Pastor Greg Wellman stands in front of the Penticton Seventh-day Adventist Church this week. The church is celebrating two milestones today and Saturday and the public is invited to attend. Special guests will include all living

Pastor Greg Wellman stands in front of the Penticton Seventh-day Adventist Church this week. The church is celebrating two milestones today and Saturday and the public is invited to attend. Special guests will include all living

South Okanagan churches reach historic milestones

Seventh-day Adventist Church in Penticton marks its 100th anniversary, while St. Barbara's Anglican Church in OK Falls celebrates 50 years

Two local churches are celebrating notable milestones this weekend.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Penticton will mark its 100th anniversary in the city, while St. Barbara’s Anglican Church in Okanagan Falls will pay tribute to its 50th.

Adventists opened their first church in Penticton in March 1913, complete with a school in the basement. That original church, located on Fairview Road at the home of the present-day Greek Orthodox Church, was torn down in 1948, and a larger version was built to replace it at the same site.

At the time, a church society also worked closely with city council and the Red Cross to distribute welfare clothing, and a separate community services building offered nutrition seminars and cooking classes, among other things.

By 1979, the church’s school needed better playground facilities for students, so it purchased a lot off Green Avenue East, where students attended until the school closed in 2005.

The church itself moved in 1993 to its present location on Warren Avenue West, where this weekend’s events will take place.

All living, former pastors are returning to take part, including Daniel Jackson, who served two terms in Penticton and is now president of the Adventists’ North American Division. Friends, neighbours and former members are all welcome to attend any of the festivities.

Adventists here and around the world will also be celebrating the 150th anniversary of their religion, which has grown to 17 million adherents.

Meanwhile, in Okanagan Falls, St. Barbara’s Anglican Church will on Sunday mark, to the day, its 50th anniversary.

Prior to opening, members met in the dining room of the old Alexandra Hotel and in the local United Church, which itself was moved from the Fairview townsite in 1929.

Eventually, the Anglican community decided to build a church of its own on two lots on Willow Street that were donated by Major Hugh Fraser. Construction materials were supplied by Hugh Leir, and Deputy Warden Tom Worth looked after the design and build.

St. Barbara’s received its name and some of its furnishings from its namesake at the Copper Mountain townsite near Princeton.  Initially, there was discussion about moving the entire church from Copper Mountain to Okanagan Falls, but it proved to be impractical, so only the pews and the original chalice were relocated.

In 1970, the building loan was paid off and the church mortgage was burned at a St. Patrick’s Day supper held in the Legion hall.

To meet the needs of the thriving Anglican parish and congregation, Canon Alan Jackson in 1982 arranged the purchase of a portable classroom from Okanagan Falls Elementary School to serve as a church hall. Over the past 10 years, a number of building projects have been undertaken, including a new church foyer, office, washrooms, and roof and kitchen upgrades.

The public is invited on Sunday to attend a special service, followed at 1 p.m. by a wine-and-cheese reception and cake-cutting ceremony at St. Barbara’s at 1039 Willow St.