Archivist compiles photo history
of diocesan churches
Book launch at Provincial Archives on
UNB Fredericton Campus July 5
by Ana Watts
Photographs of Anglican Churches in the Diocese of Fredericton, a book compiled for the Diocesan Archives Committee by Diocesan Archivist Frank Morehouse, will be launched at the Provincial Archives, 23 Dineen Drive, UNB Campus, Fredericton on Tuesday evening, July 5, at 7 o’clock. Everyone is welcome. Frank bought a point-and-shoot digital camera and photographed the church in Highfield on June 30, 2002, shortly after his appointment as diocesan archivist by Bishop Bill Hockin. It was the first photo of this project. The last photo, of the exterior of the Camp Medley chapel, was made on May 15, 2011. It was also the last photo for Frank’s point-and-shoot. “It was just done-for, so I bought myself a new SLR (single lens reflex),” he says with a smile. The book runs 108 pages, features 180 church buildings (most of them active but a few closed), 35 long gone churches (mostly torn down but a few are now private homes), two pages of photos of interesting ecclesiastical furniture and a full index. The limited edition book will be available for $25 at the launch. Following that it will be available from Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org.
But Frank’s trusty point-and-shoot took a lot more than hundreds of pictures in the book. “I shot each church from the front and the back, inside and out, then I shot all the windows, communion ware, crystal, furniture, important plaques, clergy photos on the wall — whatever was there.” The result is the book plus 10 archival quality photo albums (one for each deanery) with at least two pages for each church. Some, like the Mission Church in Saint John with all its holy hardware, have as many as five pages.
There are three sets of alums, one in the archives, one in the bishop’s office and one in Frank’s possession.
“I think my next archives project is an album of clergy, past and present, and perhaps after that we (he and Twila Buttimer, the professional archivist responsible for the diocesan collection) will publish a book of the first five years of Archives Corner stories we wrote for the New Brunswick Anglican. They are already in a book form but I think they should be published because they are too important to just leave here and there.”
Frank’s other projects include a poster featuring all the bishops of Fredericton from Medley to Miller and a complete revision of the parish registry system. The new ring binder system makes it possible for records to be filed in the archives almost immediately. In the past the record books were kept in the parish and used until they were full. That could take as long as 50 years in some churches.
“My goal as diocesan archivist has always been to make people aware of our archives,” says Frank. “We are very fortunate that we have Twila, a professional, to look after the important management duties. Many other diocesan archivists have to do it all, so they don’t get an opportunity to do extra projects. And of course Twila and I share the Archives Corner duties. Sometimes we worry that we might run out of stories, but we have learned that stories beget stories. People who read them give us more information and often make us aware of other stories. I guess we’ll be able to keep them up for a while longer.”
June 28, 2011