Parishioners in period costume – Louise Charette, Bonnie Allan, Janet Coghlan, Carol Trueman and Anne Honeysett – met guests at a Saturday open house. (Neil Corbett/THE NEWS)

B.C.’s oldest church marks its 160th anniversary

Special service on Sunday at St. John the Divine Anglican Church in Maple Ridge

Sunday will mark a special anniversary service at St. John the Divine Anglican Church in Maple Ridge, which is celebrating its 160th anniversary.

Many of the women parishioners dressed in period costumes for an open house on Saturday when tours of the historic church were offered.

On Sunday, a special service will be offered, presided over by Archbishop Melissa Skelton, of the Diocese of New Westminster, who was the first female archbishop in the Anglican Church in Canada.

Rev. Laurel Dahill, the Vicar at St. John the Divine who offers weekly services, said the church community is proud of their church’s history.

“It’s part of their identity, and it’s a unique story – how many churches get floated across a river,” she said. “And the whole idea behind that was to get the church where the people are.”

“That’s a serious commitment to the community, and we want to honour that commitment from the past and bring it to the future.”

The church was established in 1859, and was originally in Fort Langley. In 1882 it was disassembled, floated across the Fraser River, and the huge pile of lumber rebuilt at the corner of River Road and Laity Street.

Dahill said B.C.’s oldest church remains warm and inviting.

“The traditional historical sanctuary is in terrific shape. They put a lot of love and care into the space, and then they built onto that.”

Services are at 10 a.m., and everyone is welcome, said Dahill.

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