St. Andrew's - Kugluktuk, Nunavut
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TRIUMPH OUT OF TRAGEDY
The Story of St. Andrew's Church, Coppermine, NWT by Peter C. Bishop
(taken from Arctic News 1992)
A church is a community of people showing forth the love of God in Christ, working together under various leaders, but all under the leadership of Christ himself. In this brief description of the church in Coppermine, the names of many who have and are serving our Lord faithfully have had to be left out, but I trust that in the above I have not only told the life of a church community but have also helped you, as a reader, to share more fully in the concerns of the people of Coppermine, who now number over 1,200 of whom 90% claim to be Anglicans. A major concern over the last few months has been the replacement of their church building.

When the mission in Coppermine was first established there was of course no need for a church building separate from the mission house. Very few people lived in Coppermine itself and when people did gather large igloos were built, or people worshipped outside. It was not until 1950 that a separate permanent building was needed for worship. The original building was quite small, being heated with a coal stove and lit by gasoline lamps, but it was adequate for the time. Unfortunately, through no fault of the builder, it was not structurally sound even when first erected. It was the last church building put up before the Diocese had engineered drawings prepared and adopted standard designs. The footings were not all that they should have been and before the roof was on the walls were bowing out. The roof trusses were not adequate for the twenty four foot span, but they were all that was available. This unsatisfactory beginning has haunted the building since that time.

With the growth of the congregation it became necessary to extend the building in 1965 and a porch and bell tower also were added. A later extension built around the tower gave more seating, but the roof was sagging and the walls continued to move. The addition of the transept on the south side in 1973 acted as an anchor for a tie-bar across the building and this slowed the collapse of the roof as well as providing much needed extra seating. When, however, further space was required in 1978 and the proposal to put a transept on the north side was considered, it was felt to be poor stewardship and that first extensive repairs should be tried on the roof to try and save the basic building. This was not successful and concern grew over the safety of the people using the building and the congregation began to talk about the possibility of having a new church building.

In 1991 concern was such that the congregation asked the Hamlet Council for space in the Community Recreation Complex for regular Sunday Worship, and the church building was closed. The use of a large games room in the Complex was greatly appreciated but its condition and atmosphere did not encourage the spirit of worship. For a special service an attempt was made to go back into the old church, but when, for no apparent reason half the electrical power outlets and lights would not work and could not be fixed, there seemed to be a message from the Lord that the congregation were not supposed to be meeting there. Reluctantly, the church was therefore locked.

In April 1992, with many people having taken pictures of this much loved building, it came down. Dan and Mary Harvey who own a local contracting business donated this work together with the enormous cost of preparing a new pad for a new building. This work and most generous gift challenged the people of Coppermine to look at their own commitment to a new church in which to worship, for now they had none.

The Diocese because of its commitment to renew clergy housing had no money to loan the parish for a church building, but the Executive gave approval for the people to go ahead on a new building this summer if they could raise half the estimated cost of $120,000 before July and could get a bank loan to cover the balance. Despite 60% unemployment the people rose to the challenge. A challenge strengthened by the generosity of suppliers, local businesses, airlines and transportation companies which made such a low cost for a 40' x 80' building possible. Personal donations, of money, time and labour supplemented by bake sales and other money raising activities have the church on its way. At the time of writing the building is closed in and services will be held there before Christmas.

Out of the tragedy of a much loved but collapsing building has come a triumph for not only will the new church be a holy and safe place of worship, work and study, but it will house a Church who have faced a challenge together and become a stronger community to serve their Lord in their wider community of Coppermine.



Services
Sunday
11:00am Holy Communion (Inuinaqtun)
3:00 pm  Sunday School
5:00 pm  Evening Prayer (Inuinaqtun)
6:15 pm  Holy Communion (English)
Bible Study is being planned


Clergy of Kugluktuk (Coppermine) and area

Rev. Herbert Girling
Rev. C.M. Hathaway
Rev. Harold Webster
Rev. John Sperry 1950 to 1969
Rev. Peter Bishop 1968 to 1981
Rev. David Pollard 1981 to 1984
Rev. Geoffrey Dixon 1984 to 1989
Rev. Keith Marsh 1989 to 1991
Rev. Michael MacLachlan 1992 to 1997
Rev. Anne Brandly 1998 to 2000
Rev. Malcolm Palmer 2001 to 2003
Rev. Sam Kikpak 2003 to 2004 (Deacon in charge)
Rev. Thomas Kedini interim 3 months during 2005
Rev. Geoffrey Dixon interim during 2005
Rev. Chris Davis July 2006 - 2009
Capt. Andrew Robertson 2010-2011