McLennan church celebrates 90 years

St. Paul’s Anglican Church in McLennan celebrates 90 years with a special service Aug. 22.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

St. Paul’s Anglican Church in McLennan will celebrate 90 years with a special service Aug. 22.

The special service of Holy Communion starts at 2:30 p.m. and will be about one hour, says church member Jennifer Futter.

After the service, tea will be served at the Heritage House manse next to the church.

Rev. Blessing Shambare from St. Peter’s Ecumenical Church in Slave Lake will be the priest for the service.

Others assisting in the service will be Rev. Deacon Danielle McKenzie, of Grimshaw, and Peter Clarke, who serves as the People’s Warden at St. Mark’s Anglican Church in High Prairie and Canon of the Anglican Diocese of Athabasca.

History of the church will also be presented during the afternoon.

Regular services at St. Paul’s are held the third Sunday of each month for the small congregation.

About 10 people attend the services, Futter says.

Both the church building and the manse, known as Heritage House, are declared as municipal historic sites and were restored in 2016.

Heritage House and St. Paul’s Anglican Church are located at the corner of First Street East and Second Avenue North.

Smoky River Express reporter Tom Henihan wrote a story about the project in August 2016.

Portions of the story follow.

Built in 1931, the church was moved to its present location in 1949, where the house that would serve as the manse was already located.

Before the restoration project began in 2000, the Town of McLennan had slated the buildings for demolition.

In an advanced state of disrepair and severely undermined by water damage both buildings needed the foundations rebuilt, which required moving the structures then replacing them on the reconstructed base.

The Anglican Church played an important role in the development of McLennan, particularly in the growth of the community after the Second World War.

In a bilingual town, St. Paul’s Church served as both a place of worship and a community centre for many Anglican residents and English-speaking social organizations such as women, student and youth groups, church army officers and as a place for a variety of social gatherings.

Heritage House is a well-restored excellent example of a 1930s-style house that was at one time, common in rural communities throughout Alberta.

It is also one of the few houses remaining in McLennan constructed prior to the Second World War that started in 1939.

The interior also went through extensive restoration, removing layers of paint and worn out floor covering to reveal the original wood floors and the detail and craftsmanship of many of the fixtures.

Some of the distinguishing characteristics of the church are its crenulated parapet and louvered openings of the tower and an arched, gothic style door rebuilt in 2014 using the original designs.

Another feature worthy of note is the stained glass window made in Montreal and installed in 2010 by Fred Schellenberger, the husband of Joan Schellenberger, minister of St. Mark’s Anglican Church in High Prairie.

St. Paul’s Anglican Church and Heritage House manse in McLennan are both municipal historic sites and were restored in 2016.

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