Sunday, October 28, 2012

                                                                                                                   October 28, 2012

161 East 12th Street
South West Corner of East 12th Street and St. Georges Avenue
Built in 1912
First Baptist Church
North Vancouver, B.C. Canada

The Building Permit Book at the North Vancouver Archives lists the Baptist Church at 161 East 12th Street as being applied for in 1912.  That the church was on the south west corner of East 12th Street and St. Georges Avenue in the City of North Vancouver is confirmed by its listing in the 1912 City Directory.  By 1925 the City Directory refers to the church as "First Baptist Church" and its address as 161 East 12th Street.

Fire Insurance Map 1930
(Church in solid blue)

This 1912 clapboard church had front and side gabled roofs with knee braces.  It had an upper and lower floor and a basement. The front entrance to the church faced East 12th Street. (See top photo.)  

The 1930 Fire Insurance Map outlines its shape and position on the corner. It also mentions its height to the eaves and being 25 feet. (It also lists the address as 165.)

Renovation Plans

The June 1940 Proposed Renovation Plans by Mercer and Mercer Architects, the Birks Building, Vancouver show four views of the changes to the First Baptist Church at 161 East 12th Street.  The photo below shows the renovations completed.  The 1965 Fire Insurance Map describes the siding as "rough cast stucco". (It also lists the address as 172.)

Entrance East 12th Street
(Photo taken in 1967)

St. Georges Avenue Side
(Photo taken in 1967)

The firm of Mercer and Mercer Architects also designed Shaughnessy Hospital in 1940,  (Link 1.)  additions to John Oliver School in 1950 and 1954, (Link 2.)  and The Waldorf Hotel in 1947, (Link 3.) all in Vancouver. 

The final listing  in the City Directory at the North Vancouver Archives for the First Baptist Church at 161 East 12th Street is in 1967.  A note accompanying the 1967 photos of the church (above) states the date at June 1967 and that the church is "ready for demolition".

1965 Fire Insurance Map
(Church in solid pink)

Note:For more information on the site at
           161 East 12th Street,see Blog Demolition Mama at
  "104 Fires in the City" 
           Thursday, 1/7/2010 .

Photos: Copied and photo shopped from files at the North Vancouver Archives,
           photos and Fire Insurance Maps 1930 and 1965.
Link 1.
Link 2.
Link 3:


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

Sunday, October 21, 2012

                                                                                     October 21, 2012

1703 North Washington
(1932 Parish Hall, on the left)

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church
Spokane, Washington

"We are a parish of the Metropolis of San Francisco of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, which is under the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.

"The people of our parish come from America, Armenia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Eritrea, Greece, Lebanon, Romania, Russia, Serbia, and Ukraine, among other places. 

"Church services are sung in English, Greek, and Slavonic." (Link 1.)

1948 Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church

"The original draw to the area was the railroad industry, which at the beginning employed many of the (Greek) immigrants...Before long, many... opened businesses the downtown area, ...nicknamed "Little Greek Town."...These pioneers organized themselves into the Hellenic Club....Being that no Greek Orthodox Church existed here, (they) would gather in local parks to celebrate...religious holidays... By the late 20's, there was a handful of young couples who organized periodic Greek Orthodox services with priests that would visit from Portland...this devotion to the Greek Orthodox faith led to the erection of the Parish Hall in 1932...This Parish Hall gave the Greek community a kitchen and dining hall on the lower level, and  an upper level where services were held.  Today there is an auditorium (with a stage) and an office on the main level in that area.

Sanctuary in 1948 Building

"On March 28, 1948 the cornerstone laying ceremonies took place." (Link 1.) (for the new church).  The architect was Frank Toribarra and the builder was McKenna and Roberts. Father Stavros  Zanis, the parish priest at that time, urged the church to be modeled after Agia Sophia in Constantinople. ..In September, 1951 the parish's second priest, the Reverend Dianysios Assimakides, accompanied by Presvytera Anastasia,  arrived, (and) immediately began to ....complete the interior of the church...New  pews were purchased...others donated the icons which adorn the nave and the altar. 

With the arrival of the parish's third priest in 1960, Fr Nicholas Velis and his presvytera Francis, the two buildings were connected by an entry way and choir loft as well as Sunday School rooms to house the many children were completed.

"...the major icons were painted by ...Nickolas John Damascus (a congregation member)." (Link 1.) "The Pantokrator, the main icon in a Byzantine church, is that of Christ the All-powerful which dominates the assembly." (REF 2.) It is painted on the ceiling dome and can be seen in the photo above.The icons on the iconostasis (icon screen) depict the Apostles and other saints of the Greek Orthodox Church. The Ripidia are the "circular images, placed on either side of the Holy Table, (and) are inscribed with icons of the cherubim (angels)." (REF 2.) Other icons depict the saints of the church.

