Although Saturday, June 11, 2016 was cold and rainy, the sun was shining on the Parish of St. Alban the Martyr in Burnaby as they observed with gratitude the first anniversary of the electrical fire that damaged a good portion of the 109 year old wooden church.
The more than a half a million dollars worth of repairs and renovations were completed in April of this year and the sanctuary, new offices, narthex and parish hall look fantastic. For more information about the fire, the aftermath of the fire and the repairs please check the links.
The celebration was multi-faceted, consisting of: an Open House invitation to the neighbourhood and beyond; a Service of Thanksgiving; a visit from first responders with a fire truck; a Strawberry Tea. The Thanksgiving liturgy was taken from King David’s Psalm of Thanksgiving found in Chronicles 1:16, where and when David gives thanks that the Ark of the Covenant - the presence of God is back in the Temple. Worship consisted of some hymns, prayers and testimonies from a number of parishioners sharing their feelings of gratitude for the generosity that was shown to the St. Alban’s community in the past year. In so many ways, the fire which could’ve been seen as an insurmountable tragedy galvanized and energized the parish, renewing its commitment to mission and ministry in the Burnaby/Edmonds neighbourhood and revitalizing the parish. Fire is destructive but it also cleanses and rejuvenates and this was certainly the case for St. Alban’s, Burnaby.
There was an excellent turnout for the event and very few chairs were available in the parish hall for the first seating at the Strawberry Tea which featured homemade shortcake, freshly whipped heavy cream and local strawberries. An intergenerational team of parishioners was involved in the preparation, serving and washing up.
The mood at the event was positive, but there was a hint of underlying melancholy as St. Alban’s rector, the Reverend Faun Harriman has resigned and will be beginning a new part time ministry as vicar of St. David and St. Paul, Powell River on September 1.
The Reverend Faun Harriman's last Sunday celebrating the Eucharist and preaching as rector of St. Alban's is June 26.