St. Alban’s Anglican Church, 1907-Present: Over 100 Years of Gods Faithfulness
The first service was held Sunday March 24, 1907, when ten men and four women were present. Later that year on the first Sunday in June, Rev. David Dunlop (1907-1914), B.A. the newly appointed Vicar of Sapperton, took official charge of the Parish. The founders faced opposition to clearing the land and building a church. Burnaby was a very rural setting at this time and consisted of about 2000 citizens. The founders showed real determination, faith, and courage and in 1909 a small church was built and named after the first Christian Martyr, St. Alban. The first confirmation service and first christening both took place in 1909. The first rectory was built in 1911. In April 1910 the Rev. Dunlop was able to report, “We are glad to note that the regular attendance at our services has increased and we can report that our Church is entirely paid for and has no outstanding debts.” After Rev. Dunlop retired in 1914, The Rev. H. Fane Edge (1915-1917) came to serve at St. Alban’s. During this time the first Ladies Guild was formed and was to function independently from the Women’s Auxiliary. Many of Burnaby’s finest young men left to serve overseas during the Great War. The first Bazaar was held at St. Alban’s on November 15, 1915 and was put on by the Ladies Guild and $120 was raised to go towards the Rectory building fund. Another popular activity was the garden socials that were held at the home of F.J. Hart near Deer Lake.
After two years at St. Alban’s Rev. Edge announced he would return to England and The Rev. Butler (1917) took over until a new Rector was appointed in 1917. The Rev. Harold Underhill (1917-1930) was appointed and served at St. Alban’s from 1917-1930. At the end of the year 1917 it was reported that there was an active Sunday School, Altar Guild and Ladies Guild, Women’s Auxiliary and Mother’s Union. St. Alban’s was doing well financially and was able to burn their mortgage on the Rectory and in 1923 they designed and built a new parish hall and tennis courts on the adjoining property. They used to hold dances on the tennis court in the summers and charge 35 to 50 cents for the young people. In 1921 women were elected to the Church Committee instead of just serving behind the scenes. The Rev. Norman Thompson (1930-1952) began tending his flock in 1930 and continued for the next 22 years. This was a time of great suffering for the community, with the Great Depression as well as the ravages of the Second World War. There were relief camps all over. Church fires had to be lit the night before so the church would be warm for the service. There were many physical changes to the church during Rev. Thompson’s ministry. In 1938 part of the land was sold to have money to enlarge the church. A year later it was approved to move the church across the roadway where the tennis courts were and where the church stands today. At the end of 1943 there were many shortages of money, time and supplies. In 1945 it was approved to sell more property and the money was used to fix the church basement with a cement foundation and create choir and Sunday school rooms. Sunday school and church attendance increased and the hall was used almost nightly for social functions and meetings by residents of the district.
The Rev. Edward Linfoot (1952-1960) began his ministry at St. Alban’s in 1952 when there were many improvements and additions to the church. Carpets were put in the aisles, and the old matchwood altar was replaced by a beautiful new oak altar built by Mr. F. West. It is this altar that stands at the front of our church today. New pews for the choir were built by Mr. George Love and a new organ was bought by subscriptions. A new oil furnace was purchased to replace the coal furnace which was a big improvement. At this time the rectory property was sold and the proceeds were used to build a new rectory. It was during this year that the Archbishop of Canterbury visited the Diocese. In 1955 there were about 200 active members in St. Alban’s. “The Anglican News” was first published in 1959 to keep Anglicans abreast of Church Affairs. This was the forerunner of “The Anglican Journal”.