Early Days | Stained Glass Windows | Memorial Garden
1920 to 1934
|For information about
the early days of Holy Trinity, we are indebted to the late Ernest Vare
Harraway, who was Church Secretary, Treasurer and Sidesman for 29 years.
In 1964, after retiring as a Customs Agent at Blaine/Douglas, he wrote
a fascinating history of Holy Trinity. He noted that White Rock was a quiet
little seaside village in 1920, with a population of 500 when the Reverend
W.M. Holdom arrived via horse and buggy from Surrey Centre to conduct services
in a small two-room school on the beach.
In 1921 it was decided to build a church on Victoria Avenue, so work began with one paid carpenter and the rest volunteer labor. It seated about 80 and was dedicated by Archbishop A.U. dePencier on May 1, 1921, with 68 worshipers in attendance.
Rev. Holdom stayed for five years, then was succeeded for two-year periods
by Rev. R.S. Varley, Rev. L. J. Thompson, and Rev. W.E. Daniel. These were
depression days, with Holy Trinity still an assisted three-point parish,
including Crescent Beach (on its own in 1953) and St. Matthew's at Halls
Prairie (closed in 1958).
1935 to 1949
|In September 1935
Rev. H.U. Oswald arrived from All Saints, Mission and stayed until 1939,
when Rev. W.R. Jeffcott was appointed. The depression was waning and by
1942 Holy Trinity was a self-supporting parish, with a rectory on Royal
Avenue. There had been a surge of population in White Rock after the war
and attendance grew, outstripping the capacity of the church. Lots at Roper
and Foster were purchased in 1945, a new rectory built, then a small church
hall completed in the Fall of 1948 and used for services until a new church
could be built.
1950 to 1969
In May of 1950 the
Bishop - Sir Francis Heathcote, appointed the Rev. E. Pitt Griffiths and
tasked him to build a new church and to revitalize the spirit in the Parish.
At a congregational meeting held Feb. 22, 1952, with 115 present, the Rector
and Church Committee were empowered to go ahead with plans for a new church.
It was built at a cost of $30,000, not including the huge amount of volunteer
labor. By November 1952 the foundation stone was laid by Bishop Godfrey
Gower. The Dedication Service by the Bishop was held on April 21, 1954
with 375 in attendance (with the church designed to seat 250). Within four
years the church was free of debt and was consecrated in October 1956.
At the Annual Vestry
Meeting held on January 15, 1960, the church Committee was empowered to
go ahead with plans for a new hall and extension of the church kitchen,
which were all completed by October 1961. Three appeals for funds were
made and by 1963 the hall was debt free and dedicated as Griffiths'Hall,
in tribute to the energetic and dynamic Rev. Pitt Griffith, who remained
as Rector until 1969. He continued as a faithful parishioner of Holy Trinity
until his death in 1983.
1969 to 1975
||In September 1969,
the Reverend John Leslie Clark arrived from St. Mary's Sapperton. Many
current parishioners remember the quiet, pleasant, likeable minister, whose
first decision was to personally visit every parishioner in their home.
His wife Georgina was an exceptional seamstress, making many of our chasubles
and stoles, as well as being very active in the choir and ACW. Rev. Clark
also led a senior youth group of teenagers that made good use of Griffiths
Hall for basketball. He stayed for seven years, then in June 1976 accepted
a position as Rector of St. Helen's in Whalley.
1976 - 1991
The Reverend John
Prince arrived in mid 1976 and remained as Rector for the next fifteen
years. Father Prince was a deeply spiritual person, who inspired fierce
loyalty in many people as a result of his pastoral and hospital visiting.
The old rectory on Foster Street was sold, as the Rector, being single,
preferred to live in a suite. There was a 40% growth in attendance in the
late 70's as construction boomed in White Rock and South Surrey. There
are yearly reports from both the Afternoon Branch and the Evening Branch
of the ACW - both well-attended and very active until 1992, when the Evening
Branch was discontinued.
|In 1977 a third service was added, with services
then at 8 a.m. with an average of 30 in attendance; 9:30 with 52 in attendance
and 11 A.M. with around 117 in attendance. A notable event of Christmas
1978 was the dedication of the new Allen Organ by Archbishop Sommerville.
In 1983 the services were revised to the current 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. In
1986 long time organist Melvin Yeo retired and was succeeded by Ulo Valdma.
The BAS was introduced, with bishop-approved lay persons assisting at Communion.
In 1987 a special Vestry Meeting approved the purchase of the current rectory
on Roper Ave. - to be rented out. In 1989 the new Memorial Garden was created.
Rev. Prince had
serious illnesses between 1989 and 1991, with priests Ron Sands and John
Bethel filling in. In 1991 Rev. Prince resigned and passed away soon afterwards.
The strong leadership provided by the Wardens and Parish Council members
during that period, was crucial to Holy Trinity's future.
A Canonical Committee
was set up, a Parish Profile created and the position advertised. During
this six-month period, the Rev. Ed Wallace, formerly of West Vancouver,
took over the majority of the services, with Reverend Bruce Chamberlayne
1991 - August
||Rev. Brian Vickers was selected, and in October 1992, with wife Sally, son Michael and daughter Kathyrn, moved into the rectory. The resultant growth and success of Holy Trinity is - as they say - history.
May 2003 - April 2018
Rev. Neil Gray moved to White Rock from Vancouver's West End where he had been at St. Paul's Church since 1988. During that time he served as both associate priest and rector as well as chaplain to the Anglican patients at St. Paul's Hospital. Prior to that, he worked at a number of parishes in London, England. He was trained for ordained ministry at St. Stephen's House, Oxford.
As a priest, Neil placed a very high priority on the liturgy. "I agree with Matthew Fox, the theologian, that it is a great sin to bore people to death for an hour on Sunday morning and call it worship!" He says "We try to make our time together a really positive experience - involving as many people as possible with a balance of ages and gender as we equip ourselves by word and sacrament for our ministry".
In the Rector's report delivered in 2018, Neil noted,
"Since I came here in 2003, I have tried to make spiritual growth my top priority. I believe the first task of a priest is to help his or her people engage thoughtfully and courageously with the ancient texts, the historical creeds and the traditions of the church, so that these can become a source of inspiration and motivation for men and women of the twenty-first century. If you agree, then make sure this is named in the parish profile as something you want to see in the next rector.
Talking of parish profiles, the one Holy Trinity prepared in 2002 stated that it wanted, as a congregation, to develop and enhance lay leadership. I have worked on doing this since the day I was inducted. In fact, the service of induction makes it explicit that ministry is shared between the priest and the people. Getting involved in the activities of the church is not a matter of “helping the rector out”, but of each person fulfilling what is expected of a baptized Christian. We don’t have to look very far to see magnificent examples of this. This document records many hundreds of hours of faithful stewardship of time and talents. Do thank God for that as you read this report.
In this regard, the one ministry of which I am very proud is pastoral care – particularly of our seniors and shut-ins. If individuals are no longer able to get to church, church comes to them! And it does so in many ways – lay home communions and visits, flower delivery, hospital ministry, services in residences and at Weatherby Pavilion, and a vast informal network of phone-calls, cards, e-mails and ride-sharing. All this is underpinned, as it should be, by our prayer chain and the intercessions at Sunday worship. This “Caring Connections” ministry is undertaken by Deacon Paul and myself, as clergy, and a deeply committed group of lay people."