Here I would like, respectfully, to correct a statement made at the Synod held in Dawson Creek in 1960. It was stated, incorrectly, that Christ Church was an out-right gift from friends in England. For many years a very active W. A. had been working toward this end and by means of chicken suppers, bake sales, garden teas, donations and sales of work had a considerable sum tucked away in the Bank of Commerce.
Through Canon Proctor’s connections with England, Church of England members in Harrowgate came generously to our aid when we were ready to build. With the further help of a mortgage the building was erected.
The W. A. had to keep up, or more truly to increase, their efforts until at last — at a chicken supper in the basement hall — with great joy and style Canon Proctor burnt the Mortgage Deed in the church furnace. All was paid up!
Canon Proctor then lived in the Rectory on Church property situated across from Pouce Coupe and the plan was to move the building into the village. However, due to lack of proper moving equipment it was considered unwise to attempt the steep banks of the creek so the building found a home in the new village of Dawson Creek. The interior of the Church is very pleasing. The Memorial window in the Chancel, dedicated to the memory of Spencer Tuck and those who came over the Edson Trail and have passed on, sheds lovely diffused light and colour all around when the sun shines.
The Font, fashioned from Peace River stone, was given by Mr. and Mrs. Hoffstrom of Taylor Flats when the Church at Rolla, which it originally graced, was moved out of the diocese. The Bell was a gift from Mr. McArthur, president of the then E. D. & B. C. Railway.
The modern Dorsal Hangings were worked by a member of Christ Church Guild. Some kneelers are already in use and others are in process of being done in petit point. They depict local wild flowers and fruits. A very special kneeler is being embroidered for the use of the Bishop in the Sanctuary. The motifs are angels, which were the subject of Bishop Munn’s first sermon in our Church. A long petit point kneeler at the Altar rail is inscribed with the names of all the bishops and rectors up to and including 1955.
The beautiful brass Alms dish was presented by Christ Church Guild on the occasion of the Anniversary Service in 1957. On the altar stand two handsome brass candlesticks, the gift of Mrs. Cunliffe, for some years president of the Guild.
One altar fontal of much beauty and interest is made of cloth of gold and silver, bought in Jerusalem when General Allenby entered the Holy City toward the close of the First Great War.
Canon –now Archdeacon — Hinchcliffe succeeded canon Proctor. When he moved to Smithers the Rev. Gordon Smith took his place. After some years in the Peace River district he joined the R.C.A.F. and the Rev. A. Sargent came from Montreal to replace him. Some years later Mr. Sargent took the westward trail to Hazelton. At the same time St. Mark’s, Dawson Creek, became self-supporting and Pouce Coupe Anglican was left without Spiritual guidance. Had it not been for the unselfish efforts of the Rev. A. J. Fletcher and Captain Knight of St. Andrew’s, Sunset Prairie, the Pouce Coupe Church would have had to close its doors.
In 1955 Bishop Watts appointed the Venerable Archdeacon Kirksey Archdeacon of the Alaska and Hart Highways and bought a residence for him opposite Christ Church in Pouce Coupe. In addition to his primary duties he took up those of the church and was working up a good congregation when he died in 1958 as the result of a car accident.
His untimely passing brought sorrow to the whole village. He had endeared himself to everyone and apart from his many clerical duties found time to take an active part in village affairs. The present incumbent is the Rev. Wilfrid Brown who came in 1960.
The name “Pouce Coupe” is the subject of much controversy and people coming in from outside take issues with us for pronouncing it Pouce Coupee and regard it as a lack on knowledge on our part of the French idiom. It had always been pronounced this way and we like it for we believe it to be derived from the name of the Indian Chief Pascoopee who lived on the banks of the river long before the first settler arrived. Pascoopee is said to mean, ” The place where the beaver had their dam and have gone away”.
For long years there were no beaver in the Pouce Coupe River but of late they have come back. In spite of this Pouce Coupe will remain Pouce Coupee and not the less interesting French word meaning “Cut Thumb”. It is prettily situated high above the river on the edge of the fertile Pouce Coupe Prairie and was the real gateway into the Peace River Valley for the Edson Trailers who constituted the bulk of the early settlers who came that way.
(Mrs. Spencer H. Tuck) [Courtesy of Elva Stacey]