Records indicate that Brookfield was named by Alexander Sutherland who was pastor of a church here in 1855. The first minister inducted into the Brookfield Presbyterian Church was Rev. William Ross in 1860. The present building was dedicated to the Glory of God on August 4, 1895. It was moved to its present site in October 1997 from near the corner. At that time the church hall was built, complete with kitchen, washrooms, space for Sunday School and a community hall.
The original land was donated by Thomas William Johnston and additional land was donated in 1997 by the Bert Dykerman family.
The present church building was built by Schurman, Clark & Company. In 1997 the church was moved by PD Construction and the new portion was built by D&C Construction with Wayne Houston doing plumbing and Don MacLeod the wiring.
In the early years the congregation was bilingual with Gaelic and English. In 1895 the pews were purchased by families but were deemed free in 1921.
The pump organ, which is still used by times, was presented in the early 1900’s by Donald E. and Neil Campbell. Prior to that, psalms and hