A Warm Welcome to Christ Church
If these walls could talk….they would have quite a story to tell!
The year 1865 saw the town of Petrolia growing rapidly in response to the local discovery of oil. To accommodate the spiritual needs of the increasing population, arrangements were made for the Rev'd William Brookman, then the incumbent of Wyoming and Oil Springs, to hold Services in town. During 1866 the first Service was held in the bar of the Fletcher-Boswell Hotel. For the next six years the congregation was graciously accommodated at Fairbank Hall, home of J. H. Fairbank. In 1872, the congregation built a church on Railroad Street, and continued worship in this building for the next ten years.
In 1882, a beautiful white brick church was built at the present corner location of Oil and Henry Streets. In 1910, the spire was taken down to allow for the installation of a set of beautifully toned tower bells, a gift of J. L. Englehart in memory of his wife, Charlotte.
In 1945 the church endured it's first fire, causing extensive interior damage and necessitating the re-location of the congregation to the Masonic Hall for services while repairs and redecoration took place. On a cold winter’s night, January 10, 1957, just days after the arrival of the new parish Rector, Rev'd W. Ridley Parson, a devastating fire destroyed the church. The next two and a half years were devoted to fundraising, consultations and decisions about the new church that was to be built on this site….while once again, the congregation was housed temporarily in Fairbank Hall. The cornerstone of the present church was laid on October 19, 1958, and the first service was held on June 7, 1959. The tower bells, one of few artifacts saved from the fire, were re-installed in the new church tower, and their rich, mellow tones may still be heard every Sunday inviting people to worship.
This historical snapshot says much about buildings and bells, but beyond the story of bricks and mortar lies a testament to the faith, perseverance and vision of the founders and the faithful of this parish church over the years since its inception. We honour the memory and faithfulness of those who laboured not only to provide a place of worship, but also to keep the richness of the Anglican tradition alive and well in Petrolia, to the glory of God.