Sunday, March 27, 2011

                                                                                                                      March 27, 2011

1700 Mountain Highway
South entrance

Mount Olivet Lutheran Church
North Vancouver, B.C.  Canada

Mount Olivet, or the Mount of Olives, "is a mountain ridge in eastern Jerusalem... (and) is named for the olive groves that covers its slopes.  At the foot of the Mount of Olives lies the Garden of Gethsemane ." It is the place where Jesus ascended into heaven ( Acts 1:9–12) and where it is believed that Jesus will return to earth. (See Link 1.)

The Lutheran church at 17oo Mountain Highway, North Vancouver, B.C is named for that spiritual spot.  It is named Mount Olivet Lutheran Church. The name of the church is depicted by a carving hanging on the narthex wall and repeated in the frosted glass on the doors to the sanctuary. (See Reference and photo below.)

The origins of the present Mount Olivet Lutheran Church congregation are a combination of two former congregations.  One was that of the 1940's North Shore Lutheran Church at 167 East 6th Street in North Vancouver. (See Blog Post 3/25/12.) 

North Shore Lutheran Church
167 East 6th STreet

 This church closed in 1954 and two years later a new mission congregation was formed as Mount Olivet Lutheran Church on Mountain Highway.  First services were conducted in the Lynn Valley Theatre and then in the new parsonage on east 18th Street until the church was built and dedicated on Oct. 21, 1956. (See REF.)

1956-Ed Hoffman and gang 
(REF. 2.)

View of original 1956 building
(Taken by SW 2011.)

The 1956 Mount Olivet Lutheran Church at 1700 Mount Seymour Highway was a two floors brick building with the entrance on Mount Seymour Highway.  The Sunday School was held on the first floor, and a bright sunny Sanctuary with the altar on the south wall on the second floor.  

October 1965 Worship Service in new Sanctuary
(Note dark wood ceiling beams.) (REF. 2.)

1956 Christmas in Sanctuary
(Note clear glass windows.) (REF. 2.)

The other congregation to join Mount Olivet Lutheran Church was  from St. Mark's Lutheran Church built in 1955 at 137 West 6th Street in North Vancouver, "half a block off Lonsdale". (See Blog Post 3/18/12.)

St. Mark's Lutheran Church
137 West 6th Street

 In 1969 this property was sold and the congregation eventually conducted temporary services at Eastview School.  They were then invited in 1970  by Mount Olivet to hold their services at their new church on Mountain Highway. (See REF.)

Although using the same church building the two congregations maintained their independence in organization and worship until 1974 when they became the Mount Olivet Lutheran Federated Parish. In 2002 they dissolved the Federation Agreement and became the ELCIC parish of Mt. Olivet Lutheran. (See REF.)
Front left window

In 1979, a new sanctuary was built on the east side of the 1956 building. The first floor of the 1956 building became the Narthex.  The second floor was divided into smaler rooms and became the Sunday School and Daycare area.

"The stained glass windows were crafted by Paul Kenney and dedicated in 1980, in memory of Jean Williams.  They were a gift from her family, relatives, friends and congregation...the nine windows depict the major festivals of the church year...At the front, left, is another stained glass window also depicting mountains and color symbolism, a memorial to Melita Fromson, added in 2000 by Bill Fromson." (See REF page 13.)

Side major festival windows

"In 1992 the sanctuary was renovated with chancel furnishings and reredos in worshipful depiction of "The Mountains of The Lord", designed by Ernst Schwidder, and pews.  The ... entrance was enhanced... " (See REF page 16.)

"The Mountain's of the Lord"

This welcoming congregation  holds a Sunday Bible Study at 9:30 am (held on Tues. at 10 am after 2013) and worship service at 10:00 am. 

Note: For more history see Blog Post 3/18/12 nd 3/25/12.
Note: Suzanne Wilson visited the Garden of Gethsemane and the Mount  
            of  Olives in 1992 when she joined a tour of Baptist ministers from
            Georgia and Mississippi on their way to Israel.
Photos: Taken in March 2011 by Suzanne Wilson.
Reference 1: Celebrating Fifty Years of Grace, October 22, 2006.
Reference 2: Photo binder in bookshelf of church Narthex.
Link 2:



God, be with the persecuted Christians through out the world. Amen (SW.)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

                                                                                                 March 20, 2011

Saint Mary the Virgin Anglican Church
Metchosin, B.C. Canada

"St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church of Canada, Enter Rest and Pray" is on the sign outside the church at 4354 Metchosin Road in Metchosin, B.C. Metchosin is on the south west coast of Vancouver Island and about half way between Victoria, B.C.'s capital, and Sooke. It is about a 30 minutes drive from Victoria to this small town of 5,000 people on the Juan de Fuca Strait.

"The name Metchosin is the anglicised version of the native "Smets-Schosen", which means "place of stinking fish". Local legend maintains that many years prior to the Europeans' arrival, an orca beached and died, and that everywhere that could smell it rotting became part of Metchosin. The town's museum, which was once its one-room school before an increasing population necessitated a larger building, claims to have vertebrae from the animal on display. Metchosin's community symbol is, perhaps unsurprisingly, an orca." (See Link 2.)

"St. Mary The Virgin Anglican Church was consecrated on October 22, 1873. It is the third oldest Anglican Church in continuous use on Vancouver Island. This small church is still used as a place of worship, but only for special services, funerals, and a Christmas Eve service. Two acres of land was donated for churchyard by Metchosin resident John Witty, sadly, was also the first to be buried on these grounds." (See Link 1.)

A white picket fence with its wrought iron gate surround the small white clapboard church with its steeple and triple chancel window. Scattered through the grassy church yard of spring flowers are grave stones of
parishioners. One of these is a memorial to John Witty.

