Update: St. Philips town council takes urgent steps to protect damaged church

Staff ~ The Telegram
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

The steeple of a 116-year-old Anglican church in St. Philips lies on the ground after being intentionally toppled this morning. Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

The town council in Portugal Cove-St. Philip's has taken urgent steps to protect the old Anglican church on Coady's Road, which was the scene of an unusual act of property damage early this morning.
Council gathered for an emergency meeting this afternoon and voted unanimously to seek heritage designation for the 115-year-old structure.
Council will also offer a $500 reward for information on the identity of the person or persons who carried out the damage, and has pledged to provide around-the-clock security for the site.
Many in the town are in an uproar after someone intentionally ripped the steeple from the roof of the church sometime after 8 a.m. today.
The damage followed a decision by council on Tuesday to reject an application from the church for a demolition permit. Parish officials want to remove the church in order to expand the cemetery.
But a new group in the town, the Church by the Sea, is fighting to save the building and wants to transform it into a community heritage museum.
Debate over the future of the church has become heated, with many claiming that the church rector, Rev. Edward Keeping, has become too intransigent and emotional on the issue.
Although outspoken on the matter, Keeping has kept a low profile throughout today. An official said the Anglican Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland will comment after Easter week.

Organizations: Philips town council, Anglican church, Anglican Diocese

Geographic location: Portugal Cove, Eastern Newfoundland

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Agatha
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    I can't believe that someone would do this to the church, you are SICK

  • Appalling disrespect
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    I think this is simply sad. This church is a symbol of St. Philip's and it's growth as a small village into a thriving community more then a hundred years later. I'm sure most families from St. Philip's have many memories that they hold dear to their heart within the walls of that church.
    It's not even my church, nor my religion in fact, but, it is close to the hearts of those I love and I know growing up going on Sunday drives with my Dad that seeing that little church by the ocean meant we were in St. Philip's and it always looked so charming. That church is the heart of St. Philip's even though a newer facility is being used for worship.

    After seeing photos of it today it looks like it has been decapitated. The church and the people who believe in it have been violated. Where is people's sense of pride and respect?

    On top of that I saw the photos of the recyclables that were being stored in the church... an appalling mess.

    In Europe people are proud of their heritage and preserve buildings to their former glory for all to admire and appreciate but, over here everything gets tore down. People don't go to Europe to see architecture that's a hundred years old they go to see architecture that's hundreds to thousands of years old... we should be taking note...

    This building could house a great little museum recording the history of St. Philip's... but, if people don't stop arguing over it's questionable future and put their words into action there is going to be nothing left to fight for.

  • MP
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Am I missing something?? Why is the town council invoved in this despute?? Doesn't the building and land belong to the Church?? The only ones I think should be involved in this matter is the rector and the congregation. I think this whole issue has snowballed into something that I'm afraid will split the church, and bringing the media into this doesn't help. I'm sure Rev. Keeping is thinking about what's best for the church, and by that I mean the congregation. He's thinking in a more practical and realistic way and I think too many other people are thinking with their hearts and are being too sentimental about a building. I mean how many historic churches can you have....what about when the new church turns 100 years old...will they want to designate that one historic too??!! And by the way, this group that wants to take over the building...do they think that rebuilding this church and turning it into a museum or whatever, is an easy task and can be done in a matter of months?? You can be sure it would be a committment spanning years. I'm guessing that after all this publicity is over and the adrenalin wears off, that there will only be a handful of these people left willing to put in all the hours that's going to be needed to get their venture off the ground. Right now, everybody wants to chip in and do what needs to be done but you can be sure that this interest and enthusiasm will wane, and then you'll be right back to square one. If the choice was down to (1) seeing an old building restored or (2) having all your family and loved ones in the community, all buried together in a much bigger cemetery as opposed to having loved ones scattered and buried away from their families....I would choose the cemetery.

  • anne
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    how could this happen in broad daylight without detection? somebody knows something, I hope charges are laid.

    in the meantime its time for the people involved in this dispute to grow up - isnt this incident like saying if i cant get my way, im not playing, and im taking my ball and going home! ?

  • Doug
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    A sad day to say I am a newfie. Was that the democratic way or the I don't care it's religious way.

  • Agatha
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    I can't believe that someone would do this to the church, you are SICK

  • Appalling disrespect
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    I think this is simply sad. This church is a symbol of St. Philip's and it's growth as a small village into a thriving community more then a hundred years later. I'm sure most families from St. Philip's have many memories that they hold dear to their heart within the walls of that church.
    It's not even my church, nor my religion in fact, but, it is close to the hearts of those I love and I know growing up going on Sunday drives with my Dad that seeing that little church by the ocean meant we were in St. Philip's and it always looked so charming. That church is the heart of St. Philip's even though a newer facility is being used for worship.

    After seeing photos of it today it looks like it has been decapitated. The church and the people who believe in it have been violated. Where is people's sense of pride and respect?

    On top of that I saw the photos of the recyclables that were being stored in the church... an appalling mess.

    In Europe people are proud of their heritage and preserve buildings to their former glory for all to admire and appreciate but, over here everything gets tore down. People don't go to Europe to see architecture that's a hundred years old they go to see architecture that's hundreds to thousands of years old... we should be taking note...

    This building could house a great little museum recording the history of St. Philip's... but, if people don't stop arguing over it's questionable future and put their words into action there is going to be nothing left to fight for.

  • MP
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    Am I missing something?? Why is the town council invoved in this despute?? Doesn't the building and land belong to the Church?? The only ones I think should be involved in this matter is the rector and the congregation. I think this whole issue has snowballed into something that I'm afraid will split the church, and bringing the media into this doesn't help. I'm sure Rev. Keeping is thinking about what's best for the church, and by that I mean the congregation. He's thinking in a more practical and realistic way and I think too many other people are thinking with their hearts and are being too sentimental about a building. I mean how many historic churches can you have....what about when the new church turns 100 years old...will they want to designate that one historic too??!! And by the way, this group that wants to take over the building...do they think that rebuilding this church and turning it into a museum or whatever, is an easy task and can be done in a matter of months?? You can be sure it would be a committment spanning years. I'm guessing that after all this publicity is over and the adrenalin wears off, that there will only be a handful of these people left willing to put in all the hours that's going to be needed to get their venture off the ground. Right now, everybody wants to chip in and do what needs to be done but you can be sure that this interest and enthusiasm will wane, and then you'll be right back to square one. If the choice was down to (1) seeing an old building restored or (2) having all your family and loved ones in the community, all buried together in a much bigger cemetery as opposed to having loved ones scattered and buried away from their families....I would choose the cemetery.

  • anne
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    how could this happen in broad daylight without detection? somebody knows something, I hope charges are laid.

    in the meantime its time for the people involved in this dispute to grow up - isnt this incident like saying if i cant get my way, im not playing, and im taking my ball and going home! ?

  • Doug
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    A sad day to say I am a newfie. Was that the democratic way or the I don't care it's religious way.