Sunday, September 22, 2013

                                                                                          September 22, 2013

5500 Old Island Highway/Highway 19A
Front and side of Church-note stained glass windows.
(2013 photo)

Union Bay United Community Church
Union Bay, B.C. Canada

Front of Church

"Union Bay in British ColumbiaCanada is a small community approximately 15 kilometres (9 mi) south of Courtenay, British Columbia, the largest city in the Comox Valley. Union Bay is populated by about 1200 people and is an unincorporated site within the Comox Valley Regional District. The main drag along Highway 19. A features a boatlaunch, sports/coffee shop, bistro and market/cafe. Also along the highway are the heritage Gaolhouse museum, Post Office, church, and now closed school that is currently used as the District Improvement Offices. The community has a rich history that is intertwined with that of Cumberland, British Columbia.

"Union Bay was first established as "Union Wharf" back in 1887. The community was developed as a port for the thriving coal mines at Union to the Northwest (later reincorporated as Cumberland)....Some of Union Bay's history has been preserved in what is called "Heritage Row". This row along Highway 19A includes the Gaolhouse, Post Office, Church, and School. It is preserved and maintained by the Union Bay Historical Society." (Link 1.)

Entrance to Sanctuary-on the side.
Note Stained Glass Windows
(2013 photo)

The opening service of "Institutional Church" was on the rainy morning of December 3, 1906.  The church was built by volunteer labor on land and rough lumber were donated by the Canadian Collieries Ltd. "The building and furnishings cost $2, 551,..." "A reading room at the front of the church and the tower were added about five years later." (REF.) In 1925 the church became part of  The United Church of Canada.

An organ is mentioned from the time he church was built.  In 1959 the church acquired an old pump organ from a church in nearby Cumberland, B.C. It was restored and used until 1984 when a new Hammond organ was donated.  The antique organ was donated to St. Andrew's Pioneer Presbyterian Church on Mission Hill.

Pre 1984 Sanctuary

The above black and white photo of the Sanctuary shows the 1959 pump organ sitting on the left side of the chancel.  

"The chancel was renovated from the original choir loft in 1973. Windows (memorial or dedication)  were replace due to frame rot before that." (REF.) Pews were refinished in 2004.

Stained Glass Windows

"The windows (added in 2006), designed by Karin Clark and Nancy Morrison, and crafted by Nancy, follow the life of Christ clockwise from the cross. The bevelled glass represents the colours of the rainbow and the promises of God.  The first dove faces down as the spirit descents to earth, then the doves fly clockwise with the last dove rising at the tomb window.  The front windows show Jesus after his resurrection.  The red trim around the windows represents the blood Christ shed for us.  The bevelled glass will split light into rainbows reminding us of the promises of God.  The wheat coloured trim reminds us of the gifts of the earth.  The women depicted in most of the windows remind us of the support women haven given the church over the centuries." (REF.)

( REF. 2006 photo)

The colored photo from the booklet Union Bay United Community Church, 1906-2006 shows the 1984 electric Hammond organ on the left side of the chancel.  It also shows the light box stained glass windows mounted on either side of the original cross.

Over the years this very active congregation has sponsored and participated in many groups: Sunday School, Choirs, Ladies Aid/Ellen McKay Circle, Missionary Society, U. C. W., Evening Circle, Bible Study, C.G.I.T*, Explorers, Brownies, Guides, Youth Clubs, Boy's Clubs.

Sketch of church by Diane Etherington

*C.G.T.T.: Canadian Girls in Training, a group for girls grade 7 to 12 based on
                     the scripture Luke 2: 52, "And Jesus increased in wisdom and in
                     stature and in favor with God and man." Suzanne Wilson was a 
                     Provincial Chairperson in the 1980's.
Thank you: To Nora at the Union Bay P. O. next to the church for the Reference
                      booklet below.
Photos: Taken in June 2013 by SW.
Reference: Union Bay United Community Church, 1906-2006.
Link 1:,_British_Columbia
God, be with the persecuted Christians through out the world. Amen

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