Monday 20 February 2012

February 21, 1876

The most important news in the Hamilton Spectator of February 21, 1876 was the opening services at the James Street North church, formerly known as Christ’s Church, but which had been enlarged and transformed into Christ’s Church Cathedral :
“Yesterday was a day of rejoicing among the members of the Church of England in Hamilton – for they were called upon to assist in the opening services of the beautiful church, which has, after years of labour, been so far completed as to permit its use as a church. The original designs make it second to but one other  in the Dominion – the Jesuit church in Montreal – but the cost was entirely beyond the means of the congregation, and they were compelled to shorten the building by one window, and to omit the tower, in place of which a plain front has been put in. This, however, we understand has been so built that it can be taken out and the original plans carried out so soon as circumstances permit.
“Notwithstanding these drawbacks, the church is now without question the most beautiful specimen of church architecture in Ontario, and the delight, with which it was viewed yesterday by the four thousand people who visited it during the three services, attest the creditable pride which its completion has inspired, - a pride, we are happy to say, not confined to Episcopalians, but pervading all our various sects, for we find the building is looked upon by all denominations as an ornament to the place, and an important addition to its fame as the beautiful city of Hamilton”
The Holy Communion was administered at eight o’clock a.m., by the Rev. Dean Geddes and his Curate, Mr. Sutherland, which was well attended. At half-past ten, the building which seats one thousand was entirely filled, though the services were not commence until eleven; by this time, every seat was compact, the aisles were filled, numbers stood wherever standing room could be found, and after all many were obliged to return home as even the standing room was exhausted.
The clergy, about ten in number, assembled in the vestry at half past ten, and at eleven walked in procession to the Cathedral, and in passing down the centre aisle took their places in front of the church. During the procession, the choir, which was very large and rendered all the material in the most admirable manner, sang, “Pleasant Are Thy Courts Above.” His Lordship Bishop Coxe, of Buffalo, occupied the westerly stall, and our own Bishop, the easterly one. The Dean and Canon Reid, of Grimsby, read the first part of the service, and Canon Worell, the second.
“The anthem, “The Heavens Are Telling,” was then most beautifully rendered by the choir, and we had the greatest satisfaction in listening to the management of the organ by Master Fairclough, the youthful organist, to whom has been entrusted this excellent instrument. We had heard great fears expressed that he was too young and inexperienced to have the charge of an organ so large and powerful; but though no expected him to approach Professor Garratt, we were pleasantly disappointed in finding that he plays with much greater confidence and skill than we had anticipated. He evidently has talent, which, by proper cultivation, will make him a first class performer. “
“The litany was then read by Archdeacon McMurray of Niagara. After singing that grand old hymn – “The Old Hundredth” – our bishop, the bishop of the new diocese of Niagara, read the Aute Communion service. The Dean then read the Epistle, followed by Dr. Shelton, of Buffalo, who read the Gospel. Then the preacher of the day appeared – Bishop Coxe of Western New York, who preached one of his most eloquent and characteristic sermons from the 15th Chapter of Jeremiah, 19th verse.

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