When it comes to Surrey, there aren't many structures left that have been around for more than 100 years. With that in mind, the celebration of Surrey's oldest church, which turns 130 this year, is something of a rarity in the City of Parks, and is what makes next week's celebrations that much more special.
Founded in 1882 and completed two years later, Surrey's Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church has been serving the community longer than any other in the city. Now surrounded by a quiet neighbourhood in Cloverdale, the church was once the focal point for Anglicans south of the Fraser River.
To celebrate the milestone, a ceremony will be held on Sunday where the Union Solomon Masonic Lodge will present to the church a historic trowel used to lay the cornerstone of historic building in 1884.
For Craig Vance, current reverend of the church, the upcoming celebration is not only important to the church's history, but to that of Surrey as a whole.
"It's a celebration of the earliest days of Surrey," said Vance. "This was the first church in Surrey and this enclave we're in was once the centre of Surrey, it was one of the first areas settled because of the proximity to the Serpentine River, which allowed them to barge things up the river."
Once the site of Surrey City Hall as well as a one-room schoolhouse that served the early community, the church is now the only thing remaining in the area to remind people of what once was.
"This is one of the few pieces of Surrey's heritage left in its original place," said Vance.
As for the ceremony that will take place to celebrate the parish's founding, Worshipful Master Jim Pound of the Union Solomon Masonic Lodge will be on hand to present the special trowel used to lay the building's cornerstone.
"Cornerstones are very important to freemasons because a cornerstone and the laying of a cornerstone represents family and strength and in modern day free masonry, they're laid in the northeast corner," explained Pound. "The allegory is based on the Old Testament and King Solomon and the idea was that Solomon's temple, how it was built, the north was always in darkness and the east was in light. So cornerstones were laid in the northeast corner as a symbol between darkness and light and that growth of knowledge; going from ignorance and darkness to knowledge."
The anniversary celebration will include the trowel ceremony, a community barbecue, games for children and the launch of the church's Sunday school service.
Everyone is invited and those interested are asked to come out on Sunday to the Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church located at 16613 Bell Rd. in Surrey. The event kicks off at 10 a.m. For more information, go to www.ctrchurch.com.
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