The worship schedule for Riondell and Crawford Bay is as follows: Beginning 3rd week of October 2012 at 1:00pm: Combined worship with Riondell and Crawford Bay, beginning with Riondell in October and alternating back and forth through to April 2013.
Our historic church is well known for the beauty of its windows and other furnishings. Canon John Erb of the Anglican Foundation took some fine pictures.
Harrison Memorial Church could well be the original "little brown church in the wildwood."
The altar and the stained glass window over it are outstanding examples of local craftsmanship.
The Pennington family has donated two memorial windows portraying flowers. This is the more recent.
The route from the East Kootenays over Rose's Pass to Crawford Bay was well known as early as 1865. In 1888 a prospector known to the Kootenai Indians as 'White Man Jim' Crawford, was on his way down Kootenay Lake. He turned right instead of left and came into the bay which now bears his name.
The 1880's and '90's was the time of the prospectors. After the initial fever quieted down some of these rugged men decided they liked the valley for its climate and stayed on. But it was not until the turn of the century that land agents from Nelson began to advertise the area and settlement began. Senior Commander James Matthew Harrison, R.N. first became familiar with the Kootenays in the late 1800's. While serving as a lieutenant in the Royal Navy, he managed to travel inland during a stopover at Esquimalt, B.C. He was so taken by the rugged beauty of the area that he decided to make his home here.
In England he had married Lucy Caroline Wedgwood of the Wedgwood China Company. She was a cousin of the English composer Ralph Vaughan-Williams, and was also related to the Charles Darwin family. In 1908 the Harrisons left England for Crawford Bay and the following year were settled in "Freckleton", the name of their estate until World War I. Then tragedy struck when the Harrison's sons, Geoffrey, Thomas and George, were killed in naval actions. Construction of the church which was to be their memorial began. However, in June of 1919 Mrs Harrison died quite suddenly at the age of 72 and the little church became a memorial to the Commander's whole family.
Commander Harrison, age 79, died in June 1926 and was buried beside his wife, Lucy, on the grounds of his estate that later became known as Wedgwood Manor.
For many years the Crawford Bay Women's Institute had the charge and care of the church until 1944 when the organization ceased functioning. The church, situated on almost an acre of property on Crawford Creek Road, was then transferred to the Anglican Church, Diocese of Kootenay, with the proviso that it be available for the use of any recognized Christian denomination. The care of the church is undertaken by a committee of local residents.
During the period from 1915-21 the Reverend J.S. Mahood, who composed the music and contributed verses 2,3 and 4 to 'The Hymn of the Kootenay,' was ministering in the Kootenay Lake area.
For many years the church was serviced from across the lake by ministers from Balfour, Kaslo, Nelson, Proctor and Queens Bay. Now it is part of the Parish of Creston.
Harrison Memorial Church is one of a very few Anglican Churches not named after a saint or a derivation of the name of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Over the years, memorials have been added: the six hanging stained glass lamp shades, the altar frontal piece carved from native pine, needlepoint kneelers, and three stained glass windows. One of these depicts a Kootenay scene beneath the Cross and Dove of Peace; the second is of blue irises, and the third is of daffodils. These gifts have been crafted in the Kootenay region by local artists.
Harrison Memorial Church holds services at 1.00 pm on third Sundays of the month. The building is never locked and can be used by those with need of peaceful sanctuary. From the porch of the church the view through the tall trees and over the fourth fairway of Kokanee Springs Golf Course is inspiring. In the distance the majestic Kokanee Glacier overlooks the quiet valley.
Many thanks to Peter Vickers of the Nelson Daily News and Bill Fraser for their contributions for this brief historical sketch. Mr. Fraser came to Crawford Bay as a teenage lad in 1912. His father had purchased property, which the Frasers called 'Ledlanet Ranch'. Their home was beside the small lake which can be seen adjacent to highway 3A at the height of land between Crawford Bay and Kootenay Bay.