Christ Church (Anglican) Surrey’s oldest Church
Nestled among towering Douglas Firs, on a hill above Old MacLellan Road in Cloverdale, sits Surrey’s oldest place of worship, Christ Church (Anglican). Since its opening in September 1894, the doors have never closed and the bell still rings out in joy and welcome. Across the street today is a larger and more modern church called Christ the Redeemer whose congregation regularly use the smaller original church for the late Christmas Eve service, Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday, weddings, funerals, baptisms and other special occasions. In comparison to the new church, Christ Church is small , dark and cozy. One can imagine the settlers deriving great comfort from its snug, wood paneled interior and soft candlelight. It still evokes the same ambience today. It’s a lovely intimate place in which to worship and has comforted many souls in times of need. Many veterans of the World Wars had sendoffs from Christ Church and quite a memorial exists to their honour. Many of the original farming families still worship at the church today just as their ancestors did. Due to its beautiful location, and proximity to the border, Hollywood movies have been made using the church and its environs, including the fascinating Surrey Centre Cemetery of which Christ Church is a part.
Abe Huck, the first recorded settler in the area, former Union soldier, builder of the Town Hall at 6022-176th St., donator of land for Surrey Centre Municipal Hall (upon which land the Surrey Centre School now operates), gave the one acre parcel of land where Christ Church has stood for 115 years. In the early days his house was also the general store and post office.
In 1880, the Rt. Reverend Sillitoe arrived from England and issued a missionary call for like minded men to engage in Christian service in the area. Mr. William Bell, after whom the Bell Road is named, answered the call, was ordained Bishop in March 1881 and founded the parish of Christ Church in 1882.
In late July 1894, building materials were lashed together to form a raft and floated down river. The story goes that William Bell was so absorbed in prayer he ran the raft aground on a sandbar and had to be rescued. In spite of the hiccough, the church took only 7 weeks to build, with enthusiastic support from the community, cost $1199.48, and opened its doors on September 28, 1894.
Designated as a heritage site in 1978, Christ Church’s door remain open and serving the community as they have always done.