In this time of adversity, remembering the courage it took to build St. Barnabas
On Sunday the Parish celebrated the Feast of Dedication, marking the 68th year of consecration of the current church building, and the 131st year of service since the Church's founding in 1889.
During the trials of the current global pandemic, it's worth remembering that St. Barnabas has been no stranger to difficult times. The construction of the second Church took place at the height of the Great Depression, and represents an almost unimaginable act of faith and financial sacrifice by the parishioners of the day.
Here is a brief timeline of events leading up to the Church's dedication:
April 11th, 1928: The mortgage on the old church was ceremoniously burned.
April 29th, 1929: A congregational meeting was held, and it was decided to erect a new church building. The Right Reverend Robert Jefferson, later Bishop of the Diocese of Ottawa, recalls: "In six minutes flat more than $3,000.00 was pledged and never once have I heard anyone say: 'We were never told the cost'." What a spirit those people had! With the depression deepening around them they shouldered a staggering financial burden and never faltered. Some 86 members of the congregation personally guaranteed mortgage bonds totalling $94,750.00 to make the construction of the new church possible." Adjusted for inflation, the amount each member would have pledged would be over $20,000 in today's dollars.
May 23rd, 1931: The Rt. Rev. John Charles Roper officiated at the laying of the cornerstone of the new church.
Sunday, October 18th, 1931: The last services in the old St. Barnabas Church were held.
Wednesday, October 31st, 1931: The new Church of St. Barnabas was solemnly dedicated, the Rt. Rev. John C. Roper officiating.
October 20th, 1952: The Church of St. Barnabas, Apostle and Martyr, was duly consecrated by Bishop Jefferson.
At the Consecration Dinner on October 28th, 1952, Fred G. Smith, a former warden, gave an address. Here is an excerpt:
My friends, let us never forget these three things: 1-The cornerstone laid on May 23rd, 1931, is only a piece of stone. 2-The Church of St. Barnabas was not born on May 23rd, 1931. 3-The real cornerstone, the Spiritual Cornerstone, was laid in the hearts and minds of those men and women who, for many years after 1895, weathered the storm of criticism, loved and possessed their church, gave their money, time and labour, washed and swept the church, rang the bell, lit the fires in the stove and cleared out the ashes, put up storm windows, shovelled snow, and, without any thought of lowering their dignity, worked at anything for the Glory of God and the Church of St. Barnabas.
The two main sources of information for this article come from: "Faith of our Fathers" - The Story of the Diocese of Ottawa, by The Right Reverend Robert Jefferson (The Anglican Book Society, Ottawa, 1957), and "Merrily on High in Ottawa" - The Story of the Church of St. Barnabas, Apostle and Martyr 1889-1989 (Ottawa, 1989).