Friday, January 31, 2014

Architecture of Religion: Chapel at Redroofs

The Church of His Presence is a tiny chapel near Sechelt commissioned by sea-going Missionary Canon Alan Greene. It was designed by Ron Thom in 1961 with Dick Mann while both were at Thompson Berwick and Pratt.

Still in use by a few old-timers, the chapel is perched on a rock bluff that looks out onto Welcome Pass. Greene built it as a memorial to his wife and the scattered congregation he ministered over many years by ship up and down the Sunshine Coast as part of the Columbia Coast Mission.

The simple A-frame structure is flooded with light from the largely glass enclosed end walls and a central skylight. The original solid wood doors (second photo) were replaced with plate glass ones as further funds became available to Greene after construction. Side windows at floor level provide sheltered views of ground cover from the pews, peeking out from underneath a flared roof edge. 

A relatively spacious deck leads to the front entrance and also serves as a gathering area during warmer months. 

The chapel was built by local tradespeople, with many of the materials acquired by donation. Greene himself donated the land. After construction, it was discovered that the chapel broached the neighbouring property slightly. As a suitable agreement could not be reached, it was moved so as to sit wholly on Greene's lot.

It remains a classic West Coast structure and a graceful if rough-hewn reminder of B.C.'s architectural and maritime history.

Historical Images: Anglican Archives of the Diocese of New Westminster

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