Steeple ripped from church

Terry Roberts
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Dispute over future of historic church building takes bizarre twist; outspoken clergyman goes silent

A bizarre act of property damage at the old church in St. Philip's Wednesday morning left many parishioners and townspeople stunned and angered, and wondering what had happened to their normally outspoken spiritual leader.

But in a 25-second voice message to The Telegram Wednesday afternoon, Rev. Edward Keeping, the rector for the St. Philip's Anglican church, served notice that his straightforward and free-speaking ways were over.

Winston Fiander, vice-president of The Church by the Sea in Portugal Cove-St. Philip's, removes a rope that was cut from inside the church steeple of the old St. Philip's Anglican Church on Coady's Road as the damaged steeple lies on the ground Wednesday

Portugal Cove-St. Philip's -

A bizarre act of property damage at the old church in St. Philip's Wednesday morning left many parishioners and townspeople stunned and angered, and wondering what had happened to their normally outspoken spiritual leader.

But in a 25-second voice message to The Telegram Wednesday afternoon, Rev. Edward Keeping, the rector for the St. Philip's Anglican church, served notice that his straightforward and free-speaking ways were over.

"I am not making statements because I've been told by the lawyer and my bishop. So I'm not making any statements at this time. One reason is we're into Holy Week and services and that, so I'm not making any statements until ... well, I probably won't be making any more statements."

A heated debate over the future of the 116-year-old church, which has been vacant for several years, entered a new dimension at just after 8 a.m. when several people went to great lengths to rip the iconic steeple from the roof of the church.

The incident sent the town into an uproar and prompted the council to call an emergency meeting. In a bid to protect the building, council is seeking a court injunction that would make it illegal to damage the property, and passed a motion to seek municipal heritage status for the church.

Town staff and volunteers will also provide around-the-clock security at the site, and the town is posting a $500 reward for information leading to the identity of those responsible for the damage.

"This is very sad," Mayor Bill Fagan said of Wednesday's incident.

Several of the wooden supports for the 15-foot steeple appeared to be cut with a power tool, and the steeple was then pried from its perch and dropped about 30 feet to the ground below. Part of a thick blue nylon rope was found still attached to a beam inside the steeple, and observers believe whoever carried out the act used a heavy vehicle to pull it down.

The steeple plowed peak-first into the ground, landing mere feet from nearby graves and gouging a trench in the grass.

In a testament to the workmanship, the steeple stayed intact, although the small cross that was attached to its crown was nowhere to be found.

The incident occurred a day after the Portugal Cove-St. Philip's town council voted 6-1 to reject an application from the parish for a demolition permit, and after weeks of emotional debate about the fate of the building.

Parish officials want to remove the church in order to expand the cemetery. Another group, called the Church by the Sea, is attempting to gain control of the building in order to establish a heritage museum.

Keeping, who took over the parish a year and a half ago, has led an aggressive campaign to have the structure demolished.

Witnesses say the priest was extremely emotional and vocal following Tuesday's council meeting, and say he had to be restrained by other church officials after removing his jacket and throwing it to the ground in the parking lot.

He criticized council's decision and said he would bring his concerns to the Department of Municipal Affairs.

Sources say Keeping was equally impassioned at a public information session staged by Church of the Sea last Sunday, which drew an estimated 100 area residents.

Steve Sharpe, the president of Church by the Sea and a long-time parishioner of St. Philip's Anglican church, said Keeping told him to stay off church property.

Another member of the group, Winston Fiander, said Keeping made a worrying comment at the information session.

"His parting shot to us was he had a surprise for us. We wondered what that surprise might be, and we're thinking now we know what his surprise was," Fiander told reporters.

Despite the high-profile incident on church property, Keeping was nowhere in sight Wednesday, and that had many wondering why. Many were also questioning why the church warden, who manages the property, was not present.

The church office, which usually opens at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, was closed throughout the day.

A spokesperson for the Anglican Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland called on all sides to "pause" during Holy Week. She said the diocese will issue a statement after Easter.

Construction noises

Bill Lamswood, who lives not far from the church, said he heard construction noises Wednesday morning. He was shocked when he looked out his window and noticed the steeple was missing.

Lamswood, 74, said he observed three people outside the church, but could not identify them.

He regrets not jumping in his pickup and blocking off the access road to the church, which overlooks Conception Bay and Bell Island.

"I was shaking," Lamswood said.

