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St Paul's Anglican Church
St Paul's Anglican Church Vancouver BC, 2015.jpg
St Paul's church with the parish hall (right) and the Pendrellis apartment building (left), 2015
Location Vancouver, British Columbia
Country Canada
Denomination Anglican Church of Canada
Deanery Kingsway
Archdeaconry Burrard
Diocese New Westminster
Province Ecclesiastical Province of British Columbia and the Yukon
Bishop(s) The Right Rev'd John Stephens, Bishop of New Westminster
Rector The Rev'd Philip Cochrane

St. Paul's Anglican Church serves the south-west downtown peninsula of Vancouver, British Columbia, (the West End and Yaletown neighbourhoods) alongside Christ Church Cathedral (established 1888) serving the north-east (Downtown and Coal Harbour neighbourhoods). Both parishes separated from St. James (established 1881), the first Anglican Church in Granville, as Vancouver was then known.

Early history

Church buildings

The Anglican Parish of St Paul was established at a time when the population of Vancouver was rapidly expanding. In response to a demand from a small group of St James' parishioners, a vacant lot was purchased and a daughter church was built in 1889. The parish was established in 1891. The church was located at the centre of the geographically-defined parish, but in 1898 it was placed on skids and moved north-west, away from railway yards in Yaletown and closer to where most parishioners lived in the West End. In 1905, it was replaced by a larger church, and the old church became the parish hall.

St Paul's new and old churches 1905
The new church on the site of the old church with the old church re-located alongside to become the parish hall, 1905

The new church was built in Gothic revival style with pointed-arch windows and doors, following the traditional lines of an English parish church, something that would have been familiar to most of the parishioners at the time, or to their parents.

The church had eighteen windows (not including clerestory windows), all except three glazed with leaded lights. Stained glass was fitted in windows in the east wall (portraying St Paul preaching in Athens), the west wall (St Peter with Dorcas doing good works), and the north transept (Faith, Hope and Charity). Between 1952 and 1964, nine more windows were fitted with stained glass, all in some way portraying Christ. Until 1952, the only portrayal of Christ in the church had been a print showing Jesus as a small boy.

The church pipe organ, Opus 264 by Casavant Frères of Québec, is said to be the first to be constructed west of the Rockies.

The old church was replaced by a new parish hall and a rectory in 1911. In 1929, the rectory was re-located to allow the hall to be extended. By then, the site at the corner of Jervis Street and Pendrell Street had assumed its present configuration, except for a wheelchair ramp added in 2002.

Mortgage costs associated with extending the parish hall were exacerbated by the mid-thirties depression. Optimism, and finances, revived after the Second World War and the mortgage was ceremoniously burned in 1945.

St Paul's Anglican Church burns the mortgage, 1945
Godfrey Gower (centre) and parish officials burn the mortgage on the parish hall, 1945

During the 1960s a plan to build a car park was frustrated by the City of Vancouver. Instead, the parish built, and in 1973 opened, The Pendrellis, a high-rise apartment building for accommodating seniors at subsidised rents. The initiative had unforeseen consequences. Some thirty-five years later, when the cost of the project had been finally covered by revenues, continuing revenues from The Pendrellis enabled St Paul's to fund the community ministries which it had developed in the meantime.

Parish clergy

The first rector, Ernest Flewelling (1891 - 1894), was followed by Thomas Outerbridge and Henry Bowers, both briefly, and then by Harold Underhill (1896 - 1908) during whose incumbency the new church was built. He was followed by Adam de Pencier (1908 – 1910), who resigned to become Bishop of New Westminster, then Frederick Chadwick (1910 - 1913) and then the seventh and lonest-serving rector, Harold King (1914 - 1944). As the Second World War ended Godfrey Gower (1944 – 1951) became rector, resigning to become Bishop of New Westminster, and he was succeeded by Patrick Ellis (1951 - 1960) and then Joe Ellis (1960 - 1973).

Parish activities

From its founding, the parish thrived by serving a large and relatively prosperous middle-class membership. The parish followed a traditional Anglican Sunday liturgical pattern of Holy Communion, Morning Prayer and Evensong, and sponsored well-supported educational and social activities like Sunday Schools, Ladies’ and Men's Guilds, scouts and guides and youth groups.

Liturgical practice tended to be conservative. The introduction of a processional cross in 1931 was contentious, and even more so was the introduction of women into the choir in 1933.

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