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100 Years

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Cathedral 100 years

Laying the cornerstone for a cathedral on 12 August 1887

During the episcopate of Bishop Hibbert Binney, 1851 to 1887, a movement began for the erection of a cathedral. He hoped that the wooden St. Luke's pro-cathedral, erected in 1845, would be replaced by a stone building. After his father-in-law, William Blowers Bliss, donated a superb site on Robie Street at the head of Spring Garden Road, Binney had built St. Stephen's Chapel, which he hoped would become the church hall for the planned stone cathedral. Binney saw to the laying of a cornerstone on 12 August, but died shortly afterwards and with his death interest faded. His successor Bishop Frederick Courtney found himself too preoccupied to proceed and was also not enthusiastic. Neither, initially, was his successor, Clarendon Worrell, who was elected bishop in 1904.

Turning the sod for a cathedral on 26 September 1907

After fire destroyed St. Luke's in 1905, Bishop Worrell “felt there was a call from God to take up the long neglected plan and give Nova Scotia the much needed Cathedral.” Instead of the St. Stephen's site, he chose one of the “most commanding and central [sites] in the city, beautiful in appearance, easy access from all parts and not too far off for every member of St. Luke's and St. Stephen's to attend without inconvenience...” He chose the noted American architect Ralph Adams Cram to design a stone Gothic Revival cathedral. The Halifax firm of S.M. Brookfield, which had much experience in the building of stone structures, obtained the contract for the cathedral's construction. On 26 September 1907, Worrell turned the first sod and a month later he re-laid the cornerstone.

Official Opening of the Cathedral Church of All Saints on 3 September 1910

Worrell was determined that the Cathedral opening should be seen as a national event of great importance to every member of the Canadian church. The year 1910 was the two hundredth anniversary of the first services after the capture of Annapolis Royal. As he told Synod in 1909: "I ask you to remember that what we are planning to celebrate is not the beginning of the parish of Annapolis, nor even the Diocese of Nova Scotia, but the beginning of the Church of England in Canada. For that reason it is not simply a local celebration in one place, but a general rejoicing in the Dominion with the central point in the See city of the oldest colonial diocese in the world." Not only did the Canadian Church Congress, with its representation from across Canada, meet in Halifax for the occasion, but also the event drew bishops and other clergy from Britain, United States and Newfoundland. The opening service was held on 3 September with the "great cathedral... crowded to its doors." In attendance were many dignitaries from other provinces, national organizations and universities. The service began with the procession of clergy, choir boys and men totalling 140 voices. Former bishop Frederick Courtney gave the sermon.

Formation of the Cathedral's Men's Club, 29 January 1913

John Llwyd, then the rector of the Cathedral, issued an invitation to the men of the congregation to attend a meeting with the aim of establishing a men's club of social and educational value to its members. Dr. A. Stanley MacKenzie, president of Dalhousie University, became the first chairman of the club. During the First World War at the request of Cathedral ladies, club members became involved in providing entertainment to the soldiers temporarily in Halifax.

Forward Movement for 1914

By 1914 the growth in the cathedral congregation had necessitated an increase in clerical assistance. Also, it was very evident that in the near future there would be a large increase in Halifax's population, which would prove "to be the Cathedral's opportunity for further growth and development." The Committee of Consultation and Advice, the governing authority for the cathedral's administration, initiated the Forward Movement. Its aim was to increase subscriptions by making a canvas of the entire congregation for new or increased subscriptions through the envelop system. A sample envelop was prepared for a person with an income of $500 a year who wished to set aside five per cent a year, divided as follows: Cathedral Expenses, 25 cents per Sunday; Missions, 10 cents per Sunday; Widows & Orphans Fund annually, $1.00; Superannuation, annually $1.00; King's College, annually $1.00; Sunday School Commission, annually $1.00; Easter Offering, $1.80; Christmas Offering, $1.00.

The All Saints' Cathedral Branch of the Women's Auxiliary and the release of the mortgage, 1916

A group of Anglican ladies formed in 1910 The Diocesan Women's Cathedral League, which had as its prime purpose to raise funds for the purchase of a suitable organ, the total cost being $10,000. When this was achieved by 1912, they resolved to raise funds for defraying the large debt existing on the cathedral fabric. By 1916 they had raised $7000, sufficient to obtain a release of the mortgage. Other organizations in the congregation of 1,563 (figure taken from Dean John Llwyd's visiting list) involved in the Cathedral's life were—Sunday School (enrolment of 300), Sanctuary Guild, Women's Auxiliary (Junior Branch), Women's Auxiliary (Girl's Branch), Brotherhood of St. Andrew (Senior Branch), Social Service League, Cathedral Men's Club, Guild of St. Barnabas for Nurses—Halifax Chapter, Girl's Club (for girls in domestic service), Diocesan Women's League, Cathedral Building Committee, and Young People's Association.

