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South Shore Genealogical Society


Updates concerning donations, salvage, restoration of St. John's Anglican Church




NEWS:

Two sources will be utilized below, "Official" and "Conversation". These are not press releases - the information has been gleaned from personal contact.



Current News Updates
Archived News Updates - December 22, 2001 to February 23, 2002
Archived News Updates - November 16 to December 21, 2001
Archived News Updates - November 5 to November 11



November 11, 2001
Official from Edward Jordan, co-chairman, along with Andrew Eisenhauer, of the rebuilding committee (his words from an email) -
Andrew and I are co-chairs of the committee to get things done. We are, at this time, still selecting people who will serve as heads of sub-committees, and getting their commitments to serve..



November 11, 2001
Official from Edward Jordan, co-chairman, along with Andrew Eisenhauer, of the rebuilding committee (his words from an email) -
On November 25th, there will be a congregation meeting at which all possible alternatives [about a course of action] will be presented to the parish members. On December 2nd, a vote will be held to determine the final course of action...All ballotting, at both the Parish Council and Congregational meetings, will be by secret ballot.



November 11, 2001
Official from Edward Jordan, co-chairman, along with Andrew Eisenhauer, of the rebuilding committee (his words from an email) -
The 11 bells have been taken to Lunenburg Foundry and removed from the wooden mounting frame. Three of the bells have cracks in them. The biggest bell which tumbled from the tower at 7:34 A.M. during the fire, has a crack of about 12 inches in length, which does not extend to the lower circumference. Two of the smaller bells have hairline cracks on their upper shoulders of about 6 inches in length. [Edward] was told that all the bells still "ring" when struck. Ten of the bells were cast by Meneely & Co., West Troy, NY and carry the cast on date of 1902. The last bell carries the designation "Mears of London" and is dated 1813. The bells are at the Foundry for repair and refurbishing.



November 11, 2001
Official from Edward Jordan, co-chairman, along with Andrew Eisenhauer, of the rebuilding committee (his words from an email in response to specific questions) -
1. [question: the beginnings of a plywood fence was noted, will it be extended completely around the church?] The plywood fence will be extended around all four sides of the property. Along Duke Street (east wall), there will be a covered walkway on the road surface, about 4 feet wide. It will have viewing ports at appropriate intervals. The fence will be for 2 or 3 years, and will be painted.

2. [question: it was noted that most window openings have been boarded up and that some of those windows are carefully laid on the grounds - were the two intact stained glass windows on the south east wall removed without damage?] Only the storm sash have been removed. The stained glass is still in place, sandwiched in polystyrene between sheets of chipboard. This will protect them until they are finally removed for restoration.

3. [question: wooden brace supports are evident along the east wall, does that indicate instability protection or does that mean the wall will remain standing?] The ropes are temporary and will be replaced by steel cables as soon as we get it. No walls will be taken down at the moment. The wooden bracing is for both reasons.

4. [question: have/will more of the interior/artifacts be removed offsite in the short term?] Any artifacts that are even remotely movable will be removed for conservation. At present (a firm) in Bridgewater is working on some items that have been removed. We have had the offer of several storage sites around town and are using at least one.




November 7, 2001
Conversation with Lighthouse Publishing Ltd. -
Our local newspaper publishing company has kindly given permission for the password to be given out to everyone in order that non-subscribers may read all the stories from the Lunenburg Progress Enterprise on-line. This password will be valid until Wednesday, November 14th. It allows you to see all the coverage on this event. Password url: http://freezing:rain@www.lighthouse.ns.ca/index.html . When you get to the main page, click on "The Bulletin and Progress Enterprise Edition on Line" (on the left). If, and only if, you have a high-speed internet connection, you can go directly to http://www.lighthouse.ns.ca/index.html, click on "Click here to try our new format" (on the left) which will download the paper in PDF format.



November 7, 2001
Conversation with Susan Pratt -
A group of people (composed of parishioners, former parishioners and friends) has established a cash reward for information which would lead to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for setting fire to St. John's. This reward presently has contributions of $6,500 CDN and will be capped at $10,000 CDN. This reward has been capped in order not to interfere with the Re-Building Fund. The RCMP set up a special tip line this week at 1-866-881-6666. Plus, there's also the existing Crime Stoppers line at 1-800-222-TIPS(8477).



November 7, 2001
Conversation with member of the Parish Council -
A Steering Committee will be established, probably by early next week. At which time, there will likely be a publicity/public relations person, from whom we hope to be able to get information and/or press releases to keep you updated on donations, progress etc.



November 7, 2001
Conversation with Parish office -
Postal mail has begun to trickle in with donations.



