Archive for the ‘Church’ Category

Methodist After ChurchFirst Church What became known as the Village of Shallow Lake was first visited by white people in the year 1862, who settled beside the creek which empties into the body of water that gave the village its name. During the summer months, the lake dried up leaving a chalky deposit known as marl on its floor. The marl held the necessary elements required for the manufacture of Portland cement.

Church History:

Methodist ministry was begun in Shallow Lake as early as 1882 by the Minister of the Hepworth Church. However, an attempt to erect a Methodist Church in Shallow Lake in 1882 failed. Around 1882, a Methodist Church had been established in Hepworth. Having no church in Shallow Lake, a few families who lived there worshipped at Hepworth. Services were held in the hotel dining room, which was the upper level of a livery barn, or in the homes of the pioneers. The minister came, (often once monthly) by foot or on horseback.

In the year 1894, a few early pioneers and settlers, because of their strong faith and love of God, had a desire to build a Presbyterian Church. A piece of property, part of Lot 21, Concession 2, South Centre Diagonal, Township of Keppel, was purchased for $28. With prayer, sacrifice and perseverance, these ambitious pioneers erected Knox Presbyterian Church, Shallow Lake.

On November 29, 1894, a half-acre of land was purchased from James Cruickshank and Albert McInnis for $45, and on May 22, 1896, the cornerstone was laid for a Methodist Church in Shallow Lake. The church building was erected on the second lot west of McInnis Street on Princess Street and opened in October, 1896, with H. J. Harnwell as Pastor and Mrs. Grant as organist.

In 1895, a twelve branch chandelier with coal oil lamps was installed and used until 1938 when the building was wired for electricity. In 1971, it was donated to the Grey County – Owen Sound Museum by the Shallow Lake United Church Board.

In January 1899, a Presbyterian Ladies Association had been formed with eleven members. Without modern conveniences as we know them, the Association worked together raising money for the improvement of their church. A porch was built onto the front of the church for the tendered price of $25.00; the interior was papered, new carpet and matting were purchased. These ladies planned strawberry teas (admission – 15 cents and 10 cents); Irish suppers (admission – 25 cents and 15 cents). In 1908, a fowl supper was held for which they prepared and used 60 chickens (admission – 25 cents and 15 cents). Proceeds were $73.32. Wood stoves with ovens were used. These old fashioned kitchens must have been extremely hot by the time the fowl was roasted and the baking completed. Arrangements had to be made to have boys carry water from the nearest well; the boys who did this received a free supper.

Each summer the Methodist Ladies Aid and the Presbyterian Ladies Association joined in arranging an annual picnic at Sauble Beach. They didn’t travel by car, but with horse and buggy or team and democrat. Later they travelled in a truck which was locally owned.

Until 1905, Shallow Lake Methodist Church was linked with Hepworth. Then, in 1905, Shallow Lake Methodist Church became separated from Hepworth and made a circuit with Mount Horeb (1905-1917) on Lot 5, Concession 15 of Keppel Township and Ottewell in Amabel Township. In 1917, Shouldice was added to this circuit as an associate appointment which continued for three years. However, a four-point charge proved awkward and, in 1920, Ottewell and Mount Horeb were then taken from the circuit and added to the Wiarton Methodist Church.

In 1925, a new era was beginning, the population of the village had been decreasing after the close of the cement plant twelve years previously, and financial obligations of the church were rising. Both Methodist and Presbyterian congregations came to realize that two churches and two ministers could not be maintained.

In 1925, the Knox Presbyterian congregation, which opened August 24, 1894 on the corner of Cruickshank and Main Streets in Shallow Lake, entered The United Church of Canada on a vote of 40 to four. It was then amalgamated with Shallow Lake Methodist congregation. There is no record of any ill feeling during the transition. Four months previous to this, the Sunday schools had combined. The combined ladies organization became Shallow Lake United Church Women. The former Methodist building was used for worship services and the former Presbyterian building as a community hall. William John Patton, the incumbent Presbyterian minister, left in June for Carnuff/Redvers, Sask. W.A. Matthews, the incumbent Methodist minister was expected to remain. However, the transition did not take place without some confusion. The Sun Times announced on May 30 that the Methodist incumbent W. A. Matthews had been appointed to the Shallow Lake circuit for an additional year. On June 20, it was announced that the settlement committee had appointed William H. Bartlett as minister.

