1910 – 2017
by Mary Graham
Since 1910, Knox has had 4 different sanctuaries for worship. In the narthex there are photos of 7 different full-time clergy that have served Knox since 1922. (We will soon be adding an 8th photo to those walls!) As well, we have had several interim ministers here. On the current Knox property there are 11 washrooms!! In 2010 Knox celebrated its 100th Anniversary with, at least, 7 different events throughout the year. There has been 1 major fire at Knox. There were 10 people at the first communion service.
Now, a few more details – in 1910 a student minister, David Gray, was sent to open a missionary charge in the Kerrisdale district of the Municipality of Point Grey. This was before church union in 1925 and the new mission church was Presbyterian. The group first met in a home and shortly after that moved to the Wilson Road (now 41st Avenue) Public School. A Sunday School building was built the following year on the South East corner of McDonald and 42nd Avenue. It seated 250 and had a full basement. In 1927 Rev.
In 1927 Rev. Dr Woolfrey and his Knox congregation moved to our current, 5600 Balaclava Street, location. A large building was erected on what is now our parking lot. The building had Sunday School facilities, a gymnasium, a kitchen and many multi-purpose rooms. (it is unlikely that it has 11 washrooms!). This building was also used for Sunday worship until our current sanctuary was completed and opened in 1948. When we go outside following the service today, you can look for the cornerstone.
By the time the new sanctuary was completed, all the space in the building on the parking lot was needed for growing numbers in the Sunday School classes and youth groups as well as for annual musical productions, Christmas pageants, bazaars, CGIT and so on. In 1970 additional space was added in the form of a ‘modern’ Fellowship Building. The church offices were re-located there, younger children had their Sunday School classes there and the Little People Parent Participation.
In 1970 additional space was added in the form of a ‘modern’ Fellowship Building. The church offices were re-located there, younger children had their Sunday School classes there and the Little People Parent Participation preschool opened.
In 1975, on a Sunday afternoon, a huge fire completely destroyed the 1927 building. The fire site then became our parking lot and plans were immediately made to add a new kitchen and multi-purpose gym and activity area to the east end of the Fellowship Centre. This new area was christened the Friendship Hall. It has been well used over the past 40 plus years. I taught Sunday School in the gym in the 1970’s.
At that time the gym was also used for musical productions, badminton, church dinners and celebrations and is still widely used by our community groups and by Knox for our Community Lunch program and any large gatherings such as our Christmas Fun Night and our 2 recent Syrian dinners.
And now we find ourselves in 2017 and Knox is on the verge of making another major change. We arrived on this Balaclava Street site in 1927. Ninety years later, 2017, we are about to erect a new building on the very spot where we first settled here!
And … also this year our beloved sanctuary of almost 70 years has just been granted Heritage status by the Vancouver City Council. We will say good-bye to our Fellowship and Friendship buildings but we will begin a new and exciting chapter in the history of Knox United Church. I pray we will thrive and grow as we continue to do God’s work in our neighbourhood, our city and beyond. These are exciting times for Canada and for Knox!