Bishop of the Diocese of B.C. Logan McMenamie is holding its final service at St John the Evangelist Anglican Church in Ladysmith on June 30. The historic church is over 115 years old. The decision to close was made to close the church as the cost of renovating the building was too high for the small congregation.
The church played an active role in the community, and through the years, the good works at St. John’s have directly and indirectly benefited so many people.
The original building of St. John’s was a school house in Wellington, a community located a few miles north of Ladysmith. When the miners moved to Ladysmith in 1900–1901, they dismantled the building, put it on a railway flat car and took it to Ladysmith. They then reassembled it on its present site – the only church in Ladysmith still on its present site, which was one of the requirements it met when it was declared a heritage building in 1992.
In 1902, it was expanded and called the Church School House, and in 1908, the name St. John’s was chosen, but not dedicated until 1944.
In 1910, renovations were made to turn it into a church. In 1913–1914, during the miners’ strike, many people moved away. After the strike, life improved, but in 1931 the extension mine closed, and both the town and the church were in the doldrums until 1936, when Comox Logging came to log in Ladysmith.
In 1933, St. John’s became a joint parish with St. Philip’s in Cedar until 1989. In 1955, the Narthex was added and the hall built. When Comox Logging left in 1986, the church and the town fell on hard times. In 1998, the uphill timbers under the church’s floor were replaced, with much of the work done by the parishioners. The church celebrated its centenary in 2001, culminating with Archbishop Barry Peers and Bishop Barry Jenks joining in.
Over the years the church has been involved in the community, providing services such as the Ladysmith Food Bank and many other programs. The hall was also a venue for music and theatre productions, including the popular Dickens’ Christmas Carol.