On July 16, 1925, William H. Bartlett was inducted as minister of the new Shallow Lake Charge which included the former Methodist congregation of Shouldice; on July 18, a farewell was held for Mr. Matthews. For a short time, Mr. Matthews supplied the Hepworth, Zion-Amabel, and Park Head circuit in the temporary absence of John P. Barbaree. However, he remained in Shallow Lake without appointment until December when he went to the former Lion’s Head Methodist circuit. Before coming to Shallow Lake, he served four years on the Kemble circuit and six years at Colpoys.
The Presbyterian Church building became the property of Grey Presbytery and was renamed “Community Church Hall”. The building was maintained by Shallow Lake United Church until May, 1983 when it was demolished. In June, 1983, additional land was purchased and a new Shallow Lake United Church was constructed on the same site.

A major realignment took place in 1931 when Shallow Lake was linked with Hepworth and Zion-Amabel, an arrangement which existed for 49 years until July 1, 1980. The Shouldice Charge transferred to First United Church, Owen Sound, and it remained linked from 1942 to 1972. Ottewell became part of the new Clavering congregation which was formed on Lot 38, Concession 2N in Keppel Township.

The Shouldice congregation probably would have closed at this point had it not been for the services of a retired United Church minister, William Fletcher Roach, who supplied the congregation.



1896-1898 Rev. Henry J. Harnwell

1898-1900 Rev. Judson Truax

1900-1901 Rev. J. A.Doyle

1901-1902 Rev. S. Laidman

1902-1903 Rev. William Walker

1903-1904 Rev. F.C. Copp

1904-1905 Rev. Lloyd

1905-1906 Rev. Cooper

1907-1908 Rev. G. Holmes

1908-1909 Rev. A. J. Elson

1909-1911 Rev. A. O. W. Foreman

1911-1913 Rev. L. L. Cavers

1913-1914 Rev. C. F. Meek

1914-1917 Rev. Robert Woulds

1917-1918 Rev. T. W. Hazelwood

1818-1920 Rev. Robert Magill

1920-1923 Rev. B. E. Newnham

1923- 1925 Rev. W. A. Matthews

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Erin Methodist Church History

The Canada Methodist Church is a brick building seating 300 It was erected 10 years ago at a cost of $1,700 – Services at 10:30 am and 6:30 pm Sunday School at 2:30 pm prayer meeting on Thursday There are 50 members Rev. Isaac Crane….1883-1884 Wellington County Directory – Erin

Although 1839 was the date when the New Connection Methodist Church established a congregation in Erin, the roots of religious teaching go back much farther. The first settlers came to Erin Township in 1820 to a virtual wilderness, but soon trees were cut down, log houses were built and land gradually cleared.

Saddle bag preachers or circuit riders, travelling from place to place on horseback, supplied the spiritual need of these early settlers who sometimes walked miles to get to the place of worship.

The first service was held in a log school house on the 9th line, and the Presbyterian preachers were the first to minister to the Christian spiritual needs of the people. Soon, however, the Methodist Church sent their ministers, and for some time they alternated with the Presbyterians in the school house.

In the 1830’s the settlers decided to erect a United Church jointly with the Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians and Anglicans, to provide a place to worship. A twelve foot square room was built in the centre of Erin Village, and all the settlers looked to this place as their spiritual home for a few years.

When the New Connection Methodists organized in 1839, Erin was an appointment on the Caledon Circuit, with the Rev. John Shilton as minister.

The Wesleyan Methodists first mention Erin in the report of the Guelph circuit in 1844, when the minister’s report states,

“The fields of labour in which we were stationed last conference, is very extensive and highly interesting, viz: the townships of Guelph, Eramosa, Erin, Nichol, Garafraxa, Woolwich, Waterloo, Wesley and Peel.”

A Union Church was built on Main Street in 1849, and was used by the two branches of Methodism and the Associate Church of Scotland until 1858.

