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Christ Church Anglican Church to celebrate 175th anniversary

November 21, 2019   ·   0 Comments

Written By ALYSSA PARKHILL

10 years, 20 years and 50 years are all huge milestones to hit in life. But not a lot of places locally can say they have celebrated over 100 years of service. Well, the Christ Church Anglican in Bolton is celebrating their 175th birthday this upcoming Sunday.

The church was formed back in 1844, but in the 1820’s had a priest who rode on horseback that travelled from Bolton to Lloydtown and back doing services, known as saddlebag preachers. 

“In 1844 they formally formed the Parish of Christ Church, and if you go up Highway 50, just north of town, you’ll see the cemetery there. If you look up on the hill on Centennial Road you’ll see the marker where the first Anglican Church building was,” explains Reverend Don Beyer. 

Years later in the 1870’s is when the current building that stands today, on 22 Nancy St, was built. 

The parish has been through it all though it’s 175 years, demographically. The church had a reputation of being ethically identified as British, it being known as the Church of England in Canada when it first was formed, and held that reputation until around the 1950’s, early ‘60’s. 

“It would go through waves of British immigrants that would come here, and the parish would thrive. And in the 1930’s, it went though some decline. Post-World War Two, they had another wave of more British immigrants and it did well until the 1960’s, when the military was building a plane over in Malton. When they closed the plant down a lot of parishioners moved elsewhere for jobs,” explains Beyers. “Today you wouldn’t really say that it has any of that British connection.” 

He added, “That’s shifted away and Canada’s much more multi-cultural and diverse. That’s also changing the way we look. Demographically we’re seeing other groups come in as well, but it’s also changed the way we approach the world too. Now we have people from multiple different backgrounds, even religious. We have people who have come from no religious background whatsoever, a couple folks who practised Buddhism before coming here, to people from other Christian denominations, who have found their way in this community.”

Carole Whitehead has been with the Christ Church Anglican for exactly 62 years. She joined the church when she married her husband, who was of Anglican religion. 

“We weren’t the first church in Bolton, we were the second. There was a congregational church that was a year before ours. The Bolton family after which Bolton was named, gave some property to us along with the Sterne family in order to build. And the interesting thing is, they were Methodists,” explained Whitehead.

The land that the building current sits on was donated by James and Ellen Bolton and Samuel and Anne Sterne. The building was built with bricks made from the Bolton Brickyard on Meadowvale Court, beside the clergy house. Interesting fact, if you look closely to the red bricks that make up the building, you can even see little cat paw prints imprinted on some of the bricks. 

When looking into the future of the church, a key factor that they think about is how they can serve the community of Bolton and Caledon, in this everchanging society. With diversity on the rise, the church is always looking for new ways to reach out to connect with the community. 

“I’ve come to love this parish. It’s in a sense a second home. Not just because it’s a place where I come and participate in public worship, which is important to me. It’s a different connection here, a spiritual connection, and that’s important to me,” says Whitehead.

The Christ Anglican Church were trendsetters in raising funds for charitable organizations. 

“We were the first charitable organization in Bolton to give money that we earned to necessary charitable organizations. To further explain, back in the days when entertainment was few and far between as nearly as I can make out, ever single church and some amateur sporting organizations in town would do concerts at night in the Town Hall and that make money always came back to the performing group. But, we were the first organization in Bolton to raise money and it was given to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto,” explain Whitehead.

The church continues to give back by supporting and partnering with organizations in the community such as Caledon Community Services and Caledon Area Families for Inclusion (CAFFI) which is a group of parents who have come together with sons and daughters with various needs who are often isolated. 

The church dedicates themselves to reaching out the community, and letting people know that they are there for support. Their doors are open for anyone who are looking for a sense of community, and be able to engage with other locals. The church’s old bell tower used to serve the town of Bolton such as alarms for emergencies. In respect of the community and the church’s dedication to serve, the Bell Tower will be in the works of restoration in the Spring. 

“The church as real potential to be creative, to try to serve people where they’re out. The Bell Tower is so symbolic because it lets out voice go beyond the confides of these walls,” says Rev. Beyer.  

The Christ Church Anglican welcomes all residents of the community and more to attend their 175th celebration on Nov 24. The church celebrates their 175 years and look forward to the next 175 years.

For more information about the Christ Church Anglican and their event on Nov 24, please visit christchurchbolton.ca



         

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