Houses of Holy | St. John’s Anglican Church (1840)

Sitting quietly on Guelph Line, this small stone church is easily missed or thought that it is no longer an active church. But this historic church is one of the many churches along the main stretch of the former Nassagaweya Township.

St. John's Anglican Church (1840)
Graflex Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar-S 1:5.6/210 – Adox CHS 100 II @ ASA-100 – Adox Atomal 49 (Stock) 5:45 @ 20C

The first Anglican ministers began holding services through the township in 1842; these were often held in the homes of the congregant ministers or a local schoolhouse. In 1844, the congregation had grown enough to warrant the purchase of a lot from George Curry to serve the communities of Moffet, Haltonville and Campbellville communities. The lot, located at 10th Sideroad, would serve as a church and burial ground spot. The wooden frame church was completed that same year. Various saddlebag ministers served the parish until Rev. George Graham was assigned in the mid-1850s as a permanent rector. The simple wooden frame church could no longer support the congregation as the years progressed. Funds were raised to construct a new stone church. Local stone mason James Stokes oversaw the construction of the gothic revival church, and in 1871 the new St. John’s Parish was completed and dedicated. Rev Thomas Hall would be appointed rector of St. John’s and St. George’s in Lowville. The picturesque fence was added to the property in 1901, and a proper organ in 1906. A storm on 21 March 1913 nearly demolished the church. The storm tore the entire roof off and left the rear wall in a pile of rubble. Rather than tear their church down and start fresh, they began a multi-year restoration project while worshipping in the Campbellville Orange Hall. The project saw a new entrance, roof, rear wall, pews, organ and a beautiful pine ceiling. The second storm in 1919 delayed the project, but the congregation returned to their church in 1920. Memorial stained glass windows and a new oak altar were installed in the 1940s. A new parish hall opened in 1950. Through 2010 the entire sanctuary underwent restoration, including refinishing the pews and ceilings. Today the congregation remains a small but active rural parish and continues to be a two-point charge with St. George’s in Lowville.

I did not realise how busy the Guelph line was until I stood next to it with my camera. I set up my camera on the other side of the road and used my 210mm to fill the frame. Sadly, only the church’s front is visible, thanks to the growth of foliage. Overall this was an easy scene to the meter as the church offers up one giant grey card, but I did focus on the shadows created from the entrance and the central part of the building. Then it was a matter of waiting for traffic to die down. While the church doesn’t offer much, I’m happy with the frame.

If you wish to worship with this congregation, they will be happy to welcome you! Please check out the congregational website for details on attending services worship either in-person on online streaming!

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