SHEGUIANDAH – A special service and potluck lunch will mark the 125th anniversary of the Sheguiandah United Church this Sunday, August 11 and all who have a memory to share are invited to join in the fellowship.
The Mission Field of Manitoulin Island was first appointed by the Methodist Church in Canada in Gore Bay, Little Current and Sheguiandah in 1874. Travelling ministers, or circuit riders, were the first to minister in the Methodist tradition in Sheguiandah, and services where likely held in people’s homes.
While the Little Current Pastoral Charge, of which the Sheguiandah United Church is a part, is celebrating 125 years of ministry in the present building’s location, this is the second church built on the property originally granted to the pioneer church trustees in 1877. The property was originally granted from “the Lands, hereafter described, are part and parcel of those set apart for the use of the ‘Ojibwas and Ottawas of Manitoulin Island Indians,” as is quoted from a copy of the original grant to the trustees for fledgling Methodist Church of Sheguiandah.
The first building was begun in 1875 and completed in 1877 on the half acre that was granted. It was built chiefly by Adam Trotter and Robert Lewis, who cut the timbers and erected the building after their day’s work and in their spare time. When the building was ready for plastering, Mr. Trotter sold a cow to pay the mason and by 1877, the first church was completed, debts were paid and a good old fashioned revival was held.
The original church was a plain wooden building and stood where the present church does now. For the first several years, the church served the community in the double capacity of a place of worship on Sunday and as a schoolhouse on weekdays.
In 1893 a congregational meeting was held and it was decided to build a permanent structure. A motion passed on October 10, 1893 to move the old church to the back of the lot, and build the new church at the front, where it stands now. There were 29 parishioners of the new church and they agreed to pay their promised amount as soon as the subscriptions totaled $350. The present church was built in 1894 and was ready for dedication in February of 1895.
The story of additions to the building continued 55 years later when the Honora Bay United Church had been closed for a few years and the Sheguiandah Ladies’ Aid Society purchased its building for $200. Volunteers dismantled the building in sections and moved it by horse and wagons to Sheguiandah and rebuilt it for a hall behind the present church. A kitchen was made and equipped so meals and other activities could continue. On June 26, 1952, the new hall was officially opened and dedicated by Rev. Elmer Tofflemire and was followed by a strawberry social.
Members of the Little Current and Sheguiandah United Churches will be remembering those of the past in a special service taking place this Sunday, August 11 at 10:30 am at the Sheguiandah United Church located on Townline Road.
“We will be celebrating our past and hearing stories, seeing pictures and would welcome any other stories or memorabilia you might have,” said Gail Cronin. “There will be a potluck lunch following the service across the street at the Howland Seniors’ Hall at 12 noon. There will be items on display there for all to see, including a copy of the Original Land Grant from 1884.”