St David’s History
Many members of the local community trace their ancestry to the first settlers in the area. The earliest homesteaders arrived in the 1860s and 70s in response to government offers of free land, new roads and rail links, accessibility to the Black River and an abundant supply of white pine.
From early written records it is known that in the 1880s Presbyterians, Anglicans and Methodists alternated their worship services and all were held in the local log-constructed public school.
In June 1888, a committee was struck to consider the building of a Presbyterian church. Excerpts from the minutes book state that a “bee” was held in March, 1889, to clear the site of an acre of land donated by David Gray. The logs were taken to Cook’s mill to be sawed into building lumber. The same year a frame building, 22’x30’, set on a stone foundation, was erected. Sixteen pews were made by a Mr Carmichael at .50 cents each. These pews are still used in the sanctuary today. The arched windows of St David’s, crafted by Thomas McMurray, cost $2.50 per window.
It took many dedicated volunteers to make the church a reality. These included builders, and others who ran fundraising events to help pay building costs. The completion of the church was celebrated with a communion service conducted by Rev A. Findlay of Knox Presbyterian, Bracebridge.
The Ladies Aid held fundraising events and contributed money toward the bricking of the structure in 1911.
A much needed addition was completed in 1984, increasing the seating capacity in the sanctuary and adding, in the lower level a kitchen, washroom and furnace room. A beautiful stained glass window saved from the demolition of a local Anglican Church graces the wall behind St David’s pulpit. Care has been taken to preserve many original features of the church.
St David’s Women’s Missionary Society was formed in 1938 and has a tradition of helping fund missions abroad and locally.
During its years, St David’s has mentored many students from Presbyterian theological colleges. At the present, worship services are conducted by retired ministers and guest speakers, each of whom brings wisdom, love and experience to enrich the life of the church.
In all its history, St David’s Church with its adjacent cemetery has been self-sufficient – quite an accomplishment for a small rural church!
Through the grace of God St David’s Church will continue to serve its community in faith.