The Sooke Knox Presbyterian Church Choir in 1962. (Sooke Region Museum photo)

SOOKE HISTORY: Social activities once centred around Presbyterian church choir

The original Knox Presbyterian was the first church built in Sooke

Elida Peers | Contributed

The recent impressive and massive housing development at the corner of Church Road and Wadams Way, adjacent to Knox Presbyterian Church, seems to overshadow the stature and significance that the church once held in Sooke’s cultural life.

This photograph was taken in Knox Presbyterian Church in 1962. While there are certainly still active churches in Sooke today, it appears that the church-going population forms a smaller proportion of the total population than was the case 50 years ago.

The Presbyterian Church Choir was a leader among the social activities of that time, as evidenced by the members in this photo.

Standing at the back are Dr. Grattan Roberts, Ross Pitre; Rev. Alan Beaton, Joseph Jackman, Henk Van Ek, and Eric Butler. In the centre row are Edith McLeod (of Wells O’ Weary), Hazel Shepherd, wife of Lion Ken Shepherd, Doris Burrough, Mrs. Fairweather, Sheila Gallant, who became Mrs. Jim Geskell, Lynda Sullivan, who we all know as Mrs. Lorne Fisk, Dianna Clark, who we know as Mrs. Lanny Seaton, and Christine Clark, who became Mrs. Vanzetta.

Seated in front are Kate Jackman, Mary Pitre, Anka Van Ek, who became Mrs. Wayne Hull, and the church organist and choir leader, Mr. S. McDowell. Next is Joyce Clark, who became Mrs. Barwis, Judy Billan, who became Mrs. Ross Musfelt, and Jean Clark, wife of Ed Clark and mother of Bob and Glenn Bullen.

When I spoke with Lynda Fisk about the photo, she recalled: “After choir, I would have to walk out in bare feet; I used to slip my shoes off during the singing, and the two men standing behind me, Henk Van Ek and Eric Butler, would steal my shoes and then laugh their heads off as I had to walk out barefoot.”

The original Knox Presbyterian Church was the first church built in Sooke, in 1898, a predecessor to the structure shown, and served until 1956 when that structure was moved to Throup Road, where it continues to serve as the Masonic Hall.

The church built in 1956 continues to serve today, standing alongside the historic stones in the old churchyard established 120 years ago.


Elida Peers is the historian of the Sooke Region Museum.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Langford racing enthusiast back in driver’s seat of life after surviving aggressive cancer

70-year-old David Smith finishes mid-pack in Canada 200 race at Western Speedway

New nurse practitioner-led medical clinic welcomes Victoria patients

Health Care on Yates expects to serve 6,800 new patients over the next three years

Central Saanich needs at least more than 500 additional daycare spaces

Report before Central Saanich says region faces a ‘chronic shortage’ of daycare spaces

Metchosin inmate sentenced to 12 months in jail for escaping custody

Sentence to be served concurrent to a life sentence he was already serving

Sooke jumps on board to ban use of rat poison

City staff will educate residents on harmful effects of rodenticides

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

Most Read