Sunday, February 24, 2013

2260 Philip Avenue

Posthumous (2015)
Capilano United Church
North Vancouver, B.C. Canada

Capilano United Church is nestled near the northern border of Pemberton Heights, the high residential bluff in the south western section of the District of North Vancouver.  North of the church is the Upper Levels Highway, the homes in Capilano Highlands, and then the peaks of Grouse Mountain. 


"Capilano United Church was established as Capilano Congregation of the Presbyterian Church of Canada, and served by a student from the Presbyterian College in Vancouver, Westminster Hall. Services were held in the community schoolhouse until the construction of the Capilano Union Church in 1925. It was formally instituted as a United Church in 1927 and in 1938 became a part of the North Lonsdale-Capilano Pastoral Charge. In 1957 the charge was divided and Capilano United Church became a charge on its own. A Christian Education Building, to house an active Sunday school program, was added to church in 1961..." (Link 1.)

In the sanctuary, the cross below the round stained glass window and the baptismal font were both made by Joe Lightheart, an early member of the congregation.  He cut the inlay pieces for the cross with an old Singer treadle sewing machine with needle replaced by a saw blade. The communion table was a donation from a different congregant. (REF.)

The round stained glass window is also a cross. It was designed in the 1990's by congregation  member Doug Bentley.  Its symbolism also includes references to the North Shore mountains and trees. (REF.) The colors pink, yellow, blue and green echo those on the top sections of the side windows.  the original round window also included these colors, but was made up of eight pie shaped pieces.

All the triple side windows include the pink, green, yellow, and blue colors along the square panels of the top frame. However, the square panels of the bottom frames are different on the north and south sides of the sanctuary.  The south facing windows are opaque to diffuse the sunlight. (REF.) The north facing windows are clear allowing the congregation to be inspired by the trees and mountain view.

Clear Glass North Windows of Sanctuary

The west wall of the narthex is floor to ceiling colored glass.  It is shown in the interior photo below as well as on the exterior wall in the top photo. 

West Wall of Sanctuary Narthex 
(See left exterior side of church in top photo.)

"According to the little history that was written up about the church, with information taken from the church archives, on March 25, 1925, the congregation voted to build the church building at a cost of $2,000...  The church building was opened and was filled to capacity with over 200 people on October 1, 1925..." (REF.) The actual building of the church was done by members of the congregation.  The land for the church was donated by B.C. Electric. The church site at this time was near the end of the B.C. Electric Tram line.  The narthex addition on the west side of the church seems to have been built in the 1950's.  The church entrance was changed to the south side of the building.  At some point the original church was lifted and a basement added.

Thank you: To office help Dianna Wilson for a tour of the church.
Reference:   E mails from Board Chair Sandi McIntosh Kocaba with references
                 from her mother Gerry McIntosh and her mother's "little church
                 history book".
Photos: Taken in 2013 by SW. Link 1:
Link 1:;rad

Note: Spring 2015 the church was bought by  North Vancouver District and will
            be used as a Community Center.


God, be with persecuted Christians throughout the world. Amen (SW.)

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