The early years

In 1873, there were few homes in the Cedar Hill-Mt. Tolmie area, known then as Cedar Plains. Among the settlers in the district were the families of George Dean, Henry King, John Irvine, Merriman and Todd. Some of these families longed for a Presbyterian church service which they had been brought up on in Britain.

From 1860 to 1862, there had been Anglican services held in John Irvie’s home at Rose Bank Farm. These services were held under Bishop Hills. In his diary he wrote, “There were twelve persons in the congregation and ten children and one adult in the Sunday School.” This was the beginning of church services in the Cedar Hill District – St, Luke’s Angican Church dates from 1860 – from this humble beginning.

On October 26, 1862, a school chapel was opened on the site of the present St. Luke’s Church on Cedar Hill Road. This building served as the church, Sunday school and day school.

St. Aidan’s Presbyterian church was the mother church of St. Aidan’s. In 1873, Rev. Simon MacGregor, of Victoria, began preaching in outer parishes, including Esquimalt, Craigflower and Cedar Plains. St. Aidan’s history begins from this period, with services being held in the original Cedar Hill school chapel.

Many have asked through the years, “Who was Saint Aidan?” St. Aidan was an early (635 A.D.) missionary, a monk in the Monastery of Iona, an island in the Hebrides of Scotland. He was known as St. Aidan the Gentle.

A message came to the Monastery at Iona from King Oswald of Northumbria begging them to send missionaries to convert his people. The Abbot in charge gladly agreed to do so. A monk was sent but was unsuccessful and returned to Iona. St. Aidan was sent to take his place where he did good work. He trained boys to become clergymen, several of whom became Bishops of the Anglican church. By his gentleness and humility, he conquered the people of Northumbria and won them to the Christian faith. St. Aidan’s Day in the Anglican church is celebrated on August 31st.

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