The members of the parish of St Augustine in Marpole awoke Sunday morning to the news that there was a fire overnight in the parkade under the parish hall. The Church, which is a heritage building, was undamaged, but the parish hall suffered some broken windows as well as damage from water and smoke. The Rev. Andrew Halladay is away from the parish at a family wedding this weekend, but has been informed and is working with parish leaders and the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster to ensure that steps are being made to assess the damage and start the insurance claim process. Church services went ahead as usual on the morning of June 18, with coffee, snacks and fellowship in the back of the Church rather than in the parish hall.
Church services will continue as usual through the week of June 19 with Holy Communion at 11am on Wednesday. The programming and community meals held in the hall will be cancelled until further notice. The cause of the fire was a car fire in the underground parking area adjacent to the Parish Hall. The First Responder team leader told media that there was only the one car in the garage however, the cause of that care fire is being investigated. This fire comes as an unwelcome surprise to the parish and the neighbourhood community as the interruption to the 3 weekly community meals, Seniors programming, Food Bank distribution and other programming held in the hall for any amount of time will affect hundreds of people who pass through St Augustine’s doors every week and depend on the ministry that happens in the parish. Over the past three years, since the local neighbourhood house shut its doors after a flood, the parish has become an increasingly important gathering place for the Marpole community, and has partnered with local community organizations and other faith communities to connect with the people of the neighbourhood.
Marpole is home to many seniors, immigrants, low income folks, homeless and under-housed people who gather with other parishioners at St Augustine’s to bring new life and a sense of community to the Church which has been in Marpole since 1908.
The parish is grateful for the prayers and concerns expressed by people in the neighbourhood this morning as well as in Anglican Churches around the Diocese and from ecumenical and interfaith partners. We are strengthened by our connections to God, to the neighbourhood, to the wider Church and to each other.
For up to date information and in order to contribute to St Augustine’s and the programming which is offered here, please contact the parish Treasurer, Caitlin Reilley Beck - email@example.com
PHOTOS: Caitlin Reilley Beck