Damage to the cathedral by the Halifax Explosion of 6 December 1917

The cathedral was sufficiently distant from the epicentre of the explosion that it suffered less damage than did other nearer churches. St. Mark's in the North End and Emanuel on the Dartmouth side were completely destroyed.

Young People's Association Program, 1917-1918

Among the most active of the groups associated with the cathedral was the Young People's Association. Its program for 1917–18 included a Scottish Night; a Masquerade; a Musical Evening; a Winter Driving Party; a Snow Shoe Tramp; an Alaska Evening and a Literary Evening.

The Great Window, 1920

Greatly enhancing its architecture is the cathedral’s Great Window, a memorial erected after the First World War in remembrance of those soldiers of the diocese who died in the First World War. It was the work of the English glass-artist, C.E. Kempe. It arrived in Halifax from England in 1920. The window places Christ at the very centre of all, exalted and reigning in heaven as seen in the vision of St. John in Revelation, the Bible’s closing book.

Founding of the Cathedral Tennis Club, June 1924

On a bright, sunny June afternoon Dean John Llwyd and Archbishop Clare Worrell faced each other across a tennis net. The Dean swung a tennis racket and served two balls; the first hit the net; the Archbishop missed the second; but the Cathedral Tennis Club was officially opened on the south lawn. The ceremony was the final link in a chain of efforts of the cathedral's Young People’s Society, who had raised $1,700 by sales, teas and entertainments. Such was the Club's popularity that two years later two more courts were added, making the Club the largest east of Montreal. By 1931 it had a membership of 40 ladies, 41 gentlemen and 24 juniors. A number of players became Maritime champions including Eileen Odevaine (Cuthbertson). At the end of the 1931 season, it boasted a bank balance of $7.00.

Patronal Festival and Silver Jubilee Commemoration 1910-1935

On Sunday 3 November 1935 there were commemorative services at 8 am, 9:30 am, 10:30 am, 11am and 7 pm. The Archbishop of Fredericton and Metropolitan of Canada preached at the 11 am and 7 pm services. For the remainder of the week there were daily services, each taken by different clergy from local parishes. A Silver Jubilee Fund was launched with three purposes: First: To record the gratitude of the congregation for maintaining the cathedral; Second: As a practical way of removing the current bank overdraft; and Third: As a nucleus of a larger endowment fund from which revenues would come in regularly.

Bedford Magazine Explosion and Damage to the Cathedral, 1945

As a result of the explosion on 19 November 1945 at the Naval Ammunition Magazine in Bedford Basin, the Great Window was so badly damaged that the sanctuary had to be closed for almost a decade, while the glass was replaced and the stonework repaired.

Launching of the "Cathedral Builders" fund, 1945

"Cathedral Builders" was founded in 1945 as an auxiliary to the Cathedral Building and Debt Reduction Fund to extend, as widely as possible, interest in the completion of the cathedral—a step made necessary by explosion damage suffered in two World Wars—and to encourage systematic giving
to the Building Fund by those unable to make large single donations.

Visit of Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury,
25 August 1946

The Archbishop preached at Morning Prayer. The congregation used the occasion to have a special collection for the Cathedral Building Fund.

Cathedral Hymn Festival, 3 November 1947

As well as the cathedral's choir, there were choirs from Holy Trinity, Liverpool; St. John's, Truro; St. George's, Falmouth; and St. James, Kentville. Maitland Farmer, All Saints' Choir Director and Organist, directed the choirs while Murray Vanderburgh, one of his pupils, played the organ accompaniment.

The play, God's Friday, performed by Cathedral Guild Players, 11 and 12 April 1949

With a cast of 50, performances were staged in the Dalhousie Gymnasium. The Cathedral Newsletter commented that: "The production has been undertaken with great care and in the spirit of devotion by members of the Guild. Every effort has been made to obtain authentic costumes and those who attend the presentation will be carried into the atmosphere of the greatest of all Bible stories.”

