The Portland Anglican Parish boasts a deep-rooted history, stretching back to times before any church structure existed. The earliest documented services took place on July 2, 1769, conducted by Rev. Thomas Wood, a missionary from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. Not much is known about the Church’s early days at Portland Point, other than services being held in various rooms and stores.
In 1828, a contract was awarded for the construction of Grace Church at the junction of Simonds and High Streets in Saint John. Grace Church opened on August 16, 1829, and was consecrated on September 15, 1835. The Parish was officially incorporated in the House of Assembly in 1836. However, the expanding congregation soon outgrew Grace Church.
The initial St. Luke’s Anglican Church was constructed on its current site in 1838, with the inaugural services taking place on the morning of December 23. This edifice was built through voluntary donations, amounting to over two thousand pounds.
Tragically, a fire originating from the rear of Kelties Brewery, on the site of the recently shut Scotiabank building, engulfed the building on May 28, 1875.
Rebuilding efforts for St. Luke’s Church commenced swiftly, and the new St. Luke’s Church began holding services in the Sunday School Room (Church Hall) in January 1876.
The Nave was finished and first used on August 29, 1880. The construction was carried out by craftsmen experienced in wooden shipbuilding.
The beautiful stained glass windows were mostly installed in the early 1900’s and were restored in the early 1960’s. The tall spire was removed in 1949 due to safety concerns and replaced with the present tower.
The exterior of the church building had major restoration work done in 1986. In 2000 – 2002 all the windows in the hall, the kitchen, the offices and guild room were replaced.
Since its incorporation, the Parish of Portland has had twelve rectors, beginning with Rev. Gilbert Lester Wiggins (1833 – 1836). The second rector, Rev. William Harrison, served throughout the entire lifespan of the first building (1836 – 1875). Currently, Rev. Canon David Barrett acts as the parish’s priest-in-charge while also holding his full-time position as the Hospital Chaplain in Saint John.
St. Luke’s Anglican Church caters to the spiritual needs of both Millidgeville and Saint John’s North End communities.
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