A Brief History of the Church of the Holy Trinity, White Rock
White Rock was a quiet little seaside village in 1920, with a population of 500 when the Reverend W.M. Holdom arrived via horse and buggy from Surrey Centre to conduct services in a small two-room school on the beach.
In 1921 it was decided to build a church on Victoria Avenue, so work began with one paid carpenter and the rest volunteer labor. It seated about 80 and was dedicated by Archbishop A.U. dePencier on May 1, 1921, with 68 worshipers in attendance.
These were depression days, with Holy Trinity still an assisted three-point parish, including Crescent Beach (on its own in 1953) and St. Matthew’s at Halls Prairie (closed in 1958).
By 1942 Holy Trinity was a self-supporting parish, with a rectory on Royal Avenue. There had been a surge of population in White Rock after the war and attendance grew, outstripping the capacity of the church. Lots at Roper and Foster were purchased in 1945, a new rectory built, then a small church hall completed in the Fall of 1948 and used for services until a new church could be built.
In May of 1950 the Bishop – Sir Francis Heathcote, appointed the Rev. E. Pitt Griffiths and tasked him to build a new church and to revitalize the spirit in the Parish. At a congregational meeting held Feb. 22, 1952, with 115 present, the Rector and Church Committee were empowered to go ahead with plans for a new church. It was built at a cost of $30,000, not including the huge amount of volunteer labor. By November 1952 the foundation stone was laid by Bishop Godfrey Gower. The Dedication Service by the Bishop was held on April 21, 1954 with 375 in attendance (with the church designed to seat 250). Within four years the church was free of debt and was consecrated in October 1956. At the Annual Vestry Meeting held on January 15, 1960, the church Committee was empowered to go ahead with plans for a new hall and extension of the church kitchen, which were all completed by October 1961. Three appeals for funds were made and by 1963 the hall was debt free and dedicated as Griffiths’Hall, in tribute to the energetic and dynamic Rev. Pitt Griffith, who remained as Rector until 1969.
The Foster and Roper church was furnished through generous donations of labour and funds from parishioners, with many of the original gifts in use today. One glory is the beautiful stained glass, with all but two of the windows given in memory of loved ones.
Several priests have taken the helm since 1969: the Reverend John Leslie Clark until 1976; the Reverend John Prince until 1991; the Reverend Brian Vickers until 2002; the Reverend Neil Grey until 2018. Priests in charge were in place until November of 2020 when the Reverend Patrick John O’Maoil Mheana was appointed as Rector. Unfortunately this was a short-lived tenure and after a period with another Priest in Charge Holy Trinity was delighted with the arrival of the current incumbent Father Joe Dirbas.
In addition to the church buildings Holy Trinity’s beautiful gardens are greatly appreciated. Under the auspices of the Rev. Brian Vickers the Memorial Garden was established in 1989 for the interment of ashes. In 2000 Mrs. Lila Stringer headed plans to upgrade the garden and design work was undertaken by West Point Landscape Structures. Donations from many parishioners funded the work, with the renovation completed in the spring of 2001. The garden was rededicated on April 1 by Bishop Michael Ingham. Holy Trinity exists due to the unstinting efforts and dedication of a long line of parishioners who have given their time, skills, and financial support to build and maintain the church over the past one hundred years.
Whether it has been fundraising; Ministries such as the Altar Guild; Anglican Church Women; Choir and Organist; Gardening Group; Greeters; Hospital and Home Visitors; Intercessors; Lay Administrators (Home / Hospital Communion) and other activities, countless individuals stepped forward and continue to do so as we step into our next one hundred years in White Rock.