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St. Matthew’s Regina Celebrates 100 Years
by Morley Evans
REGINA St. Matthew’s Anglican Church began 100 years ago, on the George Broder farm before there was a Winnipeg Street, before Regina went that far east. George Broder’s eldest daughter, Grace, started a Sunday School in the family farm house which was located where Victoria Avenue and Winnipeg Street intersect today.
Sadly, Grace Broder passed away in 1910, but her spirit lives on in St. Matthew’s Anglican Church today a century later. To commemorate Grace Broder’s life, a small 20 by 30 foot wood frame church was built south of the Broder farm house.
This little white church was consecrated as Grace Church in 1910 and ministered from St. Paul’s on 12th Avenue and McIntyre Street, Regina. St. Paul’s had been built only 25 years before.
The parish was growing. Regina was growing. In 1913, the rectory that stands today on Winnipeg Street was built immediately south of Grace Church. In 1915, a “basement church” was built south of the rectory. The “basement church” was roofed over and became Grace Church. The original white frame building became the church hall. Grace Church became St. Matthew’s Anglican Church.
The church hall was sold and removed a few years later as “Broder’s Annex” developed with streets, sidewalks, modest homes and more churches, including Lutheran, Serbian Orthodox, Romanian Orthodox and Roman Catholic, creating a neighbourhood of faith in an ethnic Babel.
The Great War broke out in 1914 and ended in 1918. Many from Regina lost their lives. Many more in Great Britain lost their lives too. To commemorate the life and death of her only son, an anonymous mother in England donated funds to complete the building of St. Matthew’s Anglican Church in Regina.
Frank Portnall, a noted Regina architect, was retained to draw plans. The roof was removed and the superstructure was built over what had been the “basement church.” St. Matthew’s was completed in 1926.
Grace Broder Chapel nestles on the south side of St. Matthew’s Church where it is warmed by the sun that shines on it in the summer and in the winter. Grace Broder’s spirit lives on to bless the church and all who have come there to worship through decades of turmoil and peace.
After a century and many thousands who came and went, Grace explains the enduring warmth of St. Matthew's.
St. Matthew's parish will hold an anniversary celebration on the weekend of September 17 - 19, 2010. "An Angel Watches Over Us" has been chosen as the theme for the event, in recognition of the woman whose life inspired construction of the original church. For more information or for tickets to the dinner Saturday night and the brunch Sunday following the service, please call Gail Ridgway at 761-0967.
St. Matthew's Church, which began as a simple wooden building on a farm, has grown into an active parish in an impressive brick building surrounded by a modern city.