Chronology

1874
Alexander and Fanny Clyde and their children, 6 sons and 2 daughters arrived in Victoria, B.C. (One daughter, Annie Frances Clyde Middleton was a member of First Baptist Church until her death, April 5th 1973.) They had traveled west in a covered wagon over the Oregon Trail to San Francisco then took a steamer to Vancouver Island.
1875
Alexander Clyde sought out other Baptists in the community and this group, including both blacks and whites, met in their homes for prayer meetings. There had been black Baptists on the island since 1859.
May 20,1875
The Clydes’ pastor in Stratford, Ontario placed an appeal for a pastor for Victoria in the Canadian Baptist.
March 29, 1876
Rev. William Carnes arrived from Chesley, Ontario. (Accompanied by John Sluggett)
May 3, 1876
Fifteen people met to organize the First Baptist Church. They were: William Carnes, Fielding Spotts, Alexander Clyde, Julia Spotts, Mrs. Fanny Clyde, Thomas W. Pierie, Caleb Bishop, Alfred Oldershaw, Mrs. Johnson, Thomas Mathews, John Sluggett, Augustus Christopher, Madison F. Bailey, Mrs. Sally Page, Mrs. Mary A. Bailey. This was the first Baptist cause to be inaugurated in British Columbia, and indeed the first Canadian Baptist work west of Winnipeg.
January 1877
First Baptist Church, also known as “Baptist Chapel” and “North Star Mission” was built for $6000.00 on Pandora Avenue between Douglas and Blanshard.
February 2, 1877
The first baptismal service in the province was conducted with 3 persons being baptized.
February 12 – March 1, 1877
Evangelistic services were held with Rev. J. C. Baker, Home Mission Secretary of the American Baptist Convention.
September 16, 1877
Rev. J H. Teale accepted a one-year call but stayed for 17 months.
September, 1877
The church was received into the Puget Sound Association of Washington Territory.
September, 1877
Mrs. J. C. Baker organized the women into a circle to collect money for Foreign Mission Work.
November, 1877
Brother Gowens proposed travelling to England to collect money to relieve the church of its debt.
August 7, 1878
Pew rents were introduced to help pay the pastor’s salary.
August 19, 1878
The church decided to send a delegation to the organization of a church at New Westminster.
February 27, 1879
Rev. George Everton was called
June 2, 1880
Rev. T. Spansvich was temporary pastor for three months.
January 6, 1881
A letter written by W. S. Freed, Victoria, was published in the Canadian Baptist, pleading for financial assistance from the Baptists in Ontario.
January or February, 1883
The mortgage on the church building was foreclosed and the congregation lost their building. Rev. Beaven left, but the church continued to meet in rented halls.
June 3, 1883
The church was disbanded.
June 5, 1883
Twenty-three members reorganized as Calvary Baptist Church and included in their covenant was the statement, “no distinction shall ever be made in respect of race, colour, or class.”
February, 1884
Mr. Walter Barss of Wolfville, Nova Scotia, then a student at Rochester, New York, was called.
September, 1884
Rev. Barss arrived and entered upon his labours and the little flock was richly blessed, numerically, financially and spiritually.
October, 1885
Calvary Baptist Church was built on Herald Street near Blanshard.
November 29, 1885
A mission Sunday School was begun at Spring Ridge which eventually became Emmanuel Baptist Church.
December 12 or 13, 1885
The church, with 61 members, dedicated their building free of debt and became, “…no longer sojourners but owners of a house in which to worship God without let or hindrance.”
Spring, 1886
A mission building was built at Spring Ridge.
January 1, 1887
Calvary’s membership had grown to 98.
January – September, 1887
Under the leadership of Rev. Barss the church continued to grow. “A good work was carried on among the sailors of Her Majesty’s ships lying in Esquimalt and Rev. Barss regularly rode to Saanich to conduct services there.” The work was abandoned by his successor, but was afterward revived through the efforts of the Baptist Local Preachers’ Association of Victoria and became the nucleus of the Saanich Baptist Church.
Fall, 1887
Rev. Barss resigned “after three years of successful but perhaps too strenuous work”. He died in Geneva, New York in 1891.
November, 1887
Rev. M. L. Rugg became the pastor and the church prospered in all departments of work. Property was bought in Victoria West and a plain substantial building was erected, suitable for Mission work and a Sunday School.