Another area resident, Amy Tucker, was in her basement and said she felt a "thump" shortly after 8 a.m.

Dozens of bewildered and angry residents gathered at the property off Coady's Road following the incident, expressing shock and disbelief that someone would take such action.

Police were called to the scene, but an officer said an investigation cannot be launched unless the property owners - the diocese - file a formal complaint.

Deputy Mayor Jane Tucker defended council's decision to deny the demolition permit.

"It wasn't a decision we made easily. We've been months listening to both sides of this argument."

Tucker said the town sought a legal opinion and advice from the Department of Municipal Affairs.

"We don't think all avenues have been exhausted to try and save that building," she added.

troberts@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Anglican church, Department of Municipal Affairs, Church of the Sea Anglican Diocese

Geographic location: Portugal Cove, Eastern Newfoundland, Conception Bay Bell Island

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Mommy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Those do gooders were told to fork over the 10 million and move that rotting shack. They failed to do so. Burn it down. The owners are the Anglican Church of Canada, not some local hicks. Hope they have a few hundred thousand for lawyers, because that is what it will take to save this now in the courts on top of the sale and moving costs. Give it up.

  • John
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Not much charm left in that old building. Like mentioned.. Vinyl siding etc. Estimates on repairs/rebuilding ALWAYS balloon larger as well. So what might have been $300k to fix, would probably end up being closer to $500. The town would only get so far and then turn to the church again for funding once they've over spent.. then realize, that it isn't a viable option as a museum anyway. It has sentimental value to locals yes, but really, how many outside visitors are going to want to see a 116yr old church with vinyl siding. It would have to be rebuilt from scratch basically to recapture its old charm. I say the council should reconsider and have it taken down.

  • Judith
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    I can not imagine having the nerve to do such a destructive thing. What is it with churches who want to hold on to old buildings that are falling down and costing money. Our parish of St. George's and Christ Church closed last July with much joy and celebration. Yes it was tinged with sadness and loads of memories but we did more in dying than we ever did in living. We gave away St. George's Church to another church who had the money to fix it up. Christ Church which is surrounded by a cemetary will eventually be demolished and a placque erected to its memory and mission. The rectory of St. Goerge's was sold and the money given to worthwhile charities in our community such as the hospital, children's and women's resource centers and the food bank etc. A small amount was given to Primates World RElief and the neighbouring parish of St. John's. We have moved to that Parish and we have been welcomed with open arms and we are slowing taking our place in that community. The church is much more than the building, it is the people and the community and the mission of the church is not in its structures. It is in the building up of God's kingdom and you certainly don't do it with such animosity towards your neighbour.

  • Michael
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    Tear it down.

  • Keepin' It Real
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    Hundreds and thousands of years of waste dedicated to an imaginary man in the sky. ''Religion'' built on fear and concepts that can not be proven nor disproven. What a farce. There is no person as evil as one who thinks they have ''God'' on their side. Tear down all the churches, I say.

    Many of these ''holy'' men and women are in the business just to feed their own egos. They like the attention and the feelings of power they have over other people - just as some do it through financial means, others do it by spiritual means. Same principle, different approach. See the behaviour of this Keeping fellow for an example. He seems rather upset that he can't get his own way and might have to listen to the thoughts of other people with differing opinions. Rather odd for a religious man, don't you think? Love thy neighbour... Turn the other cheek... where does that come into it?

  • Keepin' It Real
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Leah, am I supposed to be afraid of the invisible man who loves everyone, sees everything we do, knows everything, is all-powerful, and yet we have no evidence of his or her existence other than some old books that I'm supposed to just accept as fact?

    If in 1000 years someone stumbled on a Superman comic book from our time, they might believe that Superman existed but of course they'd be wrong.

  • Richard John
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Keeping does not represent our congregation, if this is the action he was willing to take against our wishes. I foresee an empty building on Sunday. They still haven't filed a complaint to the police, meaning they have something to hide.

  • Joanne
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Ahhh, Michael, pls. don't say that. This little church has been in the lives of families for generations, and most of them want it restored and preserved.

  • Fig
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    Great April Fool's joke!!

  • David
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    Not that I'm very religious, but an angry mob crucified Jesus on the cross .... tomorrow, Good Friday, coincidentally.... because he made the rulers of the day fearful they would not get their way.

    So here we are, at a place built to commemorate that exact history, and an unruly mob vandalizes the building, fearing they won't get their own way.

