The history of the Church of England in the Timberlea area dates back many years. On May 27, 1846, Cyrus Boutilier deeded a piece of land to the Lord Bishop of Nova Scotia, John Inglis, “for the purpose of a burial ground and for the erection of a church or place of worship in connection with the Church of England, otherwise known as the “Protestant Episcopal Church”. The church was started but never finished. The story is told that the church was actually being built for the Protestants living along the road. The Church of England people wanted a cross on the church and the Baptist people did not want the cross. So they disagreed and took the church down and sold it. It was moved to French Village and built as St. Paul’s Anglican Church.
It was not until 1919 that an Anglican Church was built in Timberlea. Charles and Roland Fraser came home from the war and they and Mr. W. Simms Lee began talking about erecting a church. (An interesting note about Mr. Simms Lee is that he was a Chartered Accountant who emigrated from England and was one of the founding members of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants and a founding member of the Halifax firm of Lee and Martin. He was a long-time lay reader at St. Andrew’s and is buried in our cemetery). The decision was made that a church in our area was needed. Mr. George Fraser gave the land for the church on Fraser Road. The Fraser family provided much of the lumber required for the building. When the building was completed, through community effort, the first service was held. The date was August 17, 1919. Mr. W. Simms Lee, a Layreader, officiated. Mr. Lee continued to lead the services of the church, with assistance from ordained clergy for the Holy Eucharist and other special occasions, until his death in June 1941.
The original St. Andrew’s Church was part of the Parish of Indian Harbour. The Rector of that parish however, was very busy and not really able to devote the time he would have liked to Timberlea. Consequently, from 1920 to 1942, priests of Trinity Church in Halifax served the Anglicans in Timberlea. Notable among them was Rev. Dr. L. J. Donaldson, Rector of Trinity Church, Halifax, from 1903 to 1939. In 1942 he was appointed priest-in-charge of Timberlea. He served in this capacity until December, 1944, when Archbishop Kingston appointed St. Andrew’s, Timberlea to be a part of the Parish of St. Paul’s, Terrence Bay. Rev. G. C. Brown was the Rector serving Timberlea from 1944 to 1951.
In 1952, when the Rev. E. V. Poirier was appointed priest-in-charge of Timberlea, there began discussions of erecting of a new church in Timberlea. There was plenty of land. On May 20, 1922, George Fraser and his sons had deeded to the Lord Bishop of Nova Scotia, Clarendon Worrell, a piece of land bordering on that which Cyrus Boutilier had deeded in 1846. Plans for the new church were made. Its erection was truly the effort of the entire congregation. Built to the design of D. D. Sinclair, the job was supervised by William Mitchell, a member of the congregation, who was a carpenter. Under the outstanding leadership of the Wardens, Arthur Johnson and Harold Crosby, and Warren Mackenzie, a devote Layreader of the church, volunteer labor raised the plans for this building to a reality. While the men of the congregation laboured diligently on the building, the women of the congregation worked very hard to raise the funds necessary over and above the diocesan loan.
The men framed the building. The windows and doors were designed by Whittaker’s. It is of interest to note that, in the original plans, there was to be a large window at the east end of the church above the altar. In 1995 a beautiful stained glass window was installed .
The Building was not only constructed through volunteer labor but also many of the furnishings, such as the lectern, the pulpit and the hymn boards, were made by Vincent Peach. The litany desk was made by Robert Burgess and the altar rail was made at the Halifax Shipyards and presented as a gift by Harold Crosby.
The original altar came from the old church on Fraser’s Road, as did the font and the processional cross. What wonderful links with our past.
In January, 1956, Timberlea and Lakeside were separated from the Parish of Terrence Bay and the Rev. Doering was appointed deacon in charge of Timberlea.
On June 1, 1956, the newly completed church was presented to the Lord Bishop of Nova Scotia, Harold Waterman, for dedication. The impressive ceremonies were set in the context of the lovely service of Evensong. The sermon was preached by Rev. Rhodes Cooper of St. Phillip’s Church in Halifax. The splendid service closed very appropriately with the beautiful old hymn:
“Bowed low in supplication,
We come, O Lord, to thee;
Thy grace alone can save us,
To thee alone we flee.
We come for this our parish,
Thy mercy to implore;
On church, and homes, and people,
O Lord, thy blessings pour.”
When Rev. Doering was priested in 1957, he became Rector of St. Andrew’s, Timberlea.
The history of St. Andrew’s Church, Timberlea, has been marked by many moments of generosity and progress. The following represent some of these moments: