from Dean David J Carter’s chapter on St John the Evangelist in ‘The Anglican Church in Calgary: Church Activities, 1878-1974’ (1975).
In 1900, Rev. E. C. Paget, later known and beloved as Dean Paget, at the Church of the Redeemer, Calgary, his long incumbency, which was destined to be terminated only by his death late in March, 1927.
Soon after the turn of the century, it became apparent that, in a community growing as fast as Calgary, one Church of England parish would not suffice. This proved to be the case, and Dean Paget, with true apostolic zeal, set out to meet the increasing need. Settlement began to develop westwards, and it was found advisable to divide the city – the centre and newer districts to be the responsibility of the Mother Church, and the old original Calgary site in the east to be looked after by the creation of the first daughter parish.
Having bought from AE Cross, Esq, four lots situated on what is now the corner of 9th Avenue and 12th Street East, the first church, a frame building, was the very generous gift of the dean, who conducted the first service therein on the Feast of the Epiphany, 6th January 1905.
In 1907, events moved rapidly for this mission in East Calgary. On 23 August Rt Revd W. Cyprian Pinkham, DD, the first bishop of Calgary, issued title deeds for the new parish of St John the Evangelist. On 28 August, with due legal notice, the first parishioners meeting was held, with the incumbent-elect, Revd George A Ray, in the chair.
Revd George A Ray, MA, was inducted as rector of the parish at Evensong on Wednesday, 28 August 1907 . . . On 25 July 1910 Mr Ray forwarded his resignation to the bishop and conducted his last services in St John’s on 28 August, three years to the day since his Induction. From St John’s he went as Assistant to Holy Trinity, New Westminster, BC.
At a vestry meeting on 19th September and at parishioners’ meeting on 21 September 1910, the appointment of Revd GE Gale to succeed Mr Ray as rector was gladly and unanimously approved. On 2 October Mr Gale held his first services in St John’s, assisted by Mr Eccles, lay reader, who had conducted services during the interim since Mr Ray’s last Sunday, 28 August. Calgary was experiencing that winter one of its famous and periodic “pioneer booms.” The old St John’s rapidly became too small to accommodate the fast-growing congregation.
On 2nd November 1910, lots 31, 32, 33 and 34, block 12, plan A-3, were purchased for the new church site from W. Stuart and F. W. Jones at a cost of $1,250 per lot. On 9 November two further lots (29 and 30) adjoining were secured at the same prices per lot from WJS Walker, Esq.
In the spring of 1911 the construction of the new church began; the old church and rectory were moved to the new site and feverish activity, destined to complete the new property by the fall, marked the summer months of that year. The new church, impressive beyond words to express, was dedicated by the late Bishop Pinkham on the 16th Sunday after Trinity, 1 October 1911. The remarks in the service register state: 24 September – “Last service in old St John’s. Excellent congregations for Dedicatory Services.” Canon Dewdney assisted in the morning and Canon Hogbin preached at the evening service. Thus, with a new rector, was a new era in the life of the parish so well begun.
St John the Evangelist (1994)
sketch by John Larter, Calgary Sun
St John the Evangelist (1905-1911)
the first church
Edward Clarence Paget (1851-1927)
Dean of Calgary (1902-1927)
Gervase Edward Gale (1872-1950)
St John the Evangelist (1913)
St John the Evangelist (c.1930s-1940s)
St John the Evangelist (c.1950s)
prior to the erection of the Cross Hall
St John the Evangelist (c.1950s-1960s)
St John’s Church
from the Statement of Significance, written by the provincial architect for Alberta (2010).
St John the Evangelist Church was constructed in 1911 to serve the growing Anglican community of Inglewood. The church’s Gothic Revival architecture and richly decorated interior expresses its identity as an Anglo-Catholic Anglican church. Rooted in the desire to reconnect with the primite piety of the Middle Ages and often accented during the Victorian period by the sumptuous tastes of the times, the Gothic Revival style was favoured by Anglo-Catholic Anglicans for its associations with historic Christianity and the rich symbolism of medieval worship.
