“Wedding Cake Church”: St. Andrews Baptist Church

By Taylor Murray

Nestled in the sea-side town of St. Andrews, New Brunswick is perhaps one of the most interesting churches in Atlantic Canada. Built in 1865, the plaque outside of St. Andrews Baptist Church describes the church as “one of the most charming examples in carpenter-gothic” architecture in the region. Indeed, its features scream “gothic revival” – but with a New Brunswick twist. Like most other buildings in the Province, the church’s wooden structure is a reflection of the important role that the lumber industry has always played in New Brunswick.

According to the church’s history, because of the building’s unique appearance the locals used to refer to it as the “wedding cake church.”

 

Interestingly, despite the church’s nineteenth century birth, the stained-glass windows that adorn the sides of the sanctuary are a relatively recent addition. Each was added in the late-twentieth century. Many have an inscription (as pictured below) that give a sense of their period of installation. Prior to the installation of these decorative windows, the church simply had regular windows, which would have given the sanctuary a very different appearance.1

 

If you are interested in learning more about the church, visit the church’s website.2 For information on the building itself, see John Leroux and Thaddeus Holownia, St. Andrews Architecture, 1604 – 1966. Kentville, NS: Gaspereau Press, 2010.

Taylor Murray is a PhD student in Church History at McMaster Divinity College. Before coming to MDC, he completed an MA in Christian History at Acadia Divinity College, Acadia University. He is a Member at Large with the Canadian Baptist Historical Society.

Endnotes

1. Like many other Protestants from their era, nineteenth-century Maritime (Calvinist) Baptists usually steered away from anything they believed was too reminiscent of Roman Catholicism – which, for some, would have included decorative stained-glass windows like these ones. While not always the case, many Maritime Baptists from this period built churches with stained-glass windows that depicted simple designs of just colours or shapes, rather than biblical (or other) images. See, for example, the windows in Salisbury Baptist Church. If you are interested in the stained-glass windows in the Baptist Church in Salisbury (New Brunswick), here are a few examples that I took in 2014.
2. For a brief (somewhat speculative, and occasionally inaccurate) overview of the history of the St. Andrews Baptist Church, see this interesting piece from the Maritime Baptist, 17 August 1949, 3.

**The views of this Blog represent those of the author, and not necessarily the CBHS.**

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