Erin became a circuit in 1850, with a senior and junior minister, namely Rev. William Steer and John L. Kerr. In his report in 1851, Mr. Steer stated

“This field of labour includes the Township of Erin, Garafraxa, and the rear of Chinguacousy. In several places we have made new appointments, also have been invited to reach into other places which we have not yet visited, but intend to do so shortly.”

In 1858 the Wesleyans built an eight-sided church on the present site of the United Church.

The New Connection Methodists erected their church at the corner of Main and Water Street. This church was burned, and the congregation then worshipped in the Wesleyan building.

In July 1870 the concrete octagonal Wesleyan church was burned, and was rebuilt and opened in January 1871. It was all paid for except $150.00 including a debt of $320.00 that had been on the previous building, which, according to records, had cost upwards of 400 pounds.

When the fourteen divisions of Methodism united in 1884, this church became the Methodist Church of Canada, and Erin was put on a circuit consisting of Erin, Ballinafad, Coningsby, Caledon, Credit Forks and Belfountain. The minister lived in Erin, and had a student to assist him.

In 1925, the Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational Churches merged to form the United Church of Canada. Some of the Presbyterians chose to remain with their own denomination, but many were welcomed into the union, and the Methodist building became the United Church.

This church building was erected in 1871. It has been said there is a very simple, but effective, bit of engineering in the attic that supports the ceiling without having any posts below. The basement has had numerous changes made to it. Originally, a basement was not considered necessary, but some time later it was deepened below the level of the foundation, the sides re-inforced with wood, and wooden floor put in right on the ground. This has been replaced with concrete since Union. What is now the kitchen, had only enough dirt removed to allow the wood for fuel to be thrown in from the back. The church had box seats. Everyone had their own seat, and had stools to keep their feet off the floor on account of the draft.

In 1901 there were 100 members on the Erin roll, with seven official board members representing the six charges on the circuit. By 1906 reports showed the Cataract congregation did not average 12, so by 1910, Cataract, Credit Forks and Belfountain were dropped from the circuit, leaving Erin, Ballinafad and Coningsby.

Originally, there was a basement stairway inside in the west corner later, this was covered over and an outside stairway put in under the window next to the driveway. At that time there was a large wooden platform outside of the front entrance, with continuous steps on three sides. This shows up in numerous school class pictures, as the different levels made a good setting for this, also, it was convenient, as the school at that time was just on the other side of the Presbyterian Church.

Immediately after union the platform was removed and the new entrance and vestibule was built, enlarging the interior of the church, with the basement stairway inside, where it now is. Heating systems and chimneys have undergone a number of changes. Originally, there were two chimneys and two wood stoves, with their lines of stove pipes connecting them to the chimneys. After the basement came into use a furnace was installed, and a new chimney built on the outside of the wall.

At the time of union, a new church was built in Hillsburgh, with Erin, Hillsburgh and Coningsby forming the circuit, dropping Ballinafad. At least, from the year 1937, summer services have been combined with the Presbyterians, so each minister would have four weeks holidays.


I acknowledge here with grateful thanks, all those who have contributed information and loaned pictures for reproduction, and helped in any way with this history. Without their help it would have been impossible to write. Also, deep appreciation is extended to the Sesquicentennial Committee, those people who have worked so hard in making the 150th year of Christian commitment in Erin, a memorable one, and for standing behind me in all aspects of the production of this book. This is not a complete history. Many contributions have been made by numerous people who have done so much for the good of the church, that it is impossible to mention them all in this brief history. I offer my apologies if I have omitted something you think should have been included, and also apologize for any mistakes that have been made….DORIS FINES – Erin United Church



1871 – 1872  Rev. Benjamin Sherlock

1914 – 1918 Rev. Melvin Smith

1925 – 1928 Rev. E.R. Hall


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Sometime about the year 1844 or a little later Henry Smith settled on Lot 4 con. 12, St. Vincent Township, where he opened or founded what became known as the Smith Mission.

In the year 1879 a stone church was built on Lot 24. con. 11, just south of the brick church and was called the Methodist Episcopal Church.

This was a very modern church with raised seats and stained glass windows. This church only carried on for a few years. and then united with Ebenezer Church.

The first services in this section were held in the Sparling home, now owned by Rennie Bros.

Later the services were held in the school when it was built
on the Mitchell property.