    Attending a service an hour a week doesn't make you a Christian. There's still a lot of week leftover.

  • The Church Is
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    If this group wants it so bad they can get the Ten Million dollars to buy it. Otherwise the Church can do as they please.

  • Appalling disrespect
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    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.

  • Leah
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    This is very sad, as well as discouraging, to think that someone would come up with those plans and then actually go ahead and carry them out. How cruel as to destroy a House of God that others are trying so hard to come up with the resources to restore and preserve.
    I hope it's not gone beyond repair now with this heartless, senseless act.

  • Joanne
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    Joey, what in the world are you talking about? There are Godless people living everywhere. You are just being sarcastic, right? Or maybe it's me, and I missed your point as your post being a joke.

  • John Doe
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    Those that damaged the church have only given renewed strength to the group that wants to save it. This was just the kind of incentive, to rally the troops, that they needed.

  • Politically Incorrect
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    How very convenient for the Anglican Archdiocese. In Toronto, when a controversial property, coveted by developers, reached a certain value, it would mysteriously burn down and would be blamed on beer drinking teenagers. Not that Im suggesting anything.

  • Joni
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    I hope the church survives and is turned into a heritage museum. We tear down far too many of these old, historical structures.

  • David
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Po9litically Incorrect, I know what you aren't saying.

    The Churches, tax-exempt businesses that they are, foster a deep understanding in their clergy of how to make money. And real estate has always been a great one.

    In eastern Newfoundland, the investment in seaside churches has finally come home to roost. Praise the Lord!

  • Ronny
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Yes! Tear that ish down and we'll be one step closer to just us, the mountains and some beers! Down with heritage and interesting structures!

  • Gerry
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    In the meanitme folks, get used to this type of scenario. The Anglican Church of Canada (Dioceses) have no concern whatsover about the buildings (old or new) if they are not paying for themselves.
    They will let them burn, rot or be sold to others BUT will not sell them to breakaways like the new Anglican Network in Canada, No, No, No..that would almost be heretical. Interesting though, the Episcopalian Church in the USA (same attitude as the ACoC) just sold one to the Muslims. Wow..... but they would not sell it to a breakaway Anglican Church that is attempting to remain faithful to the Holy Scriptures and the Faith.

  • Steve
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    As an outsider looking in, some how I get the impression that there is something much deeper that runs through this story.

    There must be some kind of tentative plans for the land once the building is gone?

    Usually the same old story - follow the money trail.

  • Cory
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    I have been told that declaring this building a heritage site forces the church to maintain at least the exterior of the building. The church can barely afford to run the new building. I believe Mr Keeping is being shoved into a corner and I sympathize with him. We can all act out of character when shoved into a corner.

  • Gerry
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Joey from around the bay writes what godleess people we have living out around the bay?
    Hello......St. Philips is right next door to St. John's and the way I see it right now it is three godless people who did this act and what appears to be a priest who has lost touch with reality and perhaps God himself.
    Rev. Keeping behaved very un-Christlike in this situation and should certainly enter into confession, repentance and asking of forgiveness of his parishioners. Shame.

  • suspicious in nl
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    One word...INSURANCE!!!

  • Athiest
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    I'm about as godless as they come, but I support the restoration of this building, not as a house of god, but as a heritage site for the community.

  • Mike
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    100 years does not a heritage site make especially in an area inhabited by Europeans since before the USA or mainland Canada had even been colonised. I hope the church prevails on this one and is awarded legal costs and damages to boot. If the town or citizens want the property for themselves make an offer to buy it and hope the church likes the price. Any other form of action is tantamount to theft.
    Those that call this act vandalism of a house of God are wrong. The building was deconsecrated long ago so I don't think there is any holiness attached to it any more. Besides, there is little doubt as to who did this and I doubt that person would commit any sort of desecration.

  • Leah
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Keepin' It Real from NL,
    One day you will find out for REAL that there is a God.

  • Maggie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    The God that I believe in would never want a community to be at war with one another over a building.

    For the sake of a building a community will be torn in two? The Reverand and Anglican Church must guide its parishioners, not divide them. If a majority of the community wants to save this Church, then let them. It is just one more way to bring people together.

  • Joey
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    what Godless people we have living out around the bay today.

  • Gerry
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    I'd say that the good Rev. would be best served by not saying anything else. What a shame that A bishop and a lawyer have to advise him that he must behave in a more Christian manner.