Left Altar Side Panel
(St. Michael in Center Panel-Link 3)
Right Altar Side Panel
(St. Gabriel in Center Panel-Link 3)
Side Wall Stained Glass Windows

The annex connecting the two church buildings was completed in 1961.  It was built by Purvix Construction Company at a negotiated price of $69,500.  The three copper crosses on top of the external domes were added later.  And the church was officially consecrated in 1974.  At this ceremony a gold key was used to unlock the doors and names of relatives were sealed in a special relic case enshrined in the Holy Altar table. (REF 1.)

1961 Annex connecting the two buildings

Front Doors of the Annex

Mosaic above the Front Doors of the Annex

The mosaic above the front doors of the annex was completed in 2002 in memory of Mary Gianetsas, an early parishioner and was done by Eleni Schumacher

Each year since 1935 Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church has  hosted a Annual Greek Dinner Festival.  This year over 2000 people came to the church for lunch or dinner during the 3 day event.  The Greek  specialties made by the women of the church include: "diples"made from cake dough rolled thin, cooked in hot fat, dipped in melted honey, and sprinkled with cinnamon and walnuts; and "dolmanthes, a meat mixture baked in cabbage leaves. The event also features a bazaar and Greek dancing demonstrations. (Link 4.) 

Thank You:To Fr. Stephen Supica for a tour of the church and reviewing this
               blog post.  To Eleni Schumucher (artist of the mosaic above the front
              doors of the annex) for church history and revisions.
Photos: Taken in 2012 by SW.
Link 1:
Link 2:
Link 3:
Link 4:
Reference 1: Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church: "from the Beginning..." An 
               Informal History of our Parish, by Mary Damascus, 1997.
Reference 2: Pamphlet Welcome to this Holy House,  Holy Trinity Greek
               Orthodox Church.


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

Sunday, October 14, 2012

949 West 49th Street
Unitarian Church of Vancouver

Unitarian Church of Vancouver
Vancouver, B.C. Canada

Built in 1964 "The Unitarian Church, winner of the first (1965) Citation Buildings Competition, is a fine example of the Modernist idiom, possibly influenced by work of the Prairie School initiated by Frank Lloyd Wright, but given a local interpretation." (Link 2.) 

 It is "...the first post-1940s building added to the City of Vancouver heritage register. The building complex, clustered around a beautiful open courtyard, features cubic composition, overhanging flat roofs and floor-to-ceiling windows." (Link 1.) 

"The building was designed by architect Wolfgang Gerson, (a UBC School of Architecture instructor and himself a Unitarian-Link 3) one of many architectural and engineering professionals dislocated by events of the Second World War, who immigrated to Vancouver and influenced the local design community with their European Modernist sensibilities. 

"The Unitarian Church is culturally important for representing the wave of investment in community institutions during the decades after the Second World War. Many churches, synagogues and temples were built on the south side of Vancouver (Oakridge area)  in this period. Together with public spending on schools, libraries, and community centres, church construction demonstrates the relative economic ease with which major facilities were built in Vancouver in the 1960s. The relocation of the Unitarian Church from the Kitsilano neighbourhood to this site denotes the increasing mobility of citizens through the widespread use of the automobile. " (Link 2.)


"The Sanctuary is a light-filled room, (Note photo of ceiling skylight.) holding up to (300) people. It is a unique space for weddings, memorials, and other rites of passage. The large stage at the front of the room is ideal for recitals, choirs, chamber groups and plays. Equipped with microphones operated by a sound booth in the balcony, it has excellent acoustics....Throughout the year, the walls of the sanctuary are hung with monthly rotating art exhibits(Link 1.)  

In preparation for the 50th anniversary in 2014 much redecoration is underway  through out the buildings. The  intention is to provide a mid century look and feel to the building.  "Much of this has been the result of the work of Bennett Mitten, a church member and volunteer, who has been named this year by the Board as "Design Consultant In Residence" 2012 to 2014.... Bennett is a talented local furniture maker." (Elaine Spilos.)

Sanctuary "Stitcheries" (Detail)

The floor to ceiling "stitcheries" hung on either side of  the front of the sanctuary were designed by Wolfgang Gerson.  "They were made by a group of women all members of the church under the direction of Penny Goldstone who was a fabric artist and art instructor in the Education Deparment at UBC.  Each panel was stitched by a different person."  (Erika Gerson.)

 Sanctuary Ceiling Skylight
Hewett Centre

"Hewett Centre (named for minister Phillip Hewett-Link 3.) features a large hall, an up-to-date kitchen, the popular Fireside Room, and (other) meeting rooms to accommodate groups of various sizes. 

"The Main Hall in Hewett Centre can easily accommodate 100 people. It is used to host wedding ... receptions, large meetings, cabarets, pot luck dinners, auctions, and a variety of family and community celebrations.

