Who is St. Oswald?
This is the only church in Canada dedicated to Oswald. Son of a murdered Northumbrian King, Oswald sought refuge on the Scottish island of Iona where St. Columba and his Irish monks had established an abbey. Here he converted to Christianity.
Returning home, he won back his Kingdom at the battle of Heavenfield. He sent to Iona for help. Aidan came to him, and together they spread the word of God, with the King acting as interpreter for the monk. Oswald gave Aidan the island of Lindisfarne for a monastery, and the new religion flourished, But Oswald’s rule was a short 8 years. In 642AD, aged 38, he was killed by a pagan king. With his last breath, he is said to have prayed for the souls of those who died with him.
He is remembered for his bravery and military skill, his piety and generosity. His feast is celebrated on August 5th.
This was not the first Anglican church built in Port Kells. The original site was on 192nd Street near the river. It was built in 1892, but was torn down in 1905 to make way for a gravel pit, and its only grave was moved to Surrey Centre.
Today’s church was built in 1911 as one of two ‘mission’ churches from St. Helen’s. (at 108th Ave. and 128th Street). The money was donated by Walter J. Walker. The other church was St. Aidan’s, Tynehead, which no longer exists. The rector of St. Helen’s would make an all day trip about once every six weeks to conduct services at these two churches.
St. Oswald’s first service was held on May 7th, 1911. The congregation numbered five, and the offertory was $1.10.
Today the small congregation is devoted to the little heritage church and works hard to keep the buildings and grounds in good condition. We are always happy to see local business people use the peace of the churchyard in their breaks. Whatever your faith, you are very welcome in this place.