St. Thomas Anglican Church (Silver Creek, Quebec)
|St. Thomas Silver Creek|
|Location||1007 Range 5 Ouest, Lochaber-Partie-Ouest, QC J0X 3BO|
|Denomination||Anglican Church of Canada|
|Diocese||Anglican Diocese of Ottawa|
|Rector||The Rev. Jeannie Loughrey|
|Churchwarden(s)||Rolla McIntosh (Steward)|
St. Thomas Anglican Church is a historic country church located in Lochaber-Partie-Ouest, Quebec, Canada. Built in 1877, the church is a simple, one room log structure with no running water or telephone. Electricity was brought to the facility in the mid-twentieth century and is now used to heat and light the building.
St. Thomas' began as an offshoot of St. Stephen's Anglican Church, Buckingham, Quebec. Under the direction of the Anglican Diocese of Montreal, ministers from Buckingham began making regular Sunday trips to Silver Creek by horse and buggy - or sleigh if necessary - in the 1850s and 1860s. Congregations initially gathered in the local school house before the community came together to erect the current structure, which was built primarily of hemlock logs on a lot donated by Joseph C. Storey in 1877. The white board and batten exterior that currently graces the church dates to the early 1900s.
The Diocese of Montreal formally transferred responsibility for the Parish of Buckingham, comprising St. Stephen's and St. Thomas', to the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa in the mid-twentieth century. The Diocese of Ottawa continues to administer affairs at St. Thomas' to this day.
Sadly, St. Thomas' storied history has included a number of burglaries and break-ins. In 1995 burglars stole the building's antique windows and all of the church's contents except the altar and the pews. In 2007, burglars again stole all of the church's linens, as well as communion chalices, an antique brass cross, and the church's two Memorial Rolls of Honour for veterans of The First and Second World Wars. In early 2009, the church's antique wooden door was damaged by vandals.
Despite these challenges, the Silver Creek community continues to rally together in support of its "little white church." New windows, lecterns, and an antique pump organ were donated by local Anglicans following the 1995 burglary, and new silverware and linens were donated following the 2007 incident. A hand carved wooden cross made by one of the church's long time members, Ron McDermid, now sits proudly at the front of the church in the place of honour once occupied by its brass predecessor. On November 8, 2009, the congregation formally rededicated two restored Memorial Rolls of Honour with the support of Veterans Affairs Canada and The Royal Canadian Legion. Over 70 people, including many surviving veterans, their families and local political leaders were in attendance for the rededication.
Throughout its history St. Thomas' has maintained a consistent Sunday congregation of approximately 8 to 12 parishioners. Major feasts and special events such as Easter, the Thanksgiving Harvest Festival, and the candlelight Christmas Eve service draw larger groups of worshipers. The church can comfortably seat 45 people and visitors at "The Creek" are always welcome. Local folklore holds that the one room church is considered to be "the church hall" until the ringing of the ceremonial bell at the beginning of every service - at this point the church becomes "the church" and the designated leader begins to lead the service. Following the benediction, dismissal, and a further ringing of the bell, the church reverts to being "the church hall" and becomes a focal point for the discussion of local affairs and upcoming events in the small farming community.
The church today
St. Thomas' is designated as a chapel of ease, connected to the Parish of Chelsea-Lascelles-Wakefield. Services are held seasonally, and the church is also available by request for weddings, baptisms, confirmations, funerals, and other special occasions.
On September 18, 2011 St. Thomas successfully relaunched its Harvest Festival, a once annual event that in past generations was the perennial highlight of the fall social calendar. The 2011 event, which featured a lamb roast and potluck, was very well attended and built upon the tradition of the earlier festivals by helping to reinforce the strong bond between the church and local farmers.
135th anniversary celebration
In 2012 St. Thomas celebrated its 135th anniversary as a worshiping congregation. A special service was held on Sunday September 30th 2012 to mark the occasion. The service was led by The Right Reverend Dr. John Chapman, Bishop of Ottawa, and included the confirmation of three parishioners, followed by a reception at St. Stephen's church hall in Buckingham.
- Anglican Diocese of Ottawa
- St. Stephen's Anglican Church, Buckingham, Quebec
- Anglican Church of Canada
- Anglican Communion
- Lochaber-Partie-Ouest, Quebec
- Willard Vandine Smith, "Silver Creek: The Centre of the World," (Wawa: Friesens Publishing, 2001), 97. ISBN 0-9688962-0-0
- Pierre Louis-Laporte, "In the heart of the Lower Lievre District the City of Buckingham from its earliest beginnings: 1824-1990," (Buckingham: Love Printing Services, 1990), 69. ISBN 2-921282-10-0.
- Smith, 97