  • Natasha
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    In Europe, a great deal of money is spent to preserve historical, gothic and/or antique buildings. These old buildings provide the foundation for a visual and interactive story of European culture. These centuries old buildings are also inarguably fascinating, and such was the case for this church in St. Philips. There is a great deal of community pride attached to this great old building.

  • MP
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    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 their newly built 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?? There's lot of red tape and restrictions. 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 delapitated 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.

  • Kent
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    What's next? Are they going to start burning crosses In St. Philips? These actions only serve to illustrate how backward this some of these people really are. My sympathies to thos who live in the same cummmunity with these fools.

  • Wayne
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Have any of you had a close look at the place? Vinyl siding , masonite paneling. It may have been a heritage structure once upon a time. Now it just looks pretty from a distance. If the committee wants it, let them buy it for it's appraised value or be quiet. I would be very interested to know how many of these 'concerned citizens' are regular parishioners and give generously to the church. The Rev. Keeping needs to relax as well. He's supposed to be an example to the world...not a hothead

  • Michael
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Leah... don't hold your breath. God is imaginary. Created by the minds of men to control others.

  • Imaginery
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Was God looking out for the church? I don't think so, and God certainly doesn't embrace that reverend and his idiotic way.

  • fintip
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Personally I'm not sure an old church surrounded by graves a long distance from the main road is the best place for a municipal museum. But that's not really the point is it. Council was within its rights to refuse a demolition permit, at least unless and until they were over-ruled by the appeals board. Keeping may not have been directly responsible for the destruction of the tower, but at the very least his behaviour would have been enough to incite others to do so. How can he face his congregation on Easter Sunday and preach peace?

    On a more practical note, consideration might be given to relocating the structure to vacant piece of land closer to the road. This would solve the problem of the graveyard and provide better access and parking for tourists. By now, no doubt, the bishop would be happy to turn it over for a dollar.

  • Al Zheimer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    Here's the church, and here's the steeple - cheeses no, someone knocked the *&$#* down!!!

  • robroy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    I think the people responsibile for this act should be made to pay for the repair of the steeple. after being charged. This is be an unacceptable act in any form.

  • member of the 20%
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Ah, in the true spirit of Easter, bickering over the church; timing couldn't be better. Putting a wedge between families, pitting neighbour against one another; isnt it amazing how religion seems to bring out the worst in some people? Many a war has been fought in the name of peace and religion. On with the conflict boys, heap some of that good old kindness and fellowship upon one another; don't rationalize a situation and engage in peaceful and meaningful dialogue, communication or compromise.

  • Mommy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    Those do gooders were told to fork over the 10 million and move that rotting shack. They failed to do so. Burn it down. The owners are the Anglican Church of Canada, not some local hicks. Hope they have a few hundred thousand for lawyers, because that is what it will take to save this now in the courts on top of the sale and moving costs. Give it up.

  • John
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    Not much charm left in that old building. Like mentioned.. Vinyl siding etc. Estimates on repairs/rebuilding ALWAYS balloon larger as well. So what might have been $300k to fix, would probably end up being closer to $500. The town would only get so far and then turn to the church again for funding once they've over spent.. then realize, that it isn't a viable option as a museum anyway. It has sentimental value to locals yes, but really, how many outside visitors are going to want to see a 116yr old church with vinyl siding. It would have to be rebuilt from scratch basically to recapture its old charm. I say the council should reconsider and have it taken down.

  • Judith
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    I can not imagine having the nerve to do such a destructive thing. What is it with churches who want to hold on to old buildings that are falling down and costing money. Our parish of St. George's and Christ Church closed last July with much joy and celebration. Yes it was tinged with sadness and loads of memories but we did more in dying than we ever did in living. We gave away St. George's Church to another church who had the money to fix it up. Christ Church which is surrounded by a cemetary will eventually be demolished and a placque erected to its memory and mission. The rectory of St. Goerge's was sold and the money given to worthwhile charities in our community such as the hospital, children's and women's resource centers and the food bank etc. A small amount was given to Primates World RElief and the neighbouring parish of St. John's. We have moved to that Parish and we have been welcomed with open arms and we are slowing taking our place in that community. The church is much more than the building, it is the people and the community and the mission of the church is not in its structures. It is in the building up of God's kingdom and you certainly don't do it with such animosity towards your neighbour.

