846 Lincoln County was divided and Welland County was formed with three militia battalions. In 1863 the Lincoln and Welland Battalions were re-organized and renamed the 19th Battalion Volunteer Militia and the 20th Battalion Volunteer Militia. Both had headquarters in St. Catharines. As a result of the Fenian Raids, the 44th Welland Battalion of Infantry was raised and absorbed companies from both the 19th and 20th Battalions. The 20th was redesignated the 20th Hamilton Battalion and moved to Milton.
Between 1866 and 1914 reorganization and name changes occurred. In 1914, the 19th Lincoln Regiment was headquartered in St. Catharines with 8 companies. The 44th Lincoln and Welland Regiment with headquarters in Niagara Falls also had 8 companies. Both regiments contributed troops to the Boer War. During the Great War the two regiments contributed over 5000 men to various Canadian Expeditionary Force Battalions. On December 15, 1936 the two units were reorganized into the Lincoln and Welland Regiment.
The Regiment was called out to guard the Welland Canal the day before World War II began. It was demobilized in December 1939 and almost 500 men immediately volunteered with Toronto units. In June of 1940 the Lincoln and Welland Battalion was mobilized for active service until dismissal in 1946.
The bicentennial anniversary of the regiment was marked in 1994. At an annual church parade in October of 1995 scrolls commemorating the battles of Kusten Canal and Bad Zwischenahn were presented. Colours of the 44th Battalion of Infantry were received on June 17, 1897 on the common just west of Fort George, and these Colours were eventually laid up in Christ Church, Niagara Falls on June 30, 1929.
Donations and Bequests
In 1896 Miss Sidney Murray donated an altar made by Scott Cross and Co. after a plan provided by Gibson Architect of Toronto, and also a dossal hanging which was used for the first time on Trinity Sunday. The gift was a thank offering from Miss Murray for many mercies received during her past life.
At Christmas in 1896 Mrs. Edward Davis presented the parish with the well-designed pulpit.
The brass communion rail was given to the Glory of God and in loving memory of John and Mary Murray, who died July 26, 1920 and May 28, 1901 respectively.
The bronze eagle lectern was the gift of Susan Woodruff in loving memory of Walter Woodruff, for 15 years warden of this Church, and of her children Jessie, and Gertrude, at Easter 1898.
A prayer pew, designed by Rev. M. W Britton in 1898 and made at the Valley City Cos. Works, Dundas, Ontario was put in Christ Church as a memorial of Miss. E. C. Baxter, a faithful member and a zealous worker.
A large Bible for the lectern and book of altar services were given by the girls of Mrs. Houston’s Bible class in 1909.
Miss Florence Houston presented in 1910 a beautiful brass alms basin in loving memory of “My brother Stewart Fielde Houston Esq., of Toronto, who passed away February 7, 1910. The memory of the Just is Blessed.”
In 1910 a lectern was presented by Mrs. W. W. Woodruff who also at her death left $1,000 to reduce the church mortgage.
In March, 1910, the font and font ewer were presented by Miss Blauvelt and Miss Ship to the Church as memorials “In memory of A.T.S and A.P.B.
During 1911-1912 Mrs. R. W. Booth donated a beautiful set of altar linens worked by herself after a design obtained from The Sisters of St. John the Divine, Toronto.
In 1912 Mrs. B. L. Northcott donated the altar cross, and in the same year the brass altar book rest was presented by Mrs. Hoey.
In 1913-1914 a silver flagon and credence paten, credence table and wainscoting in the chancel were presented by Miss E. and Mr. H. C. Rogers in memory of Agnes Patterson Rogers, while Mrs. Gardiner donated an oak case for the communion set in loving memory of Agnes Rogers.
A music cabinet for the choir was presented to the Christ Church choir at Christmas 1926 by Mr. Samuel Stuckey who later in 1930 built and presented to the parish two handsome hymnal boards.
The beautiful ornamental lighting fixtures in the church were placed there in 1931 through the efforts of the Ladies Guild.
A silver wafer box was given to the Glory of God and in loving memory of Frances Jane Kemp and Henry Porter Woodworth, by their daughter Mary L. Oliver.
The baptistery gates were given to the Glory of God and in loving memory of William E., Mary E. and Wilbert G. Yorke, by the family.
On October 23, 1960 two copper candlesticks were presented by Miss Helen Nelles, in loving memory of Ontario A. Nelles and Margaret M. Graham, also of Richard M. Graham and Margaret Baxter.
