St. Peter’s (Hopewell) Upper Gullies, Part 4

As outlined in the previous articles, an extraordinary effort was made by the full church community to complete the construction of St. Peter’s. Unfortunately, prior to the completion of the church, a tragic event occurred related to its completion. In April 1905, a young man of the congregation was fatally injured when an accident happened on the building site of the new church. The Diocesan (precursor to Anglican Life) June 1905 contained this Memoriam from Hopewell:

“A death which filled every breast among us with sorrow, came to us almost suddenly on April 12th. Henry Andrews, aged 37 years, in company with other members of the congregation, while blasting some large boulders which appeared to be in the way of work carried on at the grounds of Hopewell Church, became the victim of a dynamite explosion, laid by his own hands.

“Our late brother, having some previous experience with dynamite, together with others of some experience, were in the act of breaking up a large stone which appeared to be of an exceedingly hard nature. Two holes had been drilled into it and two charges set in order. Both charges were to be set on fire at the same time. Two brothers were to ignite them, but Henry had his on fire before his brother, he (the other brother) threw his igniting substance down by the fuse and ran. Henry’s charge exploded satisfactorily and allowing a short time for the second with no result, both brothers ran to see if it was on fire, Henry in the rear.The former, peering through some protecting material, saw no symptoms of fire so he ran around to the other side, where he saw that all was on fire. He at once shouted to that effect, but Henry, who had followed closely in his steps, was on the point of peering in the hole when the explosion occurred. It will always remain a mystery as to how it kindled.”

According to the article, Henry died in hospital in St. John’s seven days after the explosion, and he was buried in Upper Gullies on Good Friday, in a ceremony officiated at by the Rev’d Caldwell.

It was three months after Andrew’s death that the Hopewell congregation laid the foundation stone of its new church building. While the service did not pass without reflection upon the recent tragedy (a prayer was said beseeching God’s “protection from all accidents for those who shall be engaged in the building of this house”), the hope of the congregation and the joy of faith were also present. The people walked from the old church to the site of the new, and after hearing Canon Pilot’s exhortation to perseverance, sang hymn 545 from Hymns Ancient and Modern with this beautiful verse:See, the streams of living waters,
Springing from eternal love,
Well supply they sons and daughters
And all fear of want remove

At the close of the service, those who wished to do so placed offerings toward the new church upon the newly laid cornerstone.

On Tuesday, November 16th, 1909, the consecration of the Church of St. Peter, Hopewell, took place. The Diocesan describes the day:

“For hours before the ceremony people from Seal Cove,Indian pond,Hopewell and Upper Gullies, Kelligrews, Middle Bight, Foxtrap and Long Pond wended their way to the new church. Visitors and clergy from St. John’s, Conception Bay and Trinity Bay came by train and carriage and when they all assembled the building was thronged to the doors and outside. The sanctuary was beautifully decorated with flowers by the ladies of the congregation”. 

This article is based on information researched, appropriately referenced and presented to the Parish by a committee of the Church for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone of the church in 1905.

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