Silver Jubilee of the Cathedral Tennis Club, June 1949

Over the years the Tennis Club had grown and prospered as a sporting organization. Many provincial and regional championships were hosted by the Club, including the Canadian Lawn Tennis Championships, for its Silver Jubilee.

Presentation of the Portsmouth Processional Cross,
9 April 1950

As an act of Christian friendship between the two great ports of the Commonwealth—Portsmouth and Halifax—and the navies that use them, Portsmouth Cathedral presented a processional cross. It had been made in H.M. Dockyard, Portsmouth and included wood
from H.M.S. Victory, Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar.

The retirement of Arthur B. Wiswall, after completing 81 years as an active Cathedral Choir member, 5 April 1953

Arthur Wiswall joined a group of boy choristers of the choir as a boy of nine years at St. Luke's Pro-Cathedral in April 1872. He chose Easter Sunday in 1953 as the day to retire. He died in May 1956. His 81 years is believed to have been a record within the Anglican Communion. His son, Dr. William Wiswall, donated a panel of the Memorial Window depicting St. Anthony and St. Basil in his honour.

Six Memorial Windows dedicated, 7 November 1953

Before a large congregation at morning service, Bishop R.H. Waterman dedicated two memorial windows given in memory of the Outerbridge family; two others given in memory of Edmund Whiston and Jessie Kennedy Whiston; two others given in memory of Thomas Brown and Jessie Brown; and a sixth window given by anonymous donor. Following the service, over 100 men gathered for a luncheon in the parish hall over which G.D. Stanfield, chairman of Great Window and Sanctuary Restoration Campaign, presided. During the afternoon, hundreds of homes in the Cathedral parish were visited in support of the campaign. Campaign contributions and pledges that day amounted to $41,000.

The Great Window and Sanctuary Restoration, 1953-1955

As part of the cathedral's Great Window and Sanctuary Campaign during November 1954 a visit was made to every member of the Cathedral congregation. Before the end of 1955 the Great Window had been restored.

Selections from The Messiah televised, 29 December 1956

In what was probably the first occasion when television cameras were present in the Cathedral, selections from The Messiah by the cathedral choir were televised live from 10 to 11 p.m. on 29 December 1956.

The Cathedral Mission Sunday, 20 October to Sunday,
27 October 1957

Bishop George Snell, Suffragan Bishop of Toronto, was the missioner. He conducted services every evening with combined choirs. The final service was on Saturday evening, 26 October. There was also a children's mission held every afternoon after school,which was conducted by cathedral clergy with Bishop Snell in attendance. The theme of the Children's Mission was “The Voyage of the Good Ship All Saints,” Mothers were invited to come and bring small children.

The televising of the Midnight Eucharist on Christmas Eve, 1957

The televising was done by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Halifax. In his Newsletter, Dean William Davis commented that: "Our Cathedral is a Diocesan Institution, yet many Anglicans in outlying parishes have never had the privilege of being at a service here. This Christmas, through the wonder of television, thousands [in the Maritimes] including many sick, shut-ins and elderly Church people will find a new recognition of the place of the Cathedral at the centre of Diocesan life and worship."

Dedication of Pentecost Window by Bishop R.H. Waterman, 17 April 1960

The Wambolt family donated this window to the memory of Mr. and Mrs. James Peter Wambolt. It was the work of Alfred Wiklinson, F.I.A.I. of Brightling-sea, Essex, England. Its general theme is Pentecost and the five central lights depict the scene of “cloven tongues like as of fire” while the Apostles stand in awe. The Holy Spirit, represented by a dove, is up on the vescia. Other panels depict: “The Armour of Righteous;“ “The Sword of the Spirit;” “The Consecration of Bishop Inglis;“ and other scenes related to the work of the Holy Spirit. On 19 June 1960 three more panels were dedicated, which had been donated by the Fry family in memory of family members; by Mrs. John Gordon and her daughter, in memory of John W. Gordon; and by the Lockward sisters in memory of their father and mother. The MacMechan Panel, the extreme left-hand one above the transom, dedicated on 24 July 1960, was donated by the daughters of Mrs. MacMechan and their families.

Dedication of the Chancellor's Chair by Bishop R.H. Waterman, 17 April 1960

A noted lawyer, Robert E. Harris, became the first Chancellor of the Diocese in May 1905. The Chancellor's Chair was a donation by Mrs. Clara P. MacIntosh, a sister of Chancellor R.V. Harris, nephew of his predecessor, in memory of Canon Vorhees Evan Harris and his brother Chancellor and Chief Justice Robert E. Harris.

Visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsay,
2 September 1966

On the occasion of the visit to Halifax by Michael Ramsay, Archbishop of Canterbury, there was a Festal Evensong at the cathedral. A newspaper report described Ramsay's entrance into the cathedral. The trumpets sounded a fanfare and 1600 men, women and children turned their heads to watch the entrance of Archbishop Ramsay resplendent in a cape of gold cloth edged in scarlet. He was followed by the Dean's procession to the chancel steps where a second fanfare sounded. Bishop W.W. Davis greeted him, escorted him to the bishop's chair in the sacrarium and a service of evensong began. Afterwards there was a reception in Worrell Hall.

Dedication by Bishop R.H. Waterman of the new Hill Norman & Beard Organ, 29 May 1961

The former organ was a gift of the Diocesan Women's Cathedral League. But after fifty years of service, its decaying mechanism and a rising musical standard made necessary a new organ of cathedral scale. An expert survey revealed a basic structure as a sound foundation for a remodelled tonal scheme. The rebuilding and restoration of the organ was carried out by Hill Norman & Beard, by appointment organ builders to the Queen. Maitland Farmer, Cathedral Organist, drafted the tonal design with the assistance of Mr. R. Mark Fairhead, senior tonal designer for Hill Norman & Beard.

New children's chapel dedicated to St. Alban opened in 1966

Fred Lane donated the chapel as a memorial to his wife Abbie Lane. It was used for children's prayer services and provided a nursery for 52 small children. Abbie Jacques and Fred Lane were married in the cathedral 31 May 1924. Abbie Jacques was an actress, a women's editor, radio commentator and a city councillor. Among her many accomplishments were those of acting in local productions such as Mary Gillan in the CBC's radio noontime program the Maritime Farm Family, The Gillans. During the Second World War she served as Women’s Editor for The Chronicle, and became the first woman commentator on CJCH. She was first elected to City Council in 1951 and remained undefeated until her death in 1965. She was also President of the Diocesan Women's League for some years.

Cathedral service aired on the CBC, 17 April 1966

Church of the Air was a regular program of worship presented by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The cathedral service was conducted by Dean Edward Cochran and assisted by Priest Assistant R.E. Harris and was broadcast on 17 April 1966.

Cathedral basketball teams, 1960s

After the Anglican Diocesan Centre opened in 1960 with a full gymnasium, the Cathedral organized Intermediate and Junior Basketball teams.

Ordination of the first woman to the priesthood in the diocese, 29 June 1979

After much debate, the diocese approved the ordination of women. The ordination of Brenda Shipton by Bishop George Arnold took place in the cathedral on 29 June 1979.

Service for the consecration of the building and the opening of the new stone front, 28 September 1979

The Service began with a fanfare for the arrival of Bishop George Arnold, attended by his Chancellor and Chaplains at the cathedral's door. A petition, signed by the incumbent, churchwardens, and others was read. On accepting the petition, Bishop Arnold said “Brethren, if this your desire, and the desire of the parishioners, we will now proceed to the act of consecration.” Then Bishiop Arnold, taking his pastoral staff, knocked three times on the door, demanding “Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may go into them and give thanks to the Lord.” After proceeding to the sanctuary, he was presented with the necessary legal documents. After other formalities, Bishop Arnold passed the Sentence of Consecration.

Service for 75th anniversary (1910–1985) of the Cathedral,
6 November 1985

After the construction of the new stone front, there was put in place an ongoing program of restoration and enrichment of the building's fabric. Among the several projects undertaken was the illumination in stained glass of the (ecclesiastical) west window, illustrating the story of Christ preaching to the multitude on the Sea of Galilee (see below). In addition, there had been a needlepoint project to embroider kneelers for the chancel and chapels as a visual expression of the linkage between the parishes of the diocese and the cathedral. At the 75th Anniversary service, the first completed kneelers were dedicated and blessed, along with the quilted banner, bearing references to the three congregations of St. Luke's Pro-Cathedral, St. Alban's and St. Stephen's that had been commissioned for the 75th anniversary.

The Bicentennial Cross

The Bicentennial Cross was designed for the bicentennial of the first bishop, Charles Inglis. The cross was eight feet high and was constructed of Nova Scotia pine, but included dark spruce on the Cross' front from old timber of All Saints' Cathedral.

