The discovery of a buried time capsule has opened a window to the past for members of St. George’s Anglican Church.
The 64-year-old glass bottle was found underneath the original church’s cornerstone during construction of a $1.2-million addition to the Cadboro Bay church, said parish rector Richard LeSueur.
“The cornerstone marked the current church, which was built in 1951, but there was nothing to indicate a time capsule of any sort,” LeSueur said.
The small glass bottle containing the items broke during construction, but its goods remain intact. The largest item is a cover of the Victoria Daily Times from Saturday April 21, 1951, two days before the cornerstone was put in place. The bottle also had a handful of Canadian coins embossed with the head of King George, bulletins from Sunday services – one from April 22, 1951, and one from the current church’s sod-turning ceremony earlier that year, which featured B.C.’s Lieutenant Governor Clarence Wallace, who was also a shipbuilder.
“The fact that Wallace actually partook in the sod turning is interesting, the interfacing of church and state we don’t see now,” LeSueur said.
Despite the downsizing of the B.C.’s Anglican diocese in recent years, in which many smaller churches were closed, St. George’s is actually expanding in more ways than just its new $1.2-million narthex, or welcoming space.
“We have a growing congregation size, and are growing in programs and outreach, with a lot of success through our University of Victoria and young adult program,” he said.
LeSueur arrived at St. George’s five years ago, after stints in Calgary, Jerusalem, New York and other cities. He was quickly brought up to speed on the parish’s plans for the welcoming centre, which were initiated by Logan McMenamie, the current Anglican Bishop for the diocese of B.C., when he was rector at the parish 10 years ago.
The narthex is being erected on the south side of the 1951-built church structure, and will introduce a new entrance area and multi-use program space, as well as facilities such as a kitchenette, commercial size men’s and women’s washrooms, an accessible washroom, an exterior patio and ramp for accessible access, and an overall seismic upgrade to the facility.
“The narthex, historically, was a simple entrance, the space between community and worship, and they weren’t as large as they are now,” LeSueur said. “We’ve moved architecturally from the stained glass and ‘dark cave’ place of worship to the clear glass, and natural light. But we harvested all our stained glass and will suspend it in the new space, but without blocking any light.”
Construction is due to finish this summer. On Sept. 23, LeSueur plans to re-install the old cornerstone with a new one. He also wants to include a new time capsule and invites the community to submit ideas by calling the parish at 250-472-2090.