The baptistery was made possible by bequests from Mrs. M. McLean and M. Hughson and by donations from other friends and members of Christ Church. It was dedicated on October 23, 1960 by Archdeacon W. H. Langhorn.
In December 1963 an altar cloth (The Lord’s Supper) was presented by Mrs. Ada Held in loving memory of her daughter.
Two chalice palls were given by the Altar Guild in loving memory of Caroline Cullimore.
The original pipe organ was given by the Young Ladies Guild in 1896 at a cost of $1150.
The church notice tablets placed on the outside wall of the tower were erected by the Men’s Service Club on September 1934.
At Easter 1913, two silver chalices were presented by Mrs. Chas. Keller in loving memory of her husband Chas. F. D. Keller and sons George L. C. and William H. Keller.
In 1912 Miss Blauvelt presented altar flower vases in memory of H. C. Blauvelt.
A pair of brass candlesticks for the altar was presented in memory of Wm. L. Bacon and Florence W. Bacon.
Two wooden floor candlesticks were given by Elizabeth A. Hamilton in memory of her daughter Audrey Louise Hamilton (1893-1913) and husband William John Hamilton (1866-1939).
A set of altar linen was given by Miss Maisie Roberts in memory of her mother.
A complete set of altar linen and super-frontals presented by Miss Laura Hyatt in memory of Archdeacon A.T. F. Holmes.
Altar antependia was presented by Mrs. C. Olmsted in memory of William Smith Baker and his wife Amelia McKenzie.
The litany desk was donated in memory of Chas. James McKenzie (1847-1927) and his wife Sarah Ellen Huff (1848-1928), by their daughter Clara McKenzie Olmsted and Ada McKenzie Baker.
The colours of the 44th Lincoln and Welland Regiment which have been placed on the north wall in the chancel were deposited in Christ Church for safe-keeping on June 30, 1929.
A wooden processional cross in loving memory of Alex Crossett who died in 1949 was given by his wife.
The brass processional cross was offered to the Glory of God and given in loving memory of the members and former members of the A.Y.P.A of this Church who gave their lives for King and Country in the Second World War. It was donated by the A.Y.P.A of Christ Church.
The bookcase to the right of the baptistery gates was presented by Lt. Col. M. Barry Watson, E.D. Warden, and Mrs. Mary E. R. Watson.
A lavabo was presented by the A.W. A. in memory of Miss J. Spong.
A credence paten was presented at Christmas 1946 by Mr. and Mrs. Chas. S. Stuckey.
A pair of brass altar flower vases in memory of Major John Thomson was given by his wife.
A hymn and prayer book at the right of the chancel was offered to the Glory of God and in remembrance of the life and works of Mary Denniston Stevenson (May 1, 1882-April 18, 1941) with the inscription: “Safe in the arms of Jesus.”
A green burse and veil were given by Christ Church Girl Guides.
White and red altar hangings were given by Miss Doris Matthews, violet hangings were given by Mrs. M. Cornelius, and green hangings were given by Mrs. Upton.
Two sets of collections plates were given by Afternoon W. A. members.
A funeral pall was donated by Mrs. H. Brooker.
The framed picture of Jesus, in the MacDonald room, was given in memory of Roger Arthur Sawyer by Ada Held and her family.
In the parish office, a framed oil painting of Christ Church was given “in loving memory of Michael Orr 1951-1959, “A little Child shall lead them,” by his parents.
In 1985 an Altar Missal of the Book of Common Prayer was donated in memory of Esther Barclay by her friends and associates.
Over the years, Christ Church has been the grateful recipient of countless bequests of sacred items and monetary memorials. These are listed in former histories of the church and parish, and below are several more, dating from 1990 and later.
Memorials in the Tench, Simpson, Wilson, Perry and Hanna accounts are still creating funds from the interest.
The 1995 vestry report lists the following estates as investments: J. R. Near, Laura Hyatt, Pauline Rookley, Lulu Petrie, Thomas S. Roberts, Weaver.
The bell rope installed in the St. Francis Chapel was given in memory of Bob Stuckey (1998).
The MacDonald Room was refurbished through a bequest of the Jean Acherley Estate.
Donations were made in memory of Vera Hilts and Joyce Moreau for the kitchen in Memorial Hall, and also in memory of Hazel Stevenson for the Crysler Room Kitchen.
A donation was made in memory of Dora Cullimore by her daughter. (1995).
