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The Church of the Holy Martyrs
Originally published in the "Diocesan Magazine" (November 1947, pp. 359-65)
A word or two about the beginning and the work of the Church at Port Union, and its progress, might well fit in here. I cannot do better than quote from the Diocesan Magazine of Jan. 1932. "The Church of the Holy Martyrs (that is Port Union Church) was begun as a result of a meeting held by eleven Churchmen, and presided over by Sir W.F. Coaker in August 1918. At that meeting some $2000 was subscribed (each one present giving a handsome donation). A start was made with the building the next summer. It was opened first for Divine Service on Sunday Dec. 19th, 1920, the late Rev. Canon Lockyer and the late Rev. G.S. Chamberlain officiating. It is named the Church of the Holy Martyrs in honour of the Soldiers who fell in the field of battle during the War (that is 1914-18), as Coaker recruits, and each Stained Glass Window in the building bears the name of a fallen hero, and the date when he fell in battle, thus commemorating his "Sacrifice" .
The Reredos and Altar were presented by Sir W.F. Coaker in memory of his parents.
The pulpit was presented by the late H. Crowe of Toronto. All the furniture of the Church is of beautifully polished oak, and shows that those responsible, realized that the best was not too good for the House of God. It was consecrated by Bishop White, on Wednesday, Nov. 4th, 1931, being of course entirely free from debt. There were present beside the Bishop, his Chaplain Rev. H. Torraville, Rev. R.F. Mercer the Incumbent, Rev. J.T. Hiscock, former Incumbent, Rev. C.D.T. Sparsholt, and last but by no means least, the Rev. Canon Bayley, despite his illness.
Sir W.F. Coaker read the petition for Consecration. The Bishop preached from the text "There is none other than the House of God, and this is the gate of Heaven".
Everyone here, will know I am talking about the Church building that was, and is not, for the fire of March 1, 1945, which destroyed the whole Fishermen's Union Stores and premises, as well as some houses, burnt to the ground this Church, with the whole of its furniture, windows and even the Bell.
Hardly had the fire ceased its destructive work when the people of Port Union began to plan another Church to take the place of the destroyed one. Today there is rising on the same foundation another Church, well forward in its construction, as well as a considerable fund towards the payment of the work and material. It is expected that before many months are past Services will be offered again in the new Church on the old site.
Transcribed by James Butler, 1999
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