September 4, 1890
Emmanuel Baptist Church was organized with 23 members, 22 of whom came from the sponsoring Calvary church. Rev. J. E. Coombs was called and the church undertook a further extension of work. Rev. Coombs was a favourite with the Young People.
April, 1893
A small plain building was erected and opened for services at Tennyson Road in the Burnside District. Later proceeds were used to build the old Douglas Street Baptist Church.
August 24, 1893
Calvary Baptist Church was incorporated as a body corporate and politic. Certificate # 23.
End of January 1894
Rev. Coombs left.
March, 1894
Rev. Thomas Baldwin, “…was a strong man , excelled as a preacher, was experienced and had general good judgement. While not always carrying the majority with him, he was both practically efficient and intentionally biblical.”
May, 1895
Rev. Ralph W. Trotter succeeded Rev. Baldwin and his pastorate was, “most aggressive and fruitful.”
April 15, 1896
Rev. Trotter was the Financial Agent for the Executive of the British Columbia Baptist Church Extension Society. Along with others he realized the advisability and necessity of the churches in British Columbia forming themselves into a Convention for the purpose of carrying on and promoting denominational interests in the province.
July 7 – 9, 1897
The executive suggested with confidence the advisability of the dissolution of the present Society and the organization of a Baptist Convention of British Columbia. Therefore the first annual British Columbia Baptist Convention was held at the First Baptist Church, Vancouver with 69 delegates representing nine churches. Eight plus the pastor attended from Calvary. Rev. Trotter was asked to visit the churches in Eastern Canada to ask for financial aid for the British Columbia churches. “Brother Trotter, at great sacrifice to himself and his church acceded to our request and spent four or five months in placing our needs before the minds of our friends in the Eastern Provinces.”
January, 1898
Rev. Trotter organized a mission work among the Japanese and at his request the Convention of B. C. Baptists granted aid for the support of a Japanese Christian brother to instruct and evangelize his own people.
July 5 – 7, 1898
The second annual convention of B. C. Baptist Churches was held at Calvary church. Rev. Trotter was elected president for the coming year. There was a report of the Japanese work.
April 1, 1899
Rev. Trotter left the pastorate.
June – October, 1899
Rev. J. E. Coombs acted as interim pastor.
October 15, 1899
Rev. J. F. Vichert of Rapid City, Manitoba became the pastor. He was secretary of the mission board, practically acting as Superintendent of Missions. His ministry was exceedingly useful in unifying and stabilizing the work of the church and denomination.
July 9 – 12, 1901
Fifth Annual Convention held at Emmanuel Church showed membership at Calvary as 306.
July 8 – 11, 1902
The Sixth Annual Convention was held at First Baptist, Nelson, B. C. and report gave membership of Calvary, Victoria as 325. The report also included an obituary for Brother Fielding Spotts, a pioneer Baptist in B. C. a charter member of First Baptist, Vancouver, Calvary Church, Victoria, and Saanich Baptist. “A simple trusting consistent child of God, respected by all who knew him.”
July 2, 1903
The church relinquished the life insurance policies for their cash surrender value to help in paying the debt.
July, 1903
Rev. J. F. Vichert was the incoming president of the Convention.
January – April, 1904
Rev. W. C. King supplied the pulpit while Rev. Vichert took 3 months leave of absence and I month of vacation to attend McMaster University.
July 1, 1904
Calvary Baptist Church adopted a new constitution and by-laws.
July 5 – 9, 1904
The Eighth Annual Convention report shows membership at 280 and reports that the, “Baptist Young Peoples’ Union (BYPU) of the Calvary Church has conducted six concerts at a downtown mission providing programme and refreshments. In addition they exercise a fostering care over a vigorous Junior’s Union.” In addition, Brother Vichert was appointed editor and business manager of the Western Baptist.
July 11 – 14, 1905
Ninth Annual Convention was held at Calvary Baptist in Victoria. Rev. Vichert was given $50.00 as a “slight token of appreciation” of his work for the Western Baptist. Membership at Calvary was reported as 259.
September 30, 1905
Rev. Vichert resigned to continue his education.
November 5, 1905
Rev. F. T. Tapscott from Sault Ste. Marie began his ministry at Calvary. This proved to be the beginning of one of the most eventful periods in the Baptist history of Victoria.
September 11 – 12, 1906
An Ex Parte Council was held in Emmanuel Church. A report of this meeting was sent to and published by the Western Baptist.