  • Michael
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    Tear it down.

  • Keepin' It Real
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    Hundreds and thousands of years of waste dedicated to an imaginary man in the sky. ''Religion'' built on fear and concepts that can not be proven nor disproven. What a farce. There is no person as evil as one who thinks they have ''God'' on their side. Tear down all the churches, I say.

    Many of these ''holy'' men and women are in the business just to feed their own egos. They like the attention and the feelings of power they have over other people - just as some do it through financial means, others do it by spiritual means. Same principle, different approach. See the behaviour of this Keeping fellow for an example. He seems rather upset that he can't get his own way and might have to listen to the thoughts of other people with differing opinions. Rather odd for a religious man, don't you think? Love thy neighbour... Turn the other cheek... where does that come into it?

  • Keepin' It Real
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    Leah, am I supposed to be afraid of the invisible man who loves everyone, sees everything we do, knows everything, is all-powerful, and yet we have no evidence of his or her existence other than some old books that I'm supposed to just accept as fact?

    If in 1000 years someone stumbled on a Superman comic book from our time, they might believe that Superman existed but of course they'd be wrong.

  • Richard John
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    Keeping does not represent our congregation, if this is the action he was willing to take against our wishes. I foresee an empty building on Sunday. They still haven't filed a complaint to the police, meaning they have something to hide.

  • Joanne
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    Ahhh, Michael, pls. don't say that. This little church has been in the lives of families for generations, and most of them want it restored and preserved.

  • Fig
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    Great April Fool's joke!!

  • David
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    Not that I'm very religious, but an angry mob crucified Jesus on the cross .... tomorrow, Good Friday, coincidentally.... because he made the rulers of the day fearful they would not get their way.

    So here we are, at a place built to commemorate that exact history, and an unruly mob vandalizes the building, fearing they won't get their own way.

    Attending a service an hour a week doesn't make you a Christian. There's still a lot of week leftover.

  • The Church Is
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    If this group wants it so bad they can get the Ten Million dollars to buy it. Otherwise the Church can do as they please.

  • Appalling disrespect
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    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.

  • Leah
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    This is very sad, as well as discouraging, to think that someone would come up with those plans and then actually go ahead and carry them out. How cruel as to destroy a House of God that others are trying so hard to come up with the resources to restore and preserve.
    I hope it's not gone beyond repair now with this heartless, senseless act.

  • Joanne
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    Joey, what in the world are you talking about? There are Godless people living everywhere. You are just being sarcastic, right? Or maybe it's me, and I missed your point as your post being a joke.

  • John Doe
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    Those that damaged the church have only given renewed strength to the group that wants to save it. This was just the kind of incentive, to rally the troops, that they needed.

  • Politically Incorrect
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    How very convenient for the Anglican Archdiocese. In Toronto, when a controversial property, coveted by developers, reached a certain value, it would mysteriously burn down and would be blamed on beer drinking teenagers. Not that Im suggesting anything.

  • Joni
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    I hope the church survives and is turned into a heritage museum. We tear down far too many of these old, historical structures.

  • David
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    Po9litically Incorrect, I know what you aren't saying.

    The Churches, tax-exempt businesses that they are, foster a deep understanding in their clergy of how to make money. And real estate has always been a great one.

    In eastern Newfoundland, the investment in seaside churches has finally come home to roost. Praise the Lord!

  • Ronny
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    Yes! Tear that ish down and we'll be one step closer to just us, the mountains and some beers! Down with heritage and interesting structures!

  • Gerry
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    In the meanitme folks, get used to this type of scenario. The Anglican Church of Canada (Dioceses) have no concern whatsover about the buildings (old or new) if they are not paying for themselves.
    They will let them burn, rot or be sold to others BUT will not sell them to breakaways like the new Anglican Network in Canada, No, No, No..that would almost be heretical. Interesting though, the Episcopalian Church in the USA (same attitude as the ACoC) just sold one to the Muslims. Wow..... but they would not sell it to a breakaway Anglican Church that is attempting to remain faithful to the Holy Scriptures and the Faith.

  • Steve
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    As an outsider looking in, some how I get the impression that there is something much deeper that runs through this story.

    There must be some kind of tentative plans for the land once the building is gone?

    Usually the same old story - follow the money trail.

  • Cory
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    I have been told that declaring this building a heritage site forces the church to maintain at least the exterior of the building. The church can barely afford to run the new building. I believe Mr Keeping is being shoved into a corner and I sympathize with him. We can all act out of character when shoved into a corner.