Photo: Taken in 2006 by SW.
Link 1:
Link 2:,_British_Columbia



God, be with the persecuted Christians through out the world. Amen (SW.)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

                                                                                                         March 13, 2011

330 Boone Avenue

St. Aloysius Catholic Church at Gonzaga
Spokane, Washington

Gonzaga University in Spokane Washington sits on the bank of the Spokane River just north of the downtown area. Gonzaga University was started by the Jesuits in  1887 on a 320 acre of land purchased in 1881 for $936 by Fr. Joseph Cataldo. "It was named Gonzaga College after Italian Aloysius Gonzaga, the patron saint of youth." (Link 2) When the building was completed it was the largest building in Spokane except for the County Courthouse.  The tuition and board for the 20 students at that time was $250 for the ten month term.  A second building was added in 1892. Today 5,000 students attend Gonzaga University. "The campus now includes 94 buildings on 131 acres...Gonzaga employs over 1,200 people " (Link 2)  making it one of the major employers in Spokane.  The university is not only known for its academic excellence, but for its basketball team, the Bulldogs,  affectionately called the Zaggs, and for one of its alumni, Bing Crosby.  Bing Crosby grew up in the area and at age 13 served as an altar boy at the campus church, St. Aloysius.

St. Aloysius Catholic Church is at 330 Boone Ave. and is the eastern anchor of Gonzaga University.  A framed church was originally built in 1881.  It could accommodate a congregation of a few hundred people.  The church and the University recreation hall were moved in 1899. And in 1911 a new St. Aloysius Church designed by Preusse and Little of Spokane was dedicated. This church seats 1100 people.  It is190 feet long, 110 feet wide, and 124 feet high.

"The bell in the east spire was constructed by the Meneely Bell Company of Troy, New York.  It was dedicated on Christmas Day, 1913 and it is named Catherine." (See Reference.)

"The present St. Aloysius church was dedicated October 12, 1911.  It has the largest seating capacity among Catholic churches in Spokane, able to accommodate 1,100 worshippers.  The church, which replaced an original wooden structure, was designed by the architectural firm of Preusse and Little of Spokane.  In an adapted Romanesque style, its many rounded arches and graceful circular features help to soften construction lines.  The church, begun in 1909, took almost exactly two years to build at a cost of $176,125.

Nave and High Altar

" Interior features of St. Aloysius church include oak woodwork, altars and ambo of matching Italian marble.  The high altar was designed and built by the DePrato Studio in Italy.  It stands 26 feet high and is 18 feet wide at its base. The true pipe organ with 37 ranks of keys was acquired in 1927 and rebuilt in the early sixties.  The beautiful gold pipes are ornamental and conceal the actual working pipes behind them." (See Reference.)

Pipe Organ, Balcony, and 3 of the Stations of the Cross

The Stations of the Cross, in three-dimensional plaster, were made by the Mayers’ Studio of Germany.  This firm was also responsible for the magnificent stained glass windows (25 by 12 feet) flanking the nave, the great rose windows surmounting the east and west balconies, and the smaller niche windows, depicting Jesuit saints and the life of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, positioned around the apse. 

In recent years, four new windows have been added depicting  St. Jude, St. Francis Xavier Cabrini, Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha.

"The distinctive twin spires, housing the great bell Catherina, rise 164 feet  above the surrounding area. The crosses topping each spire add another 10 feet, and are visible from vantage points throughout the city."(Link 1.)

The east Rose Window acquired through donations of the Irish community.

The church is open for visitors and for private prayer during daylight hours throughout the year.  Brochures providing a self-guided tour are available in the narthex near the main doors and near the Visitors' Guestbook, and guided tours are scheduled at intervals after the Sunday Masses.   Docents can be available for group tours throughout the year by appointment; call 313-7006 to schedule.

Photos: Taken in 2006 and 2011 by SW.
Link 1:
Link 2:
Link 3:
Reference: Pamphlet, Welcome to St. Aloysius Gonzaga Church.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Walrus Capital of the World
Savoonga Presbyterian Church
Savoonga, Alaska

"The Walrus Capital of the World" is Savoonga, Alaska on St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea. To get there you must first fly to Anchorage then 449 miles north west via Nome and weather permitting, to Savoonga. There in the land of the midnight sun where it snows September to May live 643 people, mainly Yupik Eskimos with relatives in Siberia. Those who aren't Yupik are the teachers mostly from "the lower 48" at the Hogarth Kingeekuk Memorial School for students kindergarten to grade 12.  In 1900 reindeer were introduced to St. Lawrence Island. The herd grew to over 10,000 by 1917. The town of Savoonga grew from a reindeer camp established in 1916 to a village in 1930. Under the Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 it received joint title to St. Lawrence Island with its only other town, Gambell. The main subsistence livelihood is hunting of whales and walrus and carving of figures from walrus ivory and whale bone. The main outdoor sport is snowmobiling.

The Savoonga Presbyterian Church has been there as long as April, the Kingeekuk Memorial School secretary remembers. A large bell sits  to the left of the church doors. April also remembers that it would ring during church services when she was about 10 years old.  That was 28 years ago. She said today there are about ten people in church on a Sunday morning. The present minister of the church is Jacob Meadows. However, there isn't always a minister and then members of the community lead the Sunday services.  Buildings other than the school, housing, and the two churches are: the store, the post office,  a coffee shop, a medical clinic, a bingo hall with a snack shop, an airplane hanger, and a government building. 

Research: Thank you to April, school secretary at Kingeekuk Memorial School 
          in Savoonga, Alaska. 
Link: http://en.wikipedia.or/wiki/Savoonga,_Alaska
Photo: Taken by teacher Laura (Wilson) Misner 2006.



God, be with the persecuted Christians through out the world. Amen (SW.)