July 23, 1907
Calvary Baptist Church building was burned to the ground. “There was nothing saved but a few hymn books and the piano which was old and of little worth.” The Central and Calvary congregations continued to meet in rented buildings. During the following months Calvary suffered a steady loss of congregation, most joining with Central.
October 18, 1907
Central adopted the Canadian Baptist Hymnal and the pastor’s appointment was made permanent.
October 31, 1907
Members recommended that Calvary reenter into fellowship with the B. C. Baptist Convention.
April 5, 1908
Rev. Frederick Letts was called to pastor Calvary for a period of three months.
October 15, 1908
“It was advertised in the paper the intention to apply to the Lieutenant Governor in Council for permission to change the name of the Corporation of Calvary Baptist Church to that of First Baptist Church.”
December 3, 1908
The Registrar General was authorized to change the name of the corporation.
1909
Several properties were considered as building sites and investments.
October 3, 1909
Rev. H. C. Speller was hired for three months but stayed until February.
November 4, 1909
The site of the Calvary Church on Herald Street was sold for $1900.00.
April 1, 1910
Rev. Burnett’s work at the church was considered done by a vote of the church so he resigned.
June, 1910
Rev. J. B. Warnicker began his ministry.
Aug 4, 1910
A lot was leased on the corner of Quadra and Yates Streets and a “temporary” church was erected. The trustees were instructed to procure a seal for the First Baptist Church Corporation and were instructed that in future all business transactions be over the church seal.
October 2, 1910
The first services were held in the “temporary” church.
January 24, 1911
A promise was made to cooperate in maintaining an Associate Pastor, which the executive had promised to secure, to carry out the work of the Missions.
1911
The church, with the sum of $2000.00 considered many properties.
November 28, 1911
A property at Fisgard and Vancouver Streets was finally chosen.
January 18, 1912
At the annual meeting a report on the work at Burnside was accepted and the workers under Rev. Thorpe were congratulated on their splendid progress. A building committee was appointed.
August 22, 1912
Twenty-seven members, including Rev. Thorpe, the associate pastor, left to form Burnside Church which was a result of several missions sponsored by First Baptist.
November 16,1912
The first sod for the new building was turned by Albert J. Clyde.
June 12, 1913
The church rented the new Dominion Theatre for Sunday services as the “temporary” building had not sufficient room.
July 3 – 8, 1913
The B. C. Baptist Convention was held in Victoria. A telephone was deemed a necessity so one was installed for one month.
July – August 191
To raise money for the new building the church borrowed on several properties it owned and nineteen members signed as guarantors. War was declared and many men went off to war.
1915
Wartime depression fell upon Victoria. The church was carrying a heavy burden financially on Victoria West Mission, Douglas Street Church, Fisgard and Vancouver property. A property on Pandora, bought as a speculation to help pay for the church building, was lost along with their investments in these properties.
February 6, 1916
The Lord’s Supper following the church service was not observed owing to the cold and an excessive fall of snow.
May 25, 1916
Rev. J. Warnicker retired effective June 30, 1916.
May 28, 1916
It was recommended that the church return to the “temporary” building at Yates and Quadra Streets on June 30, 1916.
June 7, 1917
After some thoughts of disbanding, the church with the encouragement of the Baptist Union, decided to once again try to call a pastor.
November 1, 1917
Rev. P. Clifford Parker became the acting pastor of the church with 195 members. The executive worked on home visitations and plans to increase givings.
October 20 – November 17, 1918
The churches in Victoria were closed and services banned due to the influenza epidemic.
November 11, 1918
The Armistice Agreement was signed bringing an end to the World War.
March, 1919
In spite of financial problems, the congregation was still looking for a permanent pastor and a permanent building. The executive considered the Congregational Church building on Quadra Street for the first time.
July, 1919
First Baptist released the Douglas Street Church property to the Baptist Union.
1920
The church considered new property but financing was difficult. The Baptist Union of Western Canada had granted money to help pay off the debt but the church still held several properties upon which so much was owed that there was no equity in them and interest and taxes continued to accrue.
1920
The Baptist Church Independent (The Tabernacle Church) finally disbanded in September 1920.and twenty people moved their membership to First Baptist.
April 21, 1921
Rev. Parker resigned. “The congregation spoke of when he had come four years earlier they were considering disbanding, but because of his faithful work the church was now in better condition than it had been for a number of years.”