November 5, 2001
Official from Parish Office and Bank -
DONATIONS to the Re-Building Fund: A rebuilding fund has been established by St. John's.

For those in Canada living near a branch of the Bank of Montreal, you may make your donation at any branch. The name of the account (this is important) is: St. John's Church Re-Building Fund.

If you don't live near a branch of that bank, or live out of the country, donations may be mailed to:
St. John's Anglican Church
P.O. Box 238
Lunenburg NS B0J 2C0
Canada

Make your cheque payable to "St. John's Re-Building Fund".

American currency is also acceptable.

For Canadians - charitable tax receipts will be issued for all donations, whether made by mail or through the Bank of Montreal.




November 5, 2001
Official from Parish Office -
ALL church records are stored safely in a vault off site.



November 5, 2001
Conversation with Basil Brownless, Chairman of St. John's Church Heritage Committee -
CHURCH ARTIFACTS SALVAGED: Firemen, parishoners, non-parishoners and hired contractors have been salvaging artifacts since the fire began.

According to Basil, the following have been, or will be, salvaged (some in good condition, some in need of various amounts of repairs and/or restoration):

all the church bells; the altar; the pulpit (including the eagle); the baptismal font; all chalices and paten; the hanging cross which hung from the chancel arch; servers' crosses; the regimental colours of the old Lunenburg Regiment and the Town Militia; original floor; most pews; clock; front outside lamp over entrance doors; all wall plaques (one marble one was in pieces but all the pieces have been recovered); bronze plaque with the list of those buried underneath the church; the 2 bronze Roll of Honour plaques for World War I and World War II; the hand bell set; many hymn books; all photographs which hung on the interior walls; the exterior church sign.

Again, according to those spoken to today, the following are ruined or unsalvagable:

the organ (except for the console) and pipes and the bell ringing mechanisms.



November 5, 2001
Conversations with Andrew Eisenhauer, Chairman of St. John's Church Property Committee and Basil Brownless, Chairman of St. John's Church Heritage Committee, Eric Croft and personal observation -
THE FUTURE: Most of the 10 bells were removed from the site today for refurbishing.

There is to be a meeting of the Parish Council tonight in order to determine various committees to adminster the future of the (re)building. There have been some statements that the architect involved in the rebuilding of St. George's Round Church (which burned in Halifax in 1994) will be hired.

Parks Canada people were (co-incidentally) on site on Thursday, when the fire was in progress, and Friday (when they did a great deal of photography).

Insurance adjusters were busy climbing the ruins in order to video and still-camera the ruins.

Many/most of the artifacts have gone to a restoration firm in Bridgewater.

Women from the parish spent time over the weekend underneath the stained glass windows, collecting shards and fragments of the windows in cardboard boxes, each box was numbered and saved.

Stained glass windows: There are only two that are "intact" - the Prodigal Son and The Annunciation on the southeast wall. Intact meaning that there is no broken glass but stability is another matter if they were removed. All other windows have varying degrees of damage from glass breakage to complete breakage. Large, recovered sections of the windows are in a pile on the lawn, awaiting recovery.

The main detrius from the fire (timbers etc) is being stored. These pieces will doubtless give many clues that will be useful in any rebuilding. Only the completely impossibly destroyed material will be disposed of.

The graves beneath the church are intact.

One thought is to have craftspersons determine how to incorporate small, unuseable pieces of the building into items that could be sold as fundraisers.

To finish on a personal note - at noon today, the sun shone and backlit the two "intact" stained glass windows on the south wall (The Prodigal Son and The Annunciation). Need I say more?




MORE LINKS:

Photographs of the church before, during and after the fire:

November 1, 2001 - The Burning
November 2, 2001 - The Aftermath
The interior after the burning - November 2001
The interior clean up progress - December 7, 2001 and December 28, 2001
The exterior encapsulation progress - January 16, 2002, January 23 - 27, 2002, January 31, 2002, February 7 - 15, 2002 and February 23 - March 2, 2002
Non-structural elements
The restoration of the altar
The exterior before
The interior before
The interior Christmas 1991
"Simon Birch" 1997


Canadian Heritage Minister, Sheila Copps, commits financial assistance at parish hall meeting November 16, 2001
Photograph of Solomon Morash, master builder in charge of the 1892 changes
A Short History of St. John's Anglican Church
People buried under the Church 1761 - 1826
Anglican Diocese of Nova Scotia Historical and Architectural Survey and relevant Links
The Commemoration of St. John's Anglican Church as a National Historic Site October 11, 1998
Interesting Facts & Figures about St. John's



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