St Albans Church

St. Albans Church to celebrate completed Renovations

By: Jim Robb, "Image Sandy Hill" 

A hard hat is a must have item for St Alban’s rector, Rev. Mark Whittall, during working hours for the contractors renovating the nave of the church

The historic church at King Edward and Daly Avenues has undergone months-long renovations to exterior stonework and alterations to its nave, or worship space, made necessary by the return of Centre 454, the Anglican diocese’s day program for the homeless, to upgraded quarters in St. Albans’ basement.


On Nov. 18 St. Albans will dedicate the renovated nave for the growing congregation. An open house from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with refreshments will follow the church service at 10 a.m.

“We want the church to be a place where members of the community can gather seven days a week,” said St. Albans rector, Rev. Mark Whittall. “The renovations will make that possible.” He said that new lighting and audio systems, for example, will make the church an ideal venue for concerts and theatrical productions.

Interior renovations focused on installation of wood-framed, glass-walled “pods” at the rear of the nave to provide spaces for church school activities, meetings, accessible washrooms and a kitchenette to compensate for lack of basement space. The beams used in the construction of the pods come from old forest, white pine joists, perhaps 150 years old, which were uncovered in basement repairs.

The rector said St. Albans owes a vote of thanks to St. Paul’s-Eastern United Church, a block away on Daly Avenue. St. Paul’s-Eastern made space and washrooms available when St. Albans was in need.

Launched in July 2011 as a new congregation in one of Ottawa’s most historic parishes, St. Albans is now home to a vibrant mix of students, young adults, family groups and older adults looking to experience a different kind of church. There’s a music group that’s heavy on guitar and percussion, and a clergy team willing to try new approaches like a Facebook page and Sunday services that use Twitter to get congregation responses and opinions in real time.

Pastoral Associate Peter Cazaly is responsible for St. Albans’ ministry to the homeless. He also leads a 6 p.m. Monday meditation and vespers service at the church. Ministry Intern Zack Ingles leads the music group and hosts St Al’s Unplugged, a Sundays at 7 p.m. group for students and other young adults that focuses on music, prayer, readings and reflections. He’s responsible for campus, young adult and youth (teen) ministries.

There’s usually a Sunday noon book study group meeting at the church. The current group, led by Ron Chaplin, is reading and discussing “Christianity After Religion,” subtitled “The End of Church and the Birth of a new Spiritual Awakening.” Author Diana Butler Bass is in much demand as a speaker and if you are reading this on or before Saturday, Oct. 13, you can catch her in person for “The End of Church? – An Evening to Discover the Spirituality of Young Adults” at St.