October 16, 1921
A call was accepted by Rev. W. P. Freeman and in November he started his work in Victoria.
Feb 5, 1922
The three Baptist churches, First, Emmanuel, and Douglas Street, held a rally.
November 17,1922
“The Ladies Aid Society disbanded for the purpose of organizing a larger society to be known as the Women’s Union of the First Baptist Church, the aims and objects of which shall be to promote a more friendly and Christian relationship amongst the members of the church.”
April 8, 1923
Plans were made to have combined services with the Congregational Church during July and August.
May, 1924
Once again First Baptist was considering a permanent home.
October 12, 1924
The decision was made to combine the First and the Tabernacle Sunday Schools and to close the Tabernacle building.
August, 1925
Rev. Freeman completed his ministry at First Baptist Church.
January, 1926
The former Congregational Church building at Quadra and Mason Streets was rented on a shared basis and the congregation vacated the “Temporary” Church, which was to be moved from the rented site by January 31, 1926.
January 13, 1926
About 200 sat down at a supper which preceded the Annual Meeting in their “new” church. The church membership was listed as 298. All current bills were paid and a balance of $290.37 remained. The Sunday school had 24 teachers and officers and an average attendance of 101. The reports also showed C.G.I.T., Junior Mission Circle, and Teenage Boys were all active and growing. Acting Pastor Dr. C. Wellington Camp gave a short message.
May, 1926
Rev. James Strachan of Fort Wayne, Indiana became the pastor. Mr. Strachan was born in Victoria and was converted and baptized 30 years previously at Calvary Church and thus became pastor of the people with whom he had worshipped as a boy.
October, 1929
Rev. Strachan accepted a call to the pastorate of First Baptist Church, Saskatoon.
September, 1930
Rev. G. A. Reynolds accepted the call to the pastorate of First Baptist.
1934
Because of the depression the church decided to move to temporary quarters considering that the rent was too high. The rent was reduced and the church stayed on.
1935
The church agreed to purchase the building for the sum of $20,000.00. They paid $2000.00 in cash with two mortgages. ($10,000.00 and $8000.00)
September 27, 1936
Dedication Service of First Baptist Church.
September 27, 1941
Commemorating the 5th anniversary of the purchasing of the present church home, members and adherents observed another milestone in their history by rededicating the church and also celebrated the 11th anniversary of Rev. Reynolds ministry at the church.
Sept 30, 1941
The burning of the first mortgage took place following a church banquet. Charter members assisted in the ceremony.
October, 1945
Rev. Reynolds resigned due to ill health
October, 1945
Rev. G. Ralph Easter began his ministry at First Baptist.
May 5, 1946
For the first time a service was broadcast over the C.B.C. from First Baptist.
May 19, 1946
Seventieth Anniversary was celebrated.
1946
Sunday School was started at Elk Lake.
June, 1947
Miss Charlotte Hardie was Director of Christian Education until July 1949.

Pastors

Buildings

January 1877
Built First Baptist Church located on Pandora Street mortgage foreclosed in January or February 1883. The church met in rented facilities.
October 1885
Calvary Baptist Church was built on Herald Street.
December 12, 1885
Building dedicated and free of debt.
July 23, 1907
Church building destroyed by fire. The church once again met in rented facilities.
November 4, 1909
Herald Street property sold.
August 4, 1910
First Baptist Church met in a “Temporary” frame built building on leased land Mortgage foreclosed on building but was released after settlement.
June 12 1913
Moved to rented facilities again because the “Temporary” building was too small for the congregation.
May 28, 1916
Returned to “Temporary” building.
January 1926
Rented the Congregational Church Building at Quadra and Mason Streets on a “shared” basis January 31, 1926 “Temporary” building closed.
1927
Leased Congregational Church as sole tenants.
1935
Purchased Congregational Church building.
September 27, 1936
Dedication Service for building at Quadra & Mason Streets.
September 30, 1941
Burning of First Mortgage.
May 20, 1946
Burning of Second Mortgage.
February 1964
Bought land at Quadra and North Park Streets for future building.
May 27, 1968
Land paid in full. Church rented temporary quarters at First United Church on Balmoral Street.
February 24, 1974
Sod-turning ceremony for a New Church Building and North Park Manor.
November 16, 1975
New church building at Quadra and North Park Streets opened.
September 19, 1976
Church building dedicated.

Veterans


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