One Hundredth Anniversary
St. Matthew's Anglican Church, Bay Roberts, will be celebrating its one hundredth anniversary in 2012. A beautifully imposing structure, it sits at the top of Church Hill and is clearly visible from vantage points overlooking Bay Roberts Harbour. The cornerstone was placed on July, 12, 1911.
The present church, consecrated by the Rt. Rev. Llewelyn Jones, Bishop of Newfoundland, boasts a rich and colourful history and is the third for the congregation, all bearing the same name. The first St. Matthew's, also the first church for the community, was started in 1824, "on rising ground in front of Mercer's Cove."
Rev. R. T. Lowell - Brother of American Poet James Russell Lowell
Rev. R. T. Lowell, who served as parish priest in the period 1843-1847, is perhaps worth special mention. Lowell was an American and a brother of the poet James Russell Lowell. Rev. Lowell, the son of a Unitarian clergyman, was born in Boston, graduated from Harvard University, and was ordained a priest of the Episcopal (Anglican) Church in 1843, the same year in which he started his ministry in Bay Roberts
He wrote a novel based on his experience as priest in Bay Roberts entitled: New Priest in Conception Bay. The setting for the novel is the village of Peterport, the fictional name by which he referred to Bay Roberts.
St. Matthew’s Church Today
The present building, with seating for 1,100, is one of the largest wooden churches in the province and with the exception of painting and lighting, few changes have been made to its original structure.
Fine timber furnishings, some built by local craftsman, more imported, and many donated in memory of loved ones, add grace, beauty, and dignity to this grand spiritual building. Its rerodos, dedicated during the ministry of the Rev'd Guy Fowlow, 1945 - 1955, were made from an oak tree taken from the old rectory garden in Mercer's Cove.
A Shearstown master carpenter, the late Solomon Badcock, cut, trimmed, shaped, and made the rerodos in his Shearstown carpenter shop. St. Matthew's ornately decorative dome in its nave was built by the late Samuel Greenland, Coley's Point.
The church sanctuary also houses a beautiful stained glass window depicting the Ascension. The large, vividly coloured window is a source of inspiration to all who worship. It is the focal point of the whole church. The lectern, visible below the Ascension stained glass window, is designed as an angel whose up stretched arms hold the Bible. The beauty of the intricately designed pulpit, matches that of the lectern. The most prominent figure is an angel.
A single-manual pipe was built by Philip H. Selfe, Hull, Quebec. It was installed in 1912. During services, its majestic tones fill the church with stirring music.
The baptismal area is located at the back of the church. It is spacious and brightly lit with direct sunlight. Suffer the Little Children Come Unto Me is printed on the arch above the font.
- Text describing the church interior is based on a much larger article by Emily Dyckson
Mission to Guatemala
Not only is the parish involved with work in Bay Roberts, a number of members have participated in work in Guatemala. Pam Norman first became involved in 2008, Pam and other congregation members have traveled to Guatemala three times. They pay their own way, and work within the Mission, helping people in the community and building homes. So far they have built about 20 homes. They chose " Arms of Jesus Children's Mission" because they can see how money is being spent, meet people who are recipients, and know that they are making a real difference in their lives. More than 60% of Guatemala’s people live below the poverty line. The vast majority of Guatemala’s poor are among the Maya and indigenous population. These are the people that the mission assists.
Hours of Visitation Vary. Contact the parish office at: (709) 786-3024 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Matthew's Church is wheelchair accessible.