Peninsula United Church Rev. Janice Young (far left) and redevelopment committee members Fae Chato-Manchuk, Jean Kromm (sitting), Jean Macdonald, Harvey Manchuk and Kees Koster marvel at the 1957 newspaper found with a time capsule in the soon-to-be-demolished First United Church building. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Time capsule found in wall of White Rock church slated for demolition

‘Opportunity to say goodbye to First United’ set for Sunday

A gathering planned for this Sunday in light of the pending demolition of the former First United Church in White Rock had an unexpected item added to its agenda, following the recent discovery of a brass time capsule in a wall of the decades-old building.

Learning what’s inside the weighty cylindrical container will “be the big, exciting mystery that we’ll all share together,” Jean Kromm, a member of the redevelopment committee, said this week.

Kromm said the capsule – which she learned about last week – was found by crews that are preparing the church for demolition. Measuring approximately eight inches in length and an inch in diameter, it was discovered behind an exterior cornerstone located to the left of the building’s front door, near a plaque that was erected when the church was built.

The cylinder was encased in a small box and wrapped with a Sept. 26, 1957 edition of the Semiahmoo Sun newspaper, as well as a church bulletin from the day.

Yellowed from the passage of time, the Sun was in otherwise good condition, complete with the news of White Rock’s first mayor as its headline story.

The church bulletin details information including the budget for expansion plans of the day. The sum – $50,000 – is dramatically less than the multi-million-dollar tab for the four-storey residential care facility that’s set to replace it.

Kromm said murmurings of concern around the demolition process prompted the decision to plan Sunday’s event, “to give people an opportunity to express their feelings” about it and ask questions.

READ MORE: Redevelopment plans for White Rock’s First United unveiled

READ MORE: United Churches on the Peninsula vote to amalgamate

Rev. Janice Young said it’s also an opportunity for those who feel connected to the church to say their goodbyes.

The congregation did that a year ago when it was decommissioned, she said, “but there may be people in the community that maybe haven’t, and we want to give the opportunity to do that before it comes down.”

Redevelopment committee member Kees Koster said he is among those who aren’t ready to say goodbye. A part of the congregation since 1990, Koster has been involved in much of the building’s maintenance and renovation efforts over the years, as well as the extreme-weather shelter, and has accumulated many memories over the years.

“Maybe it’s just my nature that I find it hard to let go of things that are worthwhile,” he said.

“I think once the building is down and once the construction is started, it should focus me the other way. It’s almost like going to a funeral – once you put the body in the ground, that’s closure. I don’t think it’ll be closure for me till the building is down.”

Young said there is a connection between grief and gratitude, but said it’s important to remember that the building itself is not the church.

“The church is way more than a building,” she said. “The church is still here.”

With the discovery of the time capsule, she hopes people who attend Sunday’s gathering – set for 6 p.m. in front of city hall, 15322 Buena Vista Ave. – will come forward to share any memories they may have.

“Let’s go down memory lane… hear why this church was important to them,” she said.

Demolition of the 15385 Semiahmoo Ave. building is anticipated to get underway next week and take about two days to complete. However, the exact start is dependent on the issuance of a permit for the work.

Construction of the care facility campus – which will incorporate a new, ground-level Peninsula United Church fronting Semiahmoo Avenue – is expected to begin in the coming months.

Anyone with more information on the time capsule is asked to contact Kromm at 604-542-0304.

 

The decommissioned First United Church is behind red construction fencing, with demolition expected to get underway next week in preparation for a development that includes new worship space. (Tracy Holmes photo)

A brass time capsule found behind a cornerstone of the decommissioned First United Church is to be opened Sunday (June 9) during a gathering near city hall. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Just Posted

Proposed Sooke gun law sent back to administration. Again.

Fifth time lucky for firearms and bow bylaw?

Victoria Police Department taking too long to respond to emergency calls

A new report says VicPD is not meeting its 911 response targets

Victoria looks to suspend taxi obligations as ride hailing services arrive

Ten ride hailing companies are set to come to Greater Victoria in the new year

VicPD seek missing 82-year-old man with long grey beard

Arthur Shaw was last seen Dec. 6, those who see him should call 911

VIDEO: Harbour Air makes history with first electric aircraft test flight

Successful flight marks first of its kind in the world

Tavares scores twice as Maple Leafs earn 4-1 win over Canucks

Vancouver sees two-game win streak snapped

UPDATED: No survivors in Gabriola Island plane crash: RCMP

Coroner confirms multiple fatalities after small plane goes down Tuesday night near Nanaimo

The Grinch who Stole a Hedge: Security camera captures Chilliwack tree theft

RCMP arrives as person calmly walks away with tree in downtown area

The Russell Troupe finds a comfort zone in small Island community

Family gathering with two parents and five kids a common scene around Chemainus

Salmonella outbreak in Canada linked to rodents and snakes

92 cases of salmonella across six provinces, including B.C.

Meng Wanzhou wins right to more documents involving arrest at Vancouver airport

Defence lawyers allege the Huawei executive was unlawfully detained, searched and interrogated

Truck with body inside found at bottom of lake near Kootenay ferry

Investigators believe no foul play is expected but are unsure how the vehicle ended up in the Arrow Lakes

Most Read