Quesnel’s St. Andrews United Church houses congregational history

Sarah McLean helped finance church and manse construction.

Sarah McLean helped finance church and manse construction.

The last story I wrote for the Observer about St. Andrew’s was about those three ecclesiastically shaped chairs at the front of our church.

I think Rev. J. Hadden Gregory came to St. Andrew’s in 1961 so that was when we lost the tops of the chairs.

I don’t know if he had some idea that he would get rid of those chairs bit-by-bit on the installment plan, but they are still there and Rev. Gregory passed away in 2009, so I would say the chairs have won out.

About 15 years ago the chairs were reupholstered and covered in a gold velour type of material, making them much more attractive and comfortable.

They had previously been covered in a scarlet velvet-type material.

Originally, the velour on the chair purchased in the 1940s in memory of Mrs. Charlotte Ewing was a shade off the colour of the chair coverings on Queenie and William Ewing’s chairs, having been purchased at a different time. The oak frame of that chair is also paler than the other two. However, since they were recovered, they are now a closer match.

The minister’s pulpit was donated by Mrs. Sally Kinley, in loving memory of her husband Jim.

Our beautiful communion table was given by Mrs. Thora Peebles and her family in memory of her husband, Mr. John Rae Peebles.

There are two smaller floral stands that were given in memory of Mrs. Helen Robertson, a long time church and choir member and choir leader.

They were a gift to her memory from her previous church congregation in Ontario.

There are also two attractive green flower vases given in her memory.

The baptismal font is another memorial gift, although it bears no plaque.

The lectern near the choir loft, which holds the Bible, was designed and constructed by Rick Wager in September 2004.

It replaced a smaller stand, which St. Andrew’s choir had originally given in memory of Helen Robertson (the same lady mentioned previously), to serve as a music stand for the choir leader. It did have a plaque on it, but I’m not sure where it went.

All of the current church furnishings have been placed there in memory of some faithful worker in the church.

All of the previous furnishings that have been replaced by the present pieces, have been relocated to

the museum, that includes an alter cloth dating back to before 1925, when the church was still St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.

Also at the museum, you’ll find a one-hundred year old Bible that belonged to Mrs. Flora Guy Fuller whose aunt, Ellen (Mrs. Sam) Bohannon was one of the original underwriters of the church in 1911.

In our vestibule along with current memorial plaques, is a tablet in recognition of the efforts (and money) of Mrs. Sarah McLean who loaned the money, over and beyond that which the congregation raised, so the church could be built; and about two years later also helped finance the building of the manse (minister’s residence) so St. Andrew’s could call a minister to its pulpit.

Mrs. McLean forgave all this in her will, when she passed on.

The other plaques in memory of other congregants and church members, as I mentioned, recognize those faithful over the 100 years our church has been located on the corner of Carson Avenue and Kinchant Street.

Lots of history in that old building, that old church.

Jack Nelson is an amateur historian, member of the St. Andrew’s United Church congregation and regular Observer contributor.