St. Luke’s Anglican Church Woodstock

St. Luke's Anglican Church Woodstock

St. Luke’s Anglican Church Woodstock

Positioned at the junction of Church and Main streets in Woodstock, St. Luke’s Anglican Church, showcasing Carpenter Gothic design, was sanctified on February 2, 1883, by Bishop Medley. Its significance, both spiritually and architecturally, led to its formal recognition under Canada’s Historic Places on June 14, 2006. The blueprint was crafted by S. C. Earle and W. Price led the construction. It’s the third Anglican Church on this site; its predecessor was lost in the Woodstock Fire of 1881. St. Luke’s Gothic details are evident in its central tower and Gothic arch windows. Although the exterior remains mostly unchanged, save for a recent ramp, the interior has seen subtle changes like electric lights and more stained-glass windows. In 2019, a handicap-accessible restroom was introduced in the north entrance. The original interior design, inclusive of the black oak and walnut seating, and the decorative Casavant organ pipes are still prominent features.

Tragically, on September 22, 1978, a blaze consumed the Parish hall. However, by May 14, 1980, a new hall was constructed and consecrated by Archbishop of Fredericton, the Most Rev. Harold L. Nutter. A salvaged wooden cross from the previous hall, showing fire damage, now graces the hall’s northern wall. 

The Anglican Parish of Woodstock, established in 1786, built its first church between 1804 and 1805 near the northern boundary of the cemetery encircling today’s church in Lower Woodstock. Historical records, although not always clear, indicate that this initial church was dedicated and named Christ Church on a rainy Sunday, August 16, 1835. Despite the unfavourable weather, by eleven in the morning, the building was packed. This church was a modest wooden structure, with no emphasis on architectural elegance or even the comfort of its congregation. It had neither seating nor heating for some time, and its construction was aided by a £150 grant from the House of Assembly.

Christ Church, Lower Woodstock
Christ Church, Lower Woodstock

This church was a modest wooden structure, with no emphasis on architectural elegance or even the comfort of its congregation. It had neither seating nor heating for some time, and its construction was aided by a £150 grant from the House of Assembly. 

For over 100 years, with brief pauses, Woodstock was served by three main rectors: Reverend Frederick Dibblee (1791-1826), Reverend S. D. Lee Street (1830-1870), and Venerable Thomas Neales (1871-1907).

During the early part of Reverend Street’s service, his dedication led him to hold ceremonies in private homes or even barns. This was mainly because of the limited capacity of most homes and the existence of just one church in Woodstock for the entire mission. Under his leadership, as the town of Woodstock expanded roughly three miles from the parish church, a need arose to establish another church in the 1830s. St. Luke’s was built on the generously donated land of Richard Smith, Esq.

St. Luke's Anglican Church, Woodstock
St. Luke’s Anglican Church, Woodstock

From its inception, the Anglican Parish of Woodstock has been home to seventeen rectors. The present rector, Rev. Shirley Noseworthy, marked a milestone as the parish’s first female rector. She was officially inducted on the Day of Pentecost, May 27, 2012, by the Venerable Geoffrey Hall.

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