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Letter: We won’t let the old church be forgotten

['Aerial view of the 1894 church in St. Philip’s.']
['Aerial view of the 1894 church in St. Philip’s.']

This is an update concerning The Church By The Sea Inc. Heritage Group and its plans in memory of the old St. Philip’s 1894 church building. The building was unnecessarily demolished in 2015. A construction company was hired by the parish hierarchy to destroy the church building and bring the pulverized pieces to the dump, at a cost of over $95,000 from parish funds.

The Church By The Sea (CBTS) had tried in vain to save the heritage building. After a six-year struggle by its board and supporters to save the old church, the Town of Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s, under the leadership of Mayor Moses Tucker and Deputy Mayor Gavin Will, approved a demolition application by Bishop Geoff Peddle and Rev. Edward Keeping to demolish the town’s own municipally designated heritage building. The CBTS had presented council with a long-term plan for preservation and public use of this historic building, and had positive plans for preservation, maintenance and use by the parish, at no cost to the town or parish. However, this common sense approach was ignored.

 Therefore now the CBTS board and supporters will work to save the memory of the more than 100-year history of the church building. We are working with the Grand Concourse Authority on a storyboard and presentation panel that will depict the 1894-2015 history of the old church. Plus, this year we will donate funds in memory of the St. Philip’s 1894 church to similar religious historic buildings that are being preserved and maintained for future generations.

For those interested in this heritage, we accept donations in memory of the St. Philip’s 1894 church building. As a Canada Revenue Agency registered charity we will issue tax receipts. You can contact us by mail at The Church By The Sea Inc. Heritage Group, PO Box 1894 Station C, St. John’s, N.L. A1C 5R4 or visit us online: www.TheChurchByTheSea.ca

Steve Sharpe, volunteer president
The Church By The Sea Inc. Heritage Group

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