Sizable estates were left to the church by Dorothy Smith and Norma Crane totaling close to $500,000. Some of this money was used for air conditioning the church and upgrades in the rectory. Some was also used to help finance the Diocesan Evangelism Office. The bulk of the money has been invested and we are benefiting from the interest of this investment.
The sound system in Memorial Hall was donated in memory of Bill Bazeley (2003).
The altar bells were donated on July 24, 2005 by Brian and Carol-Ann Sage in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Winship. The bells are more than one hundred years old, and were obtained from a parish in Montreal.
On Sunday, October 2, 2005 the wooden processional cross originally used in the parish of St. Stephen’s was rededicated in Christ Church by Bishop Joseph Fricker.
The New Organ of Christ Church
Built especially for Christ Church by the Wicks Organ Co., the new organ was installed in February 1964, and played by Mr. H. E. Bennett, February 9. The first recital was given on February 24 by Mr. Douglas Campbell, organist of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Waterloo, Ontario. The organ was financed by special donations from the congregation and organizations, in memory of the departed members of our congregation and of those who made the supreme sacrifice in the two World Wars.
Special Events and Interesting Facts
The first pew on the right side of the nave is dedicated to the October 14, 1951 visit of H.R.H. Queen Elizabeth (then Princess Elizabeth) and her husband Prince Philip to Christ Church. It is the actual pew used by them on their visit and was retained in its original condition when all the others were replaced.
The first baptism of the parish was of Martha Selina Johnstone, age 6, on Nov. 8, 1864. The first marriage was in July of that year of Mr. Harry Evan Canon and Miss Sideney Brinkley.
The first death and burial was of Mr. A. Stott, age 45.
In 1989, there were 14 baptisms, 10 marriages and 32 funerals.
In 1992 there were 6 baptisms, 10 marriages and 22 funerals.
In 2006, there were 10 baptisms, 5 marriages and 10 funerals, with another 12 funerals conducted by Christ Church clergy in funeral chapels.
For many years during the thirties and forties, Archdeacon G. B. Gordon gave each choir boy five cents for every service at which they sang.
An anniversary party for the 50th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s ascension to the throne was marked by a roast beef dinner. Rev. Duncan Lyon led the service and the royal toast was proposed by Town Crier Derek Tidd. A Jubilee flag was presented to the church on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Queen’s visit to Christ Church.
In 1998, a new name was given to the Upper Hall. Christened Memorial Hall, the name memorializes everyone, and everyone can remember whom they wish to remember.
Christ Church is the Garrison Church in Niagara Falls of the Lincoln and Welland Regiment.
The first Canadian investiture service of the International Order of St. George was held at Christ Church in May of 2003. The Rev. Duncan Lyon, Derek Tidd, Brian Sage, Joanne Hayes, and Betty Lou Manker were made officers in this Order. The Order itself was founded in Hungary in 1326, thus pre-dating the Order of the Garter. Further ceremonies were held in May of 2005 when new members were inducted and Father Duncan Lyon was made Lt. Col. (Honorary) in the National Guard of Hungary, and received the Medal of Merit and Cross of St. George.
Many outside groups take advantage of the space offered by Christ Church. Yoga instructions are given numerous times through the week by Dorothy Bazeley and Beverly Price. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous have also used the space. The Golden Hour Bridge Club enjoys luncheons catered by the In Betweens.
In 2003, the parish made a special covenant with the Diocese of Niagara for $4,565 a year for the five years to cover the Residential School Settlement project.
It was noted that the insured value of Christ Church properties in 1992 was $2,202,502.
Average church attendance in 1994 was 90, out of a possible 372. In 2004, average church attendance was 131, with 155 envelope subscribers. There were six baptisms, five weddings and three funerals, although Christ Church clergy conducted 15 funerals in total.
Our Coat of Arms
In 2003 an official petition was made to Robert Watt, Esq., Chief Herald of Canada at Rideau Hall, Ottawa to grant that “the parish be granted armorial bearings by the Canadian Crown under the powers held by Her Excellency, the Governor General.” This petition was granted and our Coat of Arms arrived in late December of 2006. The motto comes from the biblical book of Revelation and also refers to the sound of the nearby Niagara Falls. The water of the river is represented by the vertical, blue wavy lines. The symbol in the middle consists of the first two Greek letters in the word “Christ,” and the crown on the top represents the visit made by then Princess Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth II. The flowers in the crown represent the floral industry of the area.
Christ Church Rectors
Christ Church Wardens