"The Fireside Room at Hewett Centre is often used for celebrations, services and meetings. It can accommodate up to 50 people for presentations, slide shows, workshops and receptions. Lighting can be set to enhance a variety of moods. Our Art Committee ensures that this room has a rotating art exhibit on the walls." (Link 1.)

Fireside Room Fireplace 

"The mosaic in the Fireside was done by Bob Kingsmill...(Link 5.) He was commissioned by Wolfgang Gerson." (Connie Wigmore) 

The central courtyard ambles between the Sanctuary, the Administration building on the south and the Hewett Centre on the west.  The lovely grounds surrounding the buildings include: the Memorial Garden, several sculptures, and "Arbutus, Cedrus, Magnolia, Rhododendron, Acer" (Link 2.) trees.

Courtyard Sculpture "Beginnings"
by  John Voth

"That piece outside the window on the balcony stairs is by John Voth. He recalls its name as being "Beginnings", a reference to how the opposable thumb made survival for our species possible, leading to what we optimistically refer to as civilization (and facilitating snapping one's fingers)." (Rob Taylor)

Court Yard Sculpture "Ballerina"

At the 11am service on Sunday,  September 9, 2012 the Unitarian Church of Vancouver was presented with a Heritage Plaque as part of the celebration of 
Vancouver's 125th birthday.  The 125 sites were selected as "places where 

people and events shaped Vancouver's future and continued to tell the stories 

of Vancouver's past." (Link 4.)  

The Vancouver Unitarian Church welcomes visitors and rentals of its facilities.  Information is available on its website. (Link 1.)

Thank you: To Rev. Dr. Steven Epperson, Minister of the Unitarian Church of
                 Vancouver and congregation members: Carolyn Grant, Patti Turner,
                 Connie Wigmore, Erika Gerson, and Rob Taylor for their assistance.
                 Revisions directed by Elaine Spilos.
Photos: Taken August 2012 by SW.
                 Of Marjorie Smith photo, copy by SW.

In Memory of Marjorie Smith
1915 to 2012

Marjorie Smith
A mother and musician extraordinaire.
Member of the Unitarian Church of Vancouver.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

                                                                                                   October 7, 2012

1663 Peninsula Road

St. Aidan's on the Hill Anglican/United Church
Ucluelet, B.C. Canada

Ucluelet British Columbia is a small natural harbor town on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Vancouver Island is 290 miles long and a 1 1/2 hour ferry ride from the mainland of British Columbia. To then get to Ucluelet is another 2 1/2 hour drive through small towns and then across the mountains. Until the 1950's the only access was by car to Port Alberni about in the center of the Island, and then by boat, probably the rough and ready Lady Rose. In fact, until the 1970's only a gravel logging road could be used for the the trip up one side of the mountain "switch backs" and then down the other side to the wild west coast rain forest that lead to the highway along the ocean and to Ucluelet at the south end and Tofino, an even smaller town, on the north end. When you reached Ucluelet all purchases cost 20 cents more per pound because of the freight charge. Today a paved road extends all the way to UclueletTofino, and Pacific Rim National Park. (See Link 3.)

Ucluelet means "people of safe harbor" in Nootka, the name of the Native Peoples that first populated the area. In 1870 a trading post was established and settlers followed in 1890. In 1898 the Presbyterians built the first Mission. In 1903 a lighthouse, telegraph station and lifeboat stations were added. The town became incorporated in 1952 and today there are 1500 residents.

Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada

St. Aiden's On-The-Hill sits at the top of the hill at the intersection of Peninsula Road and Main Street, the street that leads down to the waters of Barkley Sound and the town pier. Across the street from the church is the Coop making this corner the hub of the town. The church was built by the Anglican Diocese of B.C. in 1952. The prominent bell tower with the cross on it was added at a later date. St. Aiden's is named after a Celtic saint and for that reason Celtic liturgies are used from time to time. The minister is shared with the congregation of the Anglican church in Tofino and lay people help in leading the service and music. The entrance door to the church is on Peninsula Road, the opposite side of the church to what is seen in the photo above. The sanctuary is in the left side of the church photo with the altar in the punch out area where the window with the cross can be seen. The sanctuary can seat 60 to 100 people, however, in the early 1970's only about 20 people actually attended the 9 am Sunday worship service. Joan Scander the present minister reports even less than that in the pews on Sundays. The church at 1663 Peninsula Road is also rented out for community events.

On September 16, 2010 the Westerly News published an article announcing the plans to sell St. Aiden's.  A celebration of its 60 years of worship was held later in that month. (Link 4.)

Thank You: For additional information about the church to Joan Scander
present (2010) minister at St. Aiden's.
Note: St. Aiden's was attended by Suzanne Wilson when she lived on Long Beach in the early 1970's. Her husband was the district school librarian.
Photo:Taken in 2006 by SW.


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