When Joe Shepherdson and his sister Sophia, later Mrs. John Muxlow sold an acre of land off their farm, now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Murray, a permanent place of worship was built.

An interesting event was told to us later by the late Mrs. Fred Rumsey, of how her mother, Sophia Shepherdson, had made 100 pies which were enjoyed on the memorable occasion of the opening of the new church.

The contractor in appreciation of the young girl’s generous contribution made and presented to her a bake board and rolling pin, which was one of the treasures of her household.

The brick church was built in the year 1878 and was dedicated on ‘the Sabbath dyy, December 29, 1878 at
10 a.m. by Rev. D. C, McDowell, chairman of the Owen Sound District.

This church was named Ebenezer, but was also known as the Shepherdson Church.

As the years went by other churches were called Ebenezer, so ours was known as Spading’s Ebenezer Church or a New Canada Wesleyan Methodist Church.

The names appearing in Ebenezer Church records of that time were Shepherdson, Sparling, Artley, Wiley, Muxlow, McCullough, Baxter, Wright, Wooth, Milson. Rielly. Curry and Yeadell.

The first child to be baptized in Ebenezer Church was Miss Sophia Shepherdson, now Mrs. Thomas Dixon.

There have been two weddings in the church,
the Soul – Parker wedding and the Tullock – Rennie wedding.

For music – at first the key was sounded on a tuning fork to start the congregation singing. Later in 1896 an organ was purchased and Emma Wood (Mrs. A. Parker) was the first organist. Mrs. William Geddes, Mrs. Gertrude
Ptolemy. Mrs. Rye Spading. Martha Wood, Mrs. Lawrence Sparling, Barbara Rennie and Tom Sparling were among the later organists.

There has always been an active Sunday School. Among the Superintendents were – Phillip Sparling, Alonzo Rennie, Robert Spading, Ryerson Sparling, Archie Wood, W. I. Wood and Mrs. Raymond Rennie.

Fred Irwin, Robert Sparling, Philip Sparling, Fred Curry, Maggie Curry, Sarah Curry, Mrs. R. Spading, Wm. Cheer, J. E. Burchilt, Mrs. James Burchilt, Mrs. Veadell, Elizah Sparling, Jeff Rennie, Johnson Abercrombie, George Ferris. Maggie Rielly, Mathew Patton, Rhoda Yeadell, Charles Wright, Annie Burchill, Thomas Mower, David Burchill, Ryerson Sparling, James Ferris, Wm. Bassett, Rhoda Wright, Bella Wright, Mary Wood, Martha Wood, Emma Wood, Mary Yeadell, Sarah Yeadell, Carrie Williamson.

… from Grey County Tweedsmuir Histories  – Supplied by E. W. Quinton

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Christies Meth2BW

The Buttonville Women’s Institute Community Hall reflects the Women’s Institute’s contribution to the community of Markham. It is also a testament to the community halls which were once common across Ontario as reminders of the efforts of women to form, reinforce and document a sense of community in rural Ontario. When the original Community Hall was destroyed in a fire, the Buttonville Junior Women’s Institute made it their first priority to raise funds for a new hall. They held many fundraising events, the most popular of which were their garden parties.
After purchasing the land on April 9, 1940, a large church was obtained from Bloomington in Whitchurch Township, which was dismantled and re-erected for the main part of the hall. A smaller church from L’Amoureux in Scarborough Township was utilized for the platform. Many community members donated their time to move and put the two churches together. The Institute’s Hall was a centre of community life for over 40 years. Nevertheless, with the decline in the agricultural community, in the vicinity of Buttonville, the Institute hall closed in 1983.
The Buttonville Women’s Institute Community Hall is a good example of reused and restored nineteenth century churches. The simple design incorporates a rectangular plan, gable roof, brick walls with radiating voussoirs over the openings. The window openings have projecting sills and brick arches.