The cruciform plan of the church and its subtle buttresses, lancet windows, and pointed-arch doors all express the Gothic Revival style. The incongrous east-west orientation of the church within a residential context defined by north-south buildings is also indicative of the Anglo-Catholic vision. This orientation and the placement of the altar in the easternmost part of the church embody the medieval Church’s symbolic identification of the resurrected Christ with the sun rising in the east.
The interior is elaboratly furnished with a host of items that embellish the Anglo-Catholic liturgy, a liturgy distinguished from other Anglican worship services by its elaborate symbolism and ritual. Many of these items were donated to the church by congregants, some in memory of the departed. Gifted items include the rood screen, the stained glass windows, the baptismal font, and the church bell. The congregation also spent lavishly to furnish the church with a Casavant organ. It is one of the few pneumatic organs extant in western Canada.
The church’s architecture and furnishings define a sacred space of powerful symbolism and beauty. Although many churches in Alberta were built in the Gothic Revival style, few - if any - were as thoroughly influenced by the spirit of neo-medievalism as St John the Evangelist. Thoroughly intact, it remains and exceptional example of Anglo-Catholic ideals.
Towards the Ordinariate
Following Pope Benedict XVI’s 2009 Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum coetibus, St John’s, as a parish of long-standing Anglo-Catholic practice and conviction, began to explore the real possibility of entering into the full communion of the Catholic Church whilst, at the same time, retaining much that was dear and of value to us as Anglicans - customs and traditions in music, liturgy and pastoralia, as well as elements of our spiritual and theological tradition.
After almost a year spent in prayer, study and discussion, the parish voted by almost 90% in November 2010 to accept Pope Benedict’s invitation for us to come into full communion with the Catholic Church, through the provision of an Ordinariate.
In October 2011, in the 100th year of the dedication of the present church building, we entered into a eucharistic fast and began a period of intense catechesis in preparation for our reception into the Catholic Church.
On 18 December 2011, Advent IV, the majority of St John’s parishioners were either received into, or reconciled with, the Catholic Church. On 31 December 2011 the Anglican parish was dissolved by the Diocese of Calgary, at the request of the Churchwardens and Vestry, and became the first Anglican Use parish in Canada, initially under the care of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary.
Following the establishment of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter on 1 January 2012, St John’s was formally established as a Parish of the Ordinariate on 4 November 2014, the Feast of St Charles Borromeo.
St John's was built at the end of 1911 by the architectural and civil engineering firm, Lang & Major, which had only been founded months earlier, on 1 January 1911.
George Macdonald Lang (1860-1930) was one of Calgary's first residents, and William Paul Major (1881-1931) had only moved to Calgary from England the previous year, in 1910.
A History of St John the Evangelist, East Calgary, 1905-1938
Rectors and Priests-in-Charge
of the Anglican Parish of St John the Evangelist
Please click on a name to see a photograph
1907-1910 The Reverend George A. Ray
1910-1935 The Reverend Canon Gervase Edward Gale
1935-1939 The Reverend Canon J. B. Thomas
1939-1944 The Reverend John H. Oriel
1944-1950 The Reverend Warren Turner
1951-1956 The Reverend David B. Houghton
1956-1959 The Reverend Maurice William Helston
1959-1972 The Reverend Canon Johannes J. van der Leest
1972-1974 The Reverend Anthony H. Bullman
1974-1984 The Reverend William Michael Birch
1985-1991 The Reverend Graham Goode
1991-2005 The Reverend Canon Douglas H. Skoyles SSC
2007-2008 The Reverend Michael Heidt SSC
2009-2011 The Reverend Lee Stuart Kenyon SSC
St John the Evangelist (December 1937)
St John the Evangelist (1959)
High Mass of Easter Day, St John the Evangelist, 1986
from The Calgary Herald
from The Calgary Herald