As you cruise down the hill leading into Lumby look to the left. You’ll see a beautiful little white church. The church has stood in that spot—windows sparkling and doors open, welcoming all comers for 125 years. It has survived two world wars, the dirty thirties, and the electronic age. It saw women get the vote, the forming of The Dominion of Canada, RCMP patrolling on horseback and the automobile go from a crank model with a rumble seat to luxury SUV’s and trucks. Most importantly, it has served more than three generations of Lumby families.
Heading through the Village, you might pause at the Lumby bakery for coffee and a pastry; take a moment to look at the walls. There you’ll see pictures’ showing the church as it was in 1895: standing alone in an open field with no trees or housing close by, and what seems to be a dirt laneway where Park Avenue now runs.
A record of the first clergy for our area can be found in the Okanagan Historical Society’s 47th report page 32. Information from 1883-1891 shows the Clergyman from Enderby rode by horseback to Mabel Lake, preached to neighbours there, and then went onto Lumby where services were held at the home of Mr. Moses Lumby. The busy preacher then continued on to Priest Valley (now known as Vernon) and Grande Prairie (Westwold), returning to Enderby via Salmon Arm delivering services along the way. Imagine how challenging it was to fit wedding planning into such a schedule!
Construction of the Lumby Presbyterian Church began in the spring of 1895 with the building of a frame structure on a site donated by Mr. Louis Morand, a hotel keeper and one of Lumby’s founding fathers. Except for glass and nails, little money was spent to build the church; a donation of $75.00 (Vernon News excerpt 1912) was made by the Presbyterian Church Building fund of Winnipeg. However, most of the materials and labour were donated by community volunteers.
Mr. Turnbull, Mr. Finlayson and the Bessette Sawmill Company donated the lumber. Like Louis Morand these men were Roman Catholics sympathetic to the Presbyterians desire for their own place of worship. It took the labour of both Presbyterian and Catholic citizens to accomplish the Presbyterian dream. Among those who donated their time and energy were the Campbell Bros, Derby Bros, Mr. J.G. Elliott and Mr. Thatcher. It is wonderful to know that a common belief in God and helping your fellow man brought everyone together on this project – regardless of church affiliation. I am proud to live in a town founded on such kind and generous beliefs.
NEXT WEEK: BEGINNINGS