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Christies Meth2BW

Christie’s Methodist Cemetery

2900 Warden Ave., north of Finch Ave.

Literally located in the middle of the parking lot at Bridlewood Mall, Christie’s Methodist Cemetery is an important piece of the history of Scarborough’s L’Amoreaux neighbourhood. In 1836, Irish immigrants Isaac Christie and Isabella Graeme bought 100 acres of farmland where the tiny cemetery sits from United Empire Loyalist and Huguenot Josué L’Amoreaux. Not long after, Wesleyan Methodist leader Reverend T. Turner convinced the couple to allow him to build a small church, which included a cemetery, on their property. Burials were done at this site until the 1920s until the United Church finally closed the church down for good in 1938. Home to a large indoor horse racing track for a time, this land became home of Bridlewood Mall in the mid-1970s. The Scarborough Historical Society was instrumental in saving this historic cemetery from being bulldozed after it convinced the developers to save the graveyard. Discussions are currently underway to redevelop the mall and surrounding lands into high-rise dwellings.


In the midst of the parking lot on the east side of Bridlewood Mall on Warden Avenue north of Finch Avenue East can be found this small cemetery. A Scarborough Historical Society plaque there has this to say:
“Issac Christie and his wife, Isabella Graeme, came to Scarborough from Armagh, Ireland, and in 1836 purchased 40 hectares of Clergy Reserve land in Lot 33, Con. IV. This land had been rented and cleared for farming by Josué L’Amoreaux and his sons, United Empire Loyalists of French Huguenot origin, who settled here in 1808. In 1846 the Wesleyan Methodists of this area, led by Reverend T. Turner, built a small frame church amid the fields of Christie’s farm. These settlers and their descendants worshipped here for 80 years. After the congregation was absorbed into the United Church in 1925, the chapel was closed. In 1936, a fire destroyed nearby St. Paul’s Church and the Anglicans used Christie’s Chapel until their church was rebuilt. The old chapel was closed again in 1938 and later dismantled and reconstructed at Buttonville as a community hall.”

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Issac Christie


1846 – 1850 Rev. Thomas Turner

1875-1877 Rev. John Hunt

1884 Rev. William Wilkinson

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Rev. David Hardy, the first resident Methodist preacher in the county, used to travel every week from Holland Landing to Penetanguishene in the discharge of his clerical duties. The memebers of his church lived from end to end of the county, and he ministered weekly to them at different places along the route. One of his appointments was at Gimby’s Corners (now Churchill).

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1836 Rev. David Hardy

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In the 1840’s Bell Ewart was rapidly growing to become an industrial centre for Innisfil.

With its large sawmill, flour mill, shipyard, lime kiln, hotels and stores, it had grown in the early sixties into a village whose population exceeded 1500 persons.

The town was named for the Christian names of a man and wife, and the correct spelling is Bell Ewart, as it is on the Post Office Stamp in Bell Ewart, to this day.

Church History:

Just when the first Methodist Society was established in Bell Ewart is uncertain, but the name appears in the first minute of the first Quarterly Board Secretary’s book in the late summer of 1855 with an appropriation for the year of five pounds. This was their share of the ministers’ stipend which totalled 110 pounds, 1 shilling.

In 1867 both Baptists and Methodists were using the schoolhouse for religious services.

There was talk of building churches, and the H. W. Sage Lumber Company through the manager, Mr. Russell Sage
offered $1,000 to the congregation first able to raise an equal amount.

The race was on, Mr. S. C. Webster and the Rev. George Brown prepared subscription lists for the Methodists and received a total amount of $1,918 in cash, with promises to pay by October 1st, 1867. The larger part of this amount was collected from the country and the village of Lefroy, the canvassers going as far afield as Big Bay Point, Painswick, Cookstown, and Bradford. They even got twenty dollar subscriptions from Mr. H. B. Beecher and Mr. H. W. Beecher of Albany, New York, former mill owners in Bell Ewart.

The Methodist Church

The building, of timber frame construction upon a post foundation, was similar to its present form except that it had a vestry and tower and was clad with wood siding. It was built upon land purchased from Mr. Harris in Toronto for the sum of $218.

The following men were appointed trustees by the Quarterly Board: Alexander Gartley, Alexander McCullough, John Long, John Willoughby, George Dixon, Thomas H. Dixon, S.C. Webster,
Robert Grose and George McKay.

Evidently, the Baptists and Methodists were ties in the race, for the Sage Company donated $1,000 to each, and work on the new churches began forthwith. The Baptist plans were somewhat more pretentious than those of the Methodists and, running out of money before the building was completed, the edifice stood for a number of years, a mute illustration of Jesus’ words in Luke 14:30, at last to be sold and removed to Tollendale.