  • Gerry
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    Joey from around the bay writes what godleess people we have living out around the bay?
    Hello......St. Philips is right next door to St. John's and the way I see it right now it is three godless people who did this act and what appears to be a priest who has lost touch with reality and perhaps God himself.
    Rev. Keeping behaved very un-Christlike in this situation and should certainly enter into confession, repentance and asking of forgiveness of his parishioners. Shame.

  • suspicious in nl
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    One word...INSURANCE!!!

  • Athiest
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    I'm about as godless as they come, but I support the restoration of this building, not as a house of god, but as a heritage site for the community.

  • Mike
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    100 years does not a heritage site make especially in an area inhabited by Europeans since before the USA or mainland Canada had even been colonised. I hope the church prevails on this one and is awarded legal costs and damages to boot. If the town or citizens want the property for themselves make an offer to buy it and hope the church likes the price. Any other form of action is tantamount to theft.
    Those that call this act vandalism of a house of God are wrong. The building was deconsecrated long ago so I don't think there is any holiness attached to it any more. Besides, there is little doubt as to who did this and I doubt that person would commit any sort of desecration.

  • Leah
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    Keepin' It Real from NL,
    One day you will find out for REAL that there is a God.

  • Maggie
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    The God that I believe in would never want a community to be at war with one another over a building.

    For the sake of a building a community will be torn in two? The Reverand and Anglican Church must guide its parishioners, not divide them. If a majority of the community wants to save this Church, then let them. It is just one more way to bring people together.

  • Joey
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    what Godless people we have living out around the bay today.

  • Gerry
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    I'd say that the good Rev. would be best served by not saying anything else. What a shame that A bishop and a lawyer have to advise him that he must behave in a more Christian manner.

  • Natasha
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    In Europe, a great deal of money is spent to preserve historical, gothic and/or antique buildings. These old buildings provide the foundation for a visual and interactive story of European culture. These centuries old buildings are also inarguably fascinating, and such was the case for this church in St. Philips. There is a great deal of community pride attached to this great old building.

  • MP
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    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 their newly built 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?? There's lot of red tape and restrictions. 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 delapitated 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.

  • Kent
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    What's next? Are they going to start burning crosses In St. Philips? These actions only serve to illustrate how backward this some of these people really are. My sympathies to thos who live in the same cummmunity with these fools.

  • Wayne
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    Have any of you had a close look at the place? Vinyl siding , masonite paneling. It may have been a heritage structure once upon a time. Now it just looks pretty from a distance. If the committee wants it, let them buy it for it's appraised value or be quiet. I would be very interested to know how many of these 'concerned citizens' are regular parishioners and give generously to the church. The Rev. Keeping needs to relax as well. He's supposed to be an example to the world...not a hothead

  • Michael
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    Leah... don't hold your breath. God is imaginary. Created by the minds of men to control others.

  • Imaginery
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    Was God looking out for the church? I don't think so, and God certainly doesn't embrace that reverend and his idiotic way.

  • fintip
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    Personally I'm not sure an old church surrounded by graves a long distance from the main road is the best place for a municipal museum. But that's not really the point is it. Council was within its rights to refuse a demolition permit, at least unless and until they were over-ruled by the appeals board. Keeping may not have been directly responsible for the destruction of the tower, but at the very least his behaviour would have been enough to incite others to do so. How can he face his congregation on Easter Sunday and preach peace?

    On a more practical note, consideration might be given to relocating the structure to vacant piece of land closer to the road. This would solve the problem of the graveyard and provide better access and parking for tourists. By now, no doubt, the bishop would be happy to turn it over for a dollar.

  • Al Zheimer
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    Here's the church, and here's the steeple - cheeses no, someone knocked the *&$#* down!!!

  • robroy
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    I think the people responsibile for this act should be made to pay for the repair of the steeple. after being charged. This is be an unacceptable act in any form.

  • member of the 20%
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    Ah, in the true spirit of Easter, bickering over the church; timing couldn't be better. Putting a wedge between families, pitting neighbour against one another; isnt it amazing how religion seems to bring out the worst in some people? Many a war has been fought in the name of peace and religion. On with the conflict boys, heap some of that good old kindness and fellowship upon one another; don't rationalize a situation and engage in peaceful and meaningful dialogue, communication or compromise.