Welcome to the
       Anglican Parish of Combermere

Rev Darlene Cunliffe

Church of the Epiphany
Peoples Warden: Pat Kosnaski 613-756-1293
Rector Warden: Donna Smith 613-756-1393
Ladies Guild: Donna Smith 613-756-1393

This is based largely on 3 sources.

1.   Written recollections of Lorne Donaldson.
2. Photocopies of building committee and vestry meeting reports from 1955 to 1961.
3. Photocopy of a land transfer in 1957.

The land on which this church stands today used to belong to the United Church. On this land, stood a clapboard building. It doubled as a church and a school. It was a school because the public school had burned down (likely in 1948) and had not been rebuilt.
In 1955 two events occurred that led to the construction of the church. Some 10 or 12 people decided after an evening service that they had had enough of the terrible conditions in the building. The Rev. Stephnen Kenward was priest at that time.
At the 1955 Synod of the Ottawa Diocese it was decided to set up an Extension Building Fund. Congregations could borrow money from the fund for new churches or the restoration of the old ones. The interest rate on the loan would be 1/2 of 1%.
A number of families, believed to be 35, had to pledge their financial support for the new church in order to get the loan. This was secured. Next the land had to be bought from the United Church.
Perhaps an early start to the church, the building committee sent off a letter to the school board asking them to vacate the church at the end of the 1955-56 academic year. The land was not finally bought from the United Church until Sept. 16, 1957. The land was bought for $300.

At this stage in the story, developements and events become hazy. The building was old and heated only with a pot-bellied stove. In the winter there may have been no services in it some Sundays. Work had to wait for spring. Secondly, the building committee had to get architect's plans and then get a contractor. Since the Diocese was putting up the money it meant trips to Ottawea to get approval at that end.
The church construction did not start in 1957. By that time the build committee had enough cash to buy the land. However, by this time the name of the church had been picked. It was picked not by the building committee, but by the entire congregation, at the suggestion of the Rev. Kenward.

By the time construction began, the Rev. Kenward had been transferred and the Rev. Williams was the new priest It would be nice to say that everything went smoothly when the church was built. but such cannot be said in truth. After the basement had been poured, the earth settled and it developed serious cracks. Five tons of shingles were put on the roof, causing the walls to spread. The steel
turnbuckles were installed to prevent the walls from going out any further.
And, just as the Olympic Stadium in Montreal had its cost overrun in the 1976, Barry's Bay Church of the Epiphany had its own in 1958. Ultimately the mortgage on the church reached $25,000. That is what the Diocese loaned the parish.

In spite of these difficulties, the Church was finished enough by December that a Christmas Eve service could be held. Chairs were borrowed from St. Hedwig's and at the Christmas Eve service, Nancy-Jean Donaldson was baptized.
Interior furnishings were donated by Ottawa Churches that were either rebuilding or renovating. The font came from the Union Church.

There were still dark clouds on the horizon. Many of the families out of the 35 who pledged their support in 1956 had disappeared by 1959. Givings in the church had declined to the point where the interest of 1/2 of 1% could not be paid.
In 1959 Lorne Donaldson and the new priest, The Rev. Jim Ibbott, went to Ottawa to talk over the Mortgage. They were told that it had been written off.
Even with that good news, the church had to be closed over the winter of 1959-60.

By the summer of 1960 enough of the church interior was completed that the dedication ceremony could be held. That ceremony was held Wednesday July 6, 1960 at 8:00 p.m. Bishop Ernest Reed dedicated the church. After the service a reception was held in the church basement.

It's the people, not the building, that make up our church community. This community was here before the physical structure went up. We honour those early members of the Church of the Epiphany who stepped forth in faith, and we praise God for their actions.

History is taken from an article written by Bob Kostash in 1985.


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