The First Organ

Later in 1867 another subscription was circulated to raise money to purchase an “instrument for the use of the Wesleyan congregation at Bell Ewart”.

We note on this document that two socials at S. C. Webster’s netted $20.55. Some indecipherable kind of function at the schoolhouse brought in $25.00. A concert at Lefroy added $4.00. A “lover of music” contributed $1.00. Mr. W. D. Lawrence donated a calf which either died in infancy, or like Willie’s calf “grew up to be father’s cow,” or perhaps just had no market value. At any rate, no dollars and no cents are indicated by three ciphers in the proper columns, and the musical life of Bell Ewart profited nothing from the transaction.

However, a total of $114.34 was collected and expended $110.00 for the “instrument” and $2.00 for a “box for the instrument”: Mr. Hugg kept .25 cents, and an unknown person received $2.09 for expenses incurred in collecting and purchasing the organ. The account was closed with no balance and no deficit.

The choir sat on a platform three or four feet high behind the congregation, facing the minister. The first organ used in the church was called the “Donkey Organ”.

The first organist was Mrs. McKay, wife of a Lefroy merchant; then Miss Margaret Grose who played and led the singing; then Mrs. I. Gilpin, who was born the year the church was built; lastly Miss Margaret Buchanan now Mrs. T. Sawyer, who filled the position until the church was moved.

They say the old Methodist Church was noted for its wonderful choir, and that people came for many miles to hear the Gilpin Brothers sing.

Rise and Fall

Again in 1869 a sum of $79.95 was collected with which to finance the building of a driving shed. Mr. A. Long was the builder and the total cost was $84.00.

In 1871 a minute appears as follows in the Quarterly Board Book: “Moved by Alexander Gartley, seconded by Andrew Sibbald that in view of the embarrest condition of the W. M. Church at Belewert that the trustees ask for the sum of 300 hundred dollars from the church relief fund. Carried”.

That this was a comparatively large sum is seen from the fact that their apportionment for the next year’s finances was the usual $75.00, but we are given no further information in the matter.

In 1875 the minister’s income was reckoned as follows:
Salary, $300; Table Expense, $275; horse keep, $60; fire wood $40; Children’s Fund, $82.25; traveling expense $6; incidentals $5; making a total of $768.25. The young minister received $336.80.

By 1885 Bell Ewart is contributing as much as Wesley to the circuit funds, being exceeded only by Victoria. Henry Grose is elected class leader, and Andrew Long elected Steward.

During this time certain economic factors were at work in the community which inevitably had an effect on the church.

Shortly after the church was built the big sawmill burned and the lumber company decided to rebuild nearer the source of their forest supplies. Many of the congregation moved with the company to Longford.

Then in succession the flourmill burned, the stores closed, the shipyard fell into disuse, and with the coming of the railways on either side of the lake many more of the residents left the vicinity and the town became a skeleton of its former greatness. The time arrived when the majority of the church
members lived in Lefroy and the surrounding country, and the congregation began to talk of moving the church to Lefroy.

The Removal

By 1900 the Innisfil circuit consisted of four appointments namely: Stroud, Wesley (Nantyr), Bell Ewart and Cherry Creek.

The Wesley service was at 1:00 p.m., Cherry Creek at 3:00 p.m., and Bell Ewart and Stroud at 7:00 p.m. The minister was in charge of the evening service every other Sunday at Stroud and Bell Ewart, and a local preacher took the alternative Sundays.

The staff of local preachers consisted of Mr. I. N. Gilpin, merchant at Lefroy; Mr. Henry (Squire) Grose, farmer where Frank Corner now lives; Mr. George Peacock, blacksmith at Fennels.

One Sunday evening early in the spring of 1902, the Rev. R. Mckee was in charge of the service in Bell Ewart and a very high wind came up. The church building was of frame structure which swayed and creaked badly, and the coal oil lamps attached to the ceiling by long iron rods were swaying dangerously.

At the close of the service the minister called a meeting of the officials and advised them that he would not hold another service in the building since he considered it unsafe.