Service to commemorate the consecration of Charles Inglis, the first bishop of Nova Scotia, and to dedicate the Bicentennial Window, 12 August 1987.

The Bicentennial Window, at the cathedral's ecclesiastical west end, portrays Jesus preaching from a fishing boat near shore of the Sea of Galilee. One of its unique features is the combination of stained glass and clear glass. Christ is seen pointing to a sower on a distant hillside. The sower becomes the text for one of His most famous parables. As the Sea of Galilee extends to the horizon, natural skylight streams through the clear glass in the upper portions of the window. Standing in the transept or chancel, an outline of a high-rise apartment building can be seen above the horizon. The image created symbolizes the mission of the cathedral to proclaim the gospel to the city, diocese and contemporary world in which it is set. The window was the gift of many members and friends of the cathedral congregation. It was designed and crafted by Burton/Hrabi, a Prince Edward Island firm and was installed by Kidston Glass of Halifax.

Laying up the Colours of 434 Tactical Fighter Squadron,
26 June 1988

434 Bomber Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force was formed in England in 1943 and disbanded at the end of the war, but reformed as 434 Fighter Squadron in 1952 for service with NATO forces. In July 1977, 434 Squadron was presented with Her Majesty's Squadron Air Standard, known simply as the Squadron's Colours, commemorating 25 years of active service. In the 1980s the squadron was stationed at Bagotville, Quebec and Chatham, New Brunswick before it ceased operational flying and relinquished its NATO role on 1 June 1988. Many Maritimers served with the Squadron and its traditional nickname was the “Bluenose Squadron”. With this in mind, on its disbandment, the Squadron requested that the cathedral accept custody of the colours until the squadron was reactivated.

Cathedral service during Canadian Faith Festival III,
16 August 1990.

Nobel prize winner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, was the preacher. Dean Austin Monroe was much involved in organizing the Festival, attended by 10,000 Christians, and designed to bring together Christians of all denominations to help them learn to apply the festival's themes of loving God, neighbour, self and creation in their daily lives.

Cathedral Mission Statement, first developed 2001:

Responding to God's love, the congregation of All Saints’ Cathedral reaches out to be a welcoming, caring and dynamic Christian community that strives to develop the Bishop's church for a place of prayer for all people and a centre of spirituality for the whole diocese.

St Alban's Columbarium

The columbarium was designed by the firm Anwyll Fogo Architects and Interiors Ltd. and it was constructed in two stages. The north and south cabinets were built in 1993. Those on the west wall were added in 2008.

Hurricane Juan, 29 September 2003

Perhaps the most damaging storm in Halifax's history, Hurricane Juan severely damaged the cathedral. In one powerful gust the hurricane ripped off the transept roof. About two and one half tons of wood frame, roofing material and copper flashing landed in a nearby parking lot. With the roof gone, wind and rain entered the cathedral, causing major damage to the structure and contents. The damage also meant that the diocese's electoral synod, scheduled for 22 November had to be moved from the cathedral to St. James Church, Armdale, in Halifax.

Leap for Faith, 2006

In 2006 the cathedral participated in the 2nd Annual Leap for Faith, a diocesan capital campaign.

Performances of Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot,
24 and 25 November 2006

This performance was directed by Gisela O'Brian. This revived an old tradition of cathedral drama.

Installation of Sue Moxley as the fifteenth bishop of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island in All Saints Cathedral on
23 November, 2007

After Bishop George Arnold ordained Brenda Shipton in 1979, there were further ordinations of women. By 2001 there were 23 women priests in parishes and another four on clerical leave. After he became diocesan bishop, Arthur Peters made it clear that he was not prepared to sponsor people for ordination who would not accept the reality of female ordination. There could not have been a more certain affirmation of the wishes of the people in the diocese on the the question of women's ordination than the election on 22 November 2003, after three ballots, of Sue Moxley as Suffragan Bishop by a clear majority in both the lay and clergy houses.

She was elected on 20 Ocotober 2007 and installed on 23 November 2007.

Visioning Process 2007

A visioning process helped parishioners define a direction for achieving their collective goals and, in particular, strive toward realizing the most recent mission of the Cathedral Church of All Saints:

Where strangers become friends, where Christ’s peace and justice are sought, where God is worshipped with heart, mind and voice

300th anniversary of Anglican worship in Nova Scotia and the 100th anniversary of the opening of All Saints

Click here to view the 100th and 300th anniversary events.



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