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The Weekly Record, Trinity, NF, December 19, 1891
Ireland's Eye Church
Ireland's Eye, as most of your readers know, forms the South West extremity of the Church Mission of Trinity. But being an island there must be many who have not visited the spot. The island is about three miles long and one mile wide in the widest part. Although so small it is well known to fishermen navigating Trinity Bay, and its harbors frequently afford shelter to vessels. Black Duck Cove affords shelter to small craft belonging to the Sound, especially those whose shippers know the rocks. Tray Town, the finest harbor, is seldom visited as no inhabitants have settled on its shores. Ireland's Eye harbor, the chief place of call, has but limited accommodation. It is bounded East and West by rising land, which soon merges into precipitous hills of 400 or 500 feet in height, under these hills and on the rising ground to the north, most of the 200 inhabitants of the island have settled,. They are all members of the Church of England.A school house was erected there some 20 or 30 years ago, and has been opened more or less permanently. On Sundays this building has had to answer the double purpose of a Church and Sunday school.The inconvenience attaching to such an arrangement has long been manifest alike to Clergy and Laity, and some years ago, during the incumbency of the Rev. H. C. H. Johnson, it was determined to build a church on the sloping, rocky eminence at the north of the harbor. This spot seemed the most convenient to all sections of this community, viz. Black Duck Cove, Old Tilt, and the head quarters. The men then divided themselves into crews and crossed to the woods on the mainland, where the frame was cut and shipped t its destination. The sills and sleepers were then laid for the nave 50x25 chancel of due proportions, and steeple 8x8. The people now hesitated, wondering whether a building of such dimensions were needed. Would it ever be completed? At this juncture a change took place in the Missionary. The Rev. H. Johnson was removed and the present Incumbent succeeded him. After learning the cause of hesitancy he called a meeting to discuss the matter. Everyone seemed to feel the proposed building would be larger than necessary. The Incumbent suggested what he thought the most ready and economical way of reducing the size, viz. to cut off the chancel and build a chancel within the nave. This plan was adopted by a unanimous vote, subject to the approval of the Executive Committee of the Synod. The Incumbent stated at the meeting that the system of alloting the pews would necessitate the building of a larger instead of smaller Church if every applicant wished to have a pew. Bearing that in mind he felt it his duty to stipulate a sine qua non for the alteration. The condition was readily accepted. It was proposed seconded and carried without a dissenting voice "that the church be free and unappropriated."
So much for the preliminaries. The alteration was sanctioned by the Executive, and now let us see the results.
In Sept. 1890 the Lord Bishop visited the Island to administer the Apostolic rite of Confirmation, and at that time expressed a wish that the nave of the building would be erected and covered during the fall. The following month the energetic Churchwardens, Mr. Thos. Hodder and Mr. John Cooper, called the congregation together to collect their first subscription to the Building Fund. And the Churchwardens did not retire to rest until $200.00 had been promised to the fund. This amount surpassed as it did the most legitimate expectations was the more gratifying from the well known fact that the donors of some of them had to exercise a great amount of self denial.
The King of Israel wisely determined not to offer to the Lord his God that which cost him nothing. But which of our readers would have the courage to follow the example of one fisherman and may his summer account and then, without making any provision for the winter, devote the rest of his voyage, his all, to the building of a house of God. Was this not a repetition of the widow's mite. The mite in this case was $6.00. Such offerings we must believe call down God's blessings upon them, especially when offered with humility, with an acknowledgment to God that
"To Thee they all belong; to Thee
In November the work commenced. Mr. Willis Pittman of New Perlican was engaged as Foreman for one month. The inhabitants doing the rest of the work. By the end of the month the roof with the exception of a few feet, was ready for the galvanized iron with which it is covered, but the weather being cold this was left until the Spring.
In March the work was recommenced in earnest and pushed forward with such zeal that it might have been ready for consecration before the fishing commenced had the Bishop been able to consecrate it this year; as this could not be, much of the ornamental work was left unfinished, and Mr. W. Pittman has now spent a second month on the Island, and finished what is probably one of the prettiest churches in the Bay.
Transcribed by James Butler, 2001.
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