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Pioneer Church Work in British Columbia
Being a Memoir of the Episcopate of Acton Windeyer Sillitoe, D.D., D.C.L.
First Bishop of New Westminster.

By the Rev. Herbert H. Gowen, F.R.G.S.

London: Mowbray, 1899.

Chapter XXII.


THE record of 1890, to correspond with the Bishop's dual position as Bishop and Rector, must consist of two stories: the one, describing his progress with the parish work of Holy Trinity, New Westminster, the other, his efforts to perform his episcopal duties.

To secure a closer touch with his new parish, the Bishop had felt the need of building a See House in the city, and it was an event of no little local interest, when, on April i6th, the removal was made from S. Mary's Mount. The "flitting" was effected by dint of hard work in one day, although the interior fittings were as yet incomplete. A Benediction Service was held in the house on the evening of April 23rd, to which were invited all the members of the Parish Workers' Association, to the number of nearly seventy. The house was open to visitors on three afternoons and evenings in the following week, and a large number of friends availed themselves of the opportunity of inspecting it.

No sooner had the Bishop secured a house for himself, than he determined also to secure a home for the various organizations which the parochial work necessitated. The Sunday School, Trinity Church Club, Sewing Guild, etc., were all practically homeless until the Bishop planned the erection of a hall, which, with good acoustic properties, should give to all the manifold agencies of the Church "a local habitation."

The hall, dedicated to S. Leonard--was completed and opened on June 3rd, with an inaugural concert given by the Choral Union, of which the Bishop was the leading spirit. What might be called the parochial inauguration took place on June 5th, when the Bishop gave an address of welcome, and spoke hopefully of the future usefulness of the new hall.

Moreover, the quickening of the Church's vitality in the neighbourhood of Holy Trinity Church did not prevent the claims of other portions of the city from coming under consideration. New Westminster was at this time growing in size and population daily, and like many western cities where the "real estate" is in the hands of a not over-generous few, growing more on the outskirts, where the land was comparatively cheap, than at the centre, where the purchase of corner-lots demanded capital.

Consequently, the small beginnings of a future new parish were made by the commencement of service in the West End School-House, kindly lent for the purpose by the school trustees. But activity in the parish in no way interfered with the visitation of the diocese, as this year we find even more places visited than usual, though we must resist the temptation to describe any of them.

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