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COR’s early days

Philip Cockshutt in front of a piano
Philip Cockshutt
By on May 1, 2021

The Church of the Resurrection was established by Bishop Ernest Reed in 1963 in view of the rapid development of Riverside Park and was served initially by clergy from Holy Trinity and St Thomas.  Sunday services were conducted in General Vanier Public School. Within three years, Bishop Reed appointed a full-time priest, and we purchased a rectory in the area. The basement of the rectory provided the site for a mid-week communion  and served as an invaluable venue for meetings.

Our neighbours in the Riverside United congregation were meeting in Brookfield High School and acquired a full-time incumbent at about the same time. Both congregations were offered potential sites for church buildings – Riverside United on Riverside Drive, and Resurrection on Walkley Road. Riverside United were already thinking about a prospective church building.

Informal talks started almost immediately between the two congregations to share a building for practical reasons, but not with the prime intention of church union—although discussions were going on to that end at a national level. With our encouragement, the proposed design started by Riverside United was developed to detailed drawings and went out to tender. However when it was costed out, it was considerably beyond means of the two congregations, and we ended up abandoning the design. At our urging, we retained an architect who was primarily designing schools, and he proposed a building that was less than half the cost of the original building – which the two congregations approved.

The schedule for services turned out to be easy, with Resurrection having 8 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. services, and Riverside United having an 11 a.m. service. We also had two joint services in spring and fall. The day-to-day management of the property was looked after by the Joint Use and Management Committee and longer-term issues were looked after by a Joint Holding Corporation, both with equal numbers of participants.

It was a thrilling moment, in November 1969, when a joint service of dedication was held, with the participation of Bishop Reed and officers of the Ottawa Presbytery – just six years after the establishment of our parish.

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