St Mary the Virgin

Our history

The Congregation of St.Mary the Virgin ( SMTV) worships in a 141-year-old church at 2750 Navan road located just south of the Innes Bypass: between Blackburn Hamlet, Chapel Hill, and the Bradley Estates, which has served the community for decades creating a rich and evolving history. We strive to embody our mission statement “ Be as Christ Today” as we seek to make Christ known by serving a world in need.

 

If you are feeling lost in an increasingly secular world, if you have a longing in your heart but have not been to church in years, or ever, you are welcome to join us for worship.

All peoples of Christion faith are invited to receive communion regardless of denomination.

( The above has been reprinted from a mail-out bulletin we sent in 2009)

On September 2, 1878, the people of Dagg Settlement met in the schoolhouse to “consult upon the possibility of erecting a church in the settlement”.  The Rev. E.A.W. Harrington presided at this meeting where a motion was made to seek donations.

At this first meeting the “offering of one acre of land for the site of a church and cemetery” by Mr. Richard Dagg, was accepted, a committee was formed and Rev. Harrington began the task to canvass the area diligently. Many of his friends helped to support his undertaking but the actual work was done by the local pioneers. Within one year, a lovely small brick church was completed and formally opened in Sept 1879.

 

Miss Maggie Dagg, daughter of Richard Dagg, felt that the church needed an organ and petitioned friends and relatives for the funds. She purchased the organ which was in use until 2016 when it was replaced by an organ that was donated by Susan and Gordon Lundy.

Rev. Harrington helped the church obtain mission status so that it would be entitled to priestly services and in October 1886 the church was formally consecrated by Charles, Bishop of Niagara. Several other priests assisted Rev. Harrington in providing the services and a divinity student Foster Bliss assisted both in the building of the church and in the maintenance of regular services.

Among the original families who contributed their time and energy are names that are still familiar today in the Ottawa area – Dagg, Daley, Bradley, Farmer, Purdy, Wilson, and Hopkins ( as taken from an earlier copy of the church history). The Kemp family (good Methodists) was known to deliver ready-cut wood for the box stove. Mr. Wilson lived across the road and assisted by Purdys or Bradleys did a great deal of the routine maintenance, provided wood and kindling as well as shelter for the horses. Mrs. Wilson provided lunch for the priest and cleaned the church, many times without assistance.

In 1952 the original wood box stove was replaced when an oil stove was purchased, followed by a gas stove in 1959, the by electric heaters in 1972, back to an oil furnace in 1978, and with replacements in the interm the church is still being heated by oil.

 

Over time the area became known as Green’s Creek. In the 1960s when the area was renamed Blackburn Hamlet and was developed, the church began to grow and in the early 1970s, Sunday School was being held in the Blackburn Public School ( now Norman Johnson Alternative School) with the regular service in the church. By the late 1970s, early 1980’s the decision was made by the then priest Father Rae Fletcher to hold a morning service at the church and a family service with Sunday School at the Louis Riel High School. This continued until June 2010 when services were moved back to the church. With the decline in children a Messy Church format was developed at a separate time from regular church service

 

The Women’s Guild or A.C.W was formed in 1921 and has been a cornerstone of the church’s work ever since. The carpet was originally purchased and installed in 1927 and has been replaced by this group several times since. In 1930 they replaced the plain glass window over the altar with a beautiful stain glass insert. In the near future, they will contribute to the refurbishing of the frame and sill – watch for announcements on the Blackburn website, in the near future, for events to support this endeavor.

The cemetery board members have also contributed over the years to maintain the exterior brickwork and the grounds. Their most recent contribution has been to assist with the renovation work necessary on the deteriorated bell tower. 

 

An annual Memorial Service occurs on the second Sunday of September.

 

The annual St. Mary the Virgin’s Memorial Service held on Sept 8th, 2019 with the Rev. Anne Quick presiding gave recognition to the 140th Anniversary of that first service held in the church in Sept, 1879. Among the worshipers were several decedents of the original founding families.  Councilor Laura Dudas, her children Cassandra & Mathias attended and Laura presented Bill Taylor, Rector’s Warden, with a Certificate of Commemoration in recognition of the 140th Anniversary.

 Garth Hampson, on behalf of Dr. Kathryn MacFarland a long-time supporter of the church, presented Bill with a painting of the church done by local artist L. Brazeau. This donation was also in the Commemoration of the 140th Anniversary.

 

Members of both St. Mary the Virgin’s congregation, and the Cemetery board, wish to acknowledge and give thanks for the gifting of these commemorations in recognition of the 140th Anniversary.