UPDATE on The Church by The Sea
The six year struggle to save the St. Philip's 1894 Anglican Church, one of the oldest built heritage structures in the Town of Portugal Cove - St. Phillips (PCSP) and a designated Municipal Heritage Building, has come to a sad end. The old church has unnecessarily been demolished in September/October 2015 by the Parish and Diocese – even though The CBTS raised funds and developed sustainable proposals to save it at no cost to the Parish nor to the town. Background: in 2010 the Anglican Parish made a permit request to the Town of PCSP to demolish the 1894 church. On March 30 2010 this request was strongly rejected by the Town Council by a vote of 6 to 1. However in 2015, the Anglican Parish & Diocese made a second demolition request, this time the PCSP Town Council allowed the demolition permit request by a tight 3 to 4 vote.
The Church by the Sea Inc. Heritage Group (CBTS), an organization comprised of parishioners, PCSP citizens, and heritage advocates, tried valiantly to have the iconic building restored to its former glory. CBTS both raised funds and developed sustainable proposals to restore the building and to make it part of the town's tourism development plan. Not only would the building survive as a peaceful reminder of its role in the lives of parishioners past and present, but it would provide much needed community space for PCSP with no financial cost or obligation from the Anglican parish or PCSP.
The CBTS, along with our many supporters, worked hard to educate church leaders and municipal politicians on the historic and cultural value of this building. These ideas were ultimately rejected, and the St. Philip's 1894 Anglican Church has been demolished at an estimated cost of $100,000 to the parish. While we feel that this situation has left a huge scar on the landscape, the Anglican parish, and in the community of PCSP more broadly, we hope that this experience can ultimately lead to a greater good.
CBTS is considering its options for the future. That is, how we will proceed in memory of the St. Philips 1894 Historic Church, with consideration also as to how to dispense funds from our fund raising efforts to save the church and its steeple. Our by-laws, plus the obligation made to the Canada Revenue Agency's Charities Directorate when we were granted status as a charitable organization, limits the funds usage as it relates to preserving built heritage.
We are interested in suggestions and ideas as to how the CBTS will proceed in remembering the old church and dispensing its current (and future) funds. In that regard we invite comments.
Please contact us: via email info@TheChurchByTheSea.ca
or write The CBTS c/o 40 Exmouth Street, St. John's, NL A1B 2E2.
The Church By The Sea Inc. Heritage Group is a volunteer non-profit registered charity, which began as a committee in 2008, incorporated as a non-profit organization and established as a CRA charity in 2010. The CBTS Inc.'s board members all serve on a volunteer basis without remuneration.
We were dedicated to preserving and restoring the historic St. Philip's 1894 Church, which was (and maybe still is) a designated Municipal Heritage building in the Town of Portugal Cove-St. Philip's. Our mission was to see this building preserved as a heritage landmark and become a vibrant part of the community. Due to the unnecessary demolition by the Parish and Diocese (with a demolition permit granted by the PCSP Town Council), part of our mission now includes the preservation of the memory of the St. Philip's 1894 Heritage Church; to allow its history not to be forgotten. And to help prevent other built heritage structures from being unnecessarily destroyed.
Our goals were:
1. SAVE Our Steeple: reattach the toppled steeple to the church tower.
2. PRESERVE the St. Philip's Heritage Church building to its 1894 memory, glory, and dignity.
3. USE this historic building, as:
- a Parish, Town, or Provincial church architecture museum;
- a chapel, under the guidance of the St. Philip's Parish;
- an education model and tool for schools and the community;
- any other uses that are deemed acceptable by the Parish and the community, to bring income for operation and maintenance.
A goal now includes:
4. The preservation of the memory of the St. Philip's 1894 Heritage Church; to allow its history not to be forgotten. And to help prevent other built heritage structures from being unnecessarily destroyed.