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The Mission of the Bay of Islands

The Mission of the Bay of Islands



The first place of worship in the Mission of the Bay of Islands was a log house at Birchy Cove. This building was used until the Church, which was dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin, was complete enough for that purpose. Bishop Kelly consecrated St. Mary's on July 30 1871.

In 1881 the Mission of the Bay of Islands was divided into the Mission of the Bay of Islands and the Mission of Bonne Bay. The Rev. U.Z. Rule was the first resident Clergyman of the northwest coast with his headquarters at Birchy Cove (now Curling) The Mission at that time extended from the Bay of Islands as far north as Daniel's Harbour. The area was vast, and included such places as Birchy Cove, John's Beach, Meadows, Lark Harbour, Cox's Cove, Trout River, Woody Point, Birchy Head, Rocky Harbour, Cow Head and Daniel's Harbour.

St. Mary's Church was enlarged during the incumbency of the Rev. JJ Curling. (Birchy Cove was later renamed Curling after Rev JJ Curling.) Bishop Jones consecrated the extension in the summer of 1886. Its construction was that of True Gothic architecture. The choir stalls and pulpit were made of oak, while the interior was white pine. There were twenty-one stained glass windows to add to its beauty.

The Mission of the Bay of Islands in 1896 was extended from Coal River (now Serpentine) to Grand Lake and North to Chimney Cove. In 1926 the Parish of the Bay of Islands was divided and the new Parish of Corner Brook was formed with the Rev. N. Vivian as its first Rector

Fire destroyed St. Mary's Church on February 5 1950. All of its contents were lost to the fire although the parish registers were saved, it is said, by the caretaker of the Church, Mr. Rourke. The rector at that time was Rev. W. Wells. A new Church was built and was dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin on Sept 18 1955 at a more central location.

Another division was made to St. Mary's on May 6 1955 at a meeting of the Parish Council. At that time it was decided to form the Parish of \Meadows to take care of all of the Anglican parishioners on the North side of the Bay of Islands. The first rector for the Parish was Rev. F. Hollands.

In its centenary year ( 1965) the Parish of the Bay of Islands consisted of the Congregations of St. Mary's, Curling, St. Ambrose, John's Beach, and St. James at Lark Harbour.

Incumbents- Mission/Parish of the Bay of Islands

      Rev. UZ Rule 1865 - 1872
      Rev. E. Botwood 1873
      Rev. JJ Curling 1873 - 1889
      Rev. JG Norman 1886 - 1887
      Rev. FW Colley 1887 - 1891
      Rev. A Currie 1891 - 1895
      Rev. A E Waghorne 1895 - 1898
      Rev. HG Pegg 1899 - 1903
      Rev. H Petley 1903 - 1933
      Rev. GS Templeton 1934 - 1949
      Rev. W Wells 1949 - 1963
      Rev. J Reid 1963 - 1970
      Rev. AW Churchill 1970 - 1978
      Rev. L Collett 1978 - 1983
      Rev. K Turnbull 1983 - 1986
      Rev. Canon Joyce Payne 1991 -

In 1983 Curling became a separate Parish and the Parish of the Bay of Islands included the people from Halfway Point to Lark Harbour.

Lay Readers
      GE Sanders 1898
      Walter K Pitcher 1898 -1899
      Eli Parsons
      John Dawe
      Fred Mitchell late 70's - 1986
      Kevin Barnes 1990 - 1991
      Eric Humber 1990 -


Information and photo on the Mission of the Bay of Islands
was contributed by Linda Elkins-Schmitt

Page Revised: July 2002 (Don Tate)

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