“Cornerstones” were articles that appeared in the Sunday edition of the Calgary Herald between 1997 and 2000. The following article appeared March 28, 1999.
St. Barnabas Anglican Church
• 1407 7th Avenue N.W.
• Built: 1912, rebuilt in 1957
• Demolished: 1957
(demolition was the result of a fire)
• Architect: Leo Dowler and James Stevenson of Calgary (1912), J.K. Shedden (1957)
• Construction materials: Medicine Hat brick. Smooth and rock-faced sandstone (1912).
• Architectural style: English Church in the Norman style (1912)
• Church named for St. Barnabas, an important early Christian missionary. Barnabas was a hellenized Jew who joined the Jerusalem church soon after Christ’s crucifixion, sold his property, and gave the proceeds to the community.
• The first church on this site, a frame building erected in 1906, was also the first Anglican Church constructed north of the Bow River in the newly opened Hillhurst District.
• In January 1912 plans for the replacement of the frame building with a new brick and stone church designed to accommodate the growing congregation were submitted to Calgary’s first Anglican Bishop William Cyprian Pinkham.
• Bishop Pinkham laid the red granite cornerstone on June 12, 1912. The inscription read - "To the Glory of God this church was erected by Ezra Hounsfield Riley as a loving memorial to his Mother, Father, an Infant Daughter." The graves of Thomas, Harriet and Georgina Riley are located in the churchyard east of the church. The Riley’s ranch was developed into the subdivisions of Hillhurst, West Hillhurst and Hounsfield Heights. Ezra served as M.L.A. for Gleichen from 1906 to 1910 and in 1910 donated the property for Riley Park to the city. In 1912 Ezra provided the endowment for St. Barnabas’ church.
• The Calgary Herald reported, " The cornerstone was draped with the Canadian flag and the box which it held contains holds copies of the Calgary daily papers, proceedings of the last diocesan synod, program of the last night’s service, and coins of the day, as well as the plans of the church, which will be erected over the stone."
• With the growth of the Hillhurst district and the increased number of parishioners, it was necessary to open the lower floor of the parish hall in September 1932 and in 1952, the upper floor, to provide more space for Sunday School and other children’s activities. At the same time, oak panelling with matching reredos, was installed as a memorial to members of the congregation who died during World War II. Mrs. A. Maude Riley gave an altar, pulpit and lectern in memory of her husband Harold W. Riley.
• On St. Barnabas’ Day (June 11, 1956) the 2,500 member parish celebrated its’ 50th Anniversary and installed a new set of 20 "carillonic bells."
• January 11, 1957, a $125,000 fire destroyed St. Barnabas’. Only the tower was left intact. Two days later the rector, Dr. T.L.Leadbetter preached a sermon with the text, " Let us rise up and build, so they strengthened their hands for his good work." Work began immediately on construction of a new church. Furnishings and stained glass windows were salvaged before the 1912 structure was demolished.
• The cornerstone for the new St. Barnabas’ was laid October 13, 1957. The original 1912 tower, salvaged stain glass windows, pipe organ, carillonic bells, and sanctuary furnishings were incorporated into the new design. The rebuilt St. Barnabas was officially dedicated by Bishop Calvert on March 7, 1958.
• In 1991, a $374,000 building program to update the Parish Hall and link it with the Church was completed with dedication of the renovated facilities taking place October 27th.
• A Memorial Garden on church grounds was dedicated on All Souls Day November 2, 1994.
• In 1996 St. Barnabas’ published a 90th Anniversary booklet, which the parish generously donated to the Local History Collection. " St. Barnabas has always been well served by faithful lay men and women who gave of their time, their energy and their substance for the support of their church and the spreading of its influence. Down through the years these men and women have worked harmoniously together with singleness of purpose to establish a "Family Church."