St. Mary's Heritage

Worship and Witness since 1893

  • In April 1893, a number of parishioners, at the time attending St. Stephen’s Church (a couple of miles to the west), decided it would be preferable to have their own church building.
  • Within a relatively short period, plans were finalized, funding obtained, and the small wood frame structure completed on Cultra Avenue in Saanichton.
  • The church was consecrated on June 16, 1904, and officially named St. Mary’s.
  • As part of a joint parish, first with St. Stephen’s and Holy Trinity, then with just the former, the congregation both prospered and saw hard times. Over the years a number of small improvements were made and memorials donated.
  • In 1956, in order to provide space for a Sunday school, a disused air force training building from Patricia Bay Airport was purchased to become the church hall. In 1959, the parish bought 1.68 acres of land across the street from the church, for future expansion if necessary.
  • St. Mary’s became a separate parish in 1983 and a new rector, the Rev. Robert Sansom, was appointed. During the subsequent four years, the new St. Mary’s was constructed on the nearby property. Completed in April 1987, and dedicated the following October, the beautiful new building was, and still is, the most modern Anglican Church on the Saanich Peninsula. Its bright and spacious interior is especially appreciated by the congregation. A mere four years later, the church was debt free and consecrated on November 1, 1991. In 1993, our Centennial, we purchased a new organ to mark this significant milestone, and shortly afterwards, parishioners donated new pews to replace the chairs in the Church.
  • Since paying off the mortgage on the new building, the outreach efforts of the parish have also been most gratifying through the use of a system of voluntary monthly giving through special outreach envelopes. Our Thrift Sales also provide an important outreach service in our community.
  • Parishioners at St. Mary’s take great pleasure in their accomplishments in the church and in the wider community over the years, and have found a niche in the community of churches in the area: though our facilities are modern, our worship is traditional. There are many activities for parishioners including the Altar Guild, St. Mary’s Guild, Senior Choir, Home Group, Flower Guild, etc. Although our Children’s Ministry is presently rather small, it is an integral part of the church community.

God has blessed us richly in the past, and now, as we meet the opportunities and challenges of our second century, we seek again the guidance of his Holy Spirit. We pray that all our work and worship and witness at St. Mary’s may be to his praise and glory, and for the good of his Kingdom.

A Prayer For St. Mary‘s

Almighty God, accept us now, as we give thanks to you for this place where we come to praise your name and to be nourished by your Son.

Be present always to guide, to judge, to illumine and to bless your people. O God, you hallow all places that are set apart for the worship of your Name, pour down your grace upon St. Mary’s church, and all who shall call upon your Name in this parish; that they may have the full assurance of your mercy and love.

Bless O Lord our mission and endow all who labour here with the spirit of power, love and a sound mind. Convert the impenitent; raise up the fallen; strengthen the weak; and give an increase of grace to the faithful. Let all things be done according to your will and to your glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Want to read more?

If you would like to read more detail of the time period of 1893 - 1984, or the highlights of the 100 years leading up to St. Mary's Centenial activities, the I encourage you to download the files attached below.

  1. The document entitled St. Mary's Heritage 1893 - 1984 chronicles the history of St. Mary's through the eyes of a parishioner living in the noted time period. It includes highlights like land deals, getting connected to water, and a hot water tank, for example.
  2. The second document (only 1 page) reads like a newspaper story. Ken Pedlow tells of the highights of 100 Years of Work, Worship, and Witness.