Several years ago, local historian Greg Scott and his wife, Denyse, became “Holy Hoovers,” once-a-month volunteer cleaners at Nelson’s St. Saviour’s Anglican Pro-Cathedral.
It was during this time, being immersed in the beauty of the church’s stained glass windows, that a germ of an idea was born.
St. Saviour’s, built in 1899 and rebuilt after a disastrous fire in 1928, is a designated heritage building containing 16 memorial stained glass windows and numerous memorial plaques.
The stained glass windows are unique and may be considered collectively the best example of church stained glass in the Kootenays and on par with those in cathedrals in Vancouver and Victoria.
Scott had visited a number of churches and cathedrals in England and Scotland during which time he purchased full colour guidebooks.
He reasoned: why not create one for St. Saviour’s? Also, in that all of the windows are memorials, why not depart from the normal church guidebooks and feature the stories of the individuals memorialized?
Given his interest in early Nelson pioneers and having written extensively about them, this was a natural fit for Scott.
One can say that at that time, St. Saviour’s “whispered” to him and the guidebook was born.
In order to round out the story, the guidebook also includes a selection of the commemorative plaques, which adorn the church, as well as heritage photographs.
During the formulation of this guide, a preview of the contents of A Cathedral Whispers was given by Scott in a presentation at the church as part of the Touchstones Nelson 2011 Heritage House Tour.
Sponsored by the St. Saviour’s Men’s Group, and through the support of grants from the Columbia Basin Trust and Nelson and District Credit Union plus generous donations from parishioners, the 32-page guidebook is now a reality.
With research and text by Greg Scott, full colour photographs by Jonn Lavinnder, and graphic design by L.V. Rogers and Emily Carr graduate Coleman Johnston, the full colour guide should be a delight to all.
The guidebook is available at the church and the church office for a minimum donation of $10 with all proceeds going to the restoration of the church.
During July and August, the Men’s Group offers self-guided daily tours, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday to Saturday, inclusive.
So come have a free tour and pick-up your guidebook to enjoy the beauty of the church to its fullest.