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McDONALD e@ca.on.simcoe_county.nottawasaga.collingwood.the_connection 2003-08-29 published
   category e is education election employment athletics
West Church marks 150th anniversary with special service
Emmanuel Presbyterian church in Nottawa is celebrating 163 years of official Presbyterian ministry in Nottawasaga/Clearview.
As well, the congregation will be commemorating the 150th anniversary of the founding of the West Nottawasaga Church, on September 7. A special service will be held at the church at 7 p.m., the only one held there on an annual basis, to mark the occasion,
What follows is a short history of the church, pulled together from material in The Church of West Nottawasaga 125th Anniversary celebration program, printed in 1978.
According to historians, Nottawasaga was surveyed and opened for settlement in the early 1830s, with the bulk of early pioneers coming over from the Highlands of Scotland.
They not only brought over their accent, but also their Church of Scotland, and Presbyterian form of Church government.
Whenever the local people could round up a Presbyterian minister, services would be held in private homes or schools for the first couple of decades.
In 1853, Church members were able to secure the services of Rev. John CAMPBELL, who was ordained and inducted as the first Presbyterian minister in the township.
Prior to this, from 1841 to 1849 Reverend K. McLENNAN, an itinerant minister, preached to the flock in this area.
Rev. CAMPBELL's first job was to build a couple of churches. One would be located on the Fourth Line of the township for the East Nottawasaga congregation.
Another location was secured on the third sideroad north of Duntroon, about two kilometres west of the Eighth Concession. This congregation was named West Nottawasaga.
The church building located on what is now called the West Church Sideroad, is actually the third building on the site.
In the first church, the first communion service was held on July 1, 1855, while the first session was constituted on March 9, 1856. This building was destroyed in 1866, and in 1867, the second building was dedicated. This new church is remembered for its beauty, and was used until July 11, 1946.
"On this date, a second disaster came in the form of lightning. The building was struck and completely destroyed by the ensuing fire," the souvenir program from 1978 reads.
The cornerstone of the current building was laid on Sept 16, 1948, and the present structure was dedicated a little over a year later.
Rev. CAMPBELL died in 1866, and was followed in the charge of West Nottawasaga by his son-in-law, Reverend Alexander MacDONALD.
In the 1870s, the East Nottawasaga Church was moved to a circuit that included Creemore and Dunedin.
St. Andrew's at MacMurchey's Settlement, joined West Nottawasaga's pastoral charge in 1875, and they were both later joined by a church in Duntroon.
MacDONALD stayed in his post until 1893.
"Thus, the two ministers... for a period of 40 years, laid the foundations of the spiritual and moral life of the township in the district in which they preached the Gospel, visited the sick, buried the dead and baptized the children, and saw many of them grow into manhood and womanhood and begin to make homes for themselves," the long-winded writer of the 1978 program penned.
A number of ministers came and went, and helped West Church and its contiguous affiliates prosper, including Reverend Robert BIMIE, who pastored his flock from 1927 to 1948.
In 1972 the three congregations of the so-called Duntroon Pastoral Charge would begin worshipping together, but rotate between Duntroon, the church in Nottawa proper an West Church.
In a history of Emmanuel, it was reported that in 1987, 90 per cent of the three congregations decided to formally unite into what is now Emmanuel Presbyterian Church. Nottawa and St. Paul's were sold, while West Church still stands guard over the cemetery. A new church was dedicated in 1989, and rededicated after extensive renovations earlier this year.
For details call 444-6823.
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