The majority voted to move the building to Lefroy where the main strength of the congregation lay.

Mr. McKee gave leadership in organizing the dismantling, removing and the rebuilding on the new site donated by Squire Grose. During the time of change, services were held in the grange hall, and by December of 1902, the work was complete and the new church opened.

The marvelous oyster supper served on that occasion was still remembered in 1952.

Mrs. Ross Ardell, nee Nellie Pickett succeeded Mrs. Sawyer at the organ.

The Lefroy Church

The new church arose from the timbers of the old, being firmly fixed on a stone foundation which provided a basement in place of the former vestry, and clad in brick instead of the wooden siding.

The tower and gallery of the old church were discarded, and entry was made in the new up four steps on the outside to a landing inside the doors, ahead down steps to the basement, or turn to the right or left up four steps into the body of the church. Here in the wintertime one was greeted by the warmth of two large stoves whose long stretches of pipes reached to the chimneys at the front of the church.

On the front wall hung a large board bearing the text, “God is Love”, ingeniously executed in fret-saw work by Mr. John Thompson. Here on uncomfortable straight-back benches a generation sat to hear the Word of God, or rose to sing the vigorous Methodist hymns, or knelt to draw nigh in prayer to the throne of God’s marvelous grace, or went forward to the altar rail to receive the Bread of Life and drink from the one common cup the sacramental wine of their soul’s salvation.

In 1919 on motion of Arthur Green and Adrian Bateman it was decided to close the Cherry Creek and Wesley appointments, 33 voting “yes”, 2 “no”, and one ballot spoiled.

The members of Wesley appointment transferred to Lefroy, and those of Cherry Creek to Gilford, Churchill, Ebenezer and Lefroy.

Ebenezer was transferred to the Bradford circuit, and in 1922 the name of the Innisfil circuit was changed to Stroud on motion of Mr. T. A. Sawyer and Mr. F. A. Tebo; the appointments now being Lefroy, Gilford and Stroud.

Church Union Begins

The first echo in Lefroy of that movement, world-wide in its significance, towards church union is recorded in a minute of the Official Board of the Innisfil Circuit meeting on February 12, 1912. “Vote on Church Union was now called which resulted as follows, twenty members present. Twelve members vote yes, and one no, seven refused to vote today.”

At that time Big Bay appointment had closed, Painswick no longer had regular services, and the church there was offered for sale a year later, to be finally sold in 1917 for $335 and the money applied to repairs on the parsonage.

In 1919 a minute of the Official Board reads, “moved by Robt. Stewart – W. C. W. McCullough that this Board do place
itself on record as agreeable to meet the Presbyterian Brethren to discuss Church Union.

In 1925 the Officials instructed the Recording Steward, A. W. Green, to make arrangements for the participation in a joint meeting of all the churches in the area going into the United Church of Canada, the said meeting to be held at Churchill.

Three delegates were appointed and the report was presented to the next regular meeting of the Board by Mr. J.
Wilson Black. Here are some excerpts from the minutes at that time.

“Moved by J. W. Black and seconded by Louis Neilly that the delegates place themselves on record as desirous
of uniting. Carried.”

Next, one member from each congregation was appointed to a sub-committee to frame a resolution which was then adopted. The essence of the several decisions taken at the
meeting was that a four-point charge be formed with the following congregations:

Churchill (Presbyterian), Lefroy (Methodist and Presbyterian), Gilford and Stroud; that until such time as the change can be arranged the present charges and circuits call ministers. A new spirit of being involved in great things imparts itself even to the minutes of these momentous meetings.

At the first regular meeting after Union in the fall of 1925 it appears that the two charges have been established as they are today, Stroud and Lefroy as one, and Churchill the
centre of the other.

It is stated, “Rev. Mr. McKeown (of Churchill) was also present and helped very much in the meeting on questions touching our relations with his churches”.

Thereafter no more minutes were written on the old book. It was placed aside and a new one begun for the new United Church of Canada.

It should be noted here that for many years prior to union the two congregations held a united Sunday School, with the late Robert Stewart as superintendent. With the care of the children already under joint sponsorship, it was almost inevitable that the two congregations draw more closely together. Old people used to go to both services, the Methodist in the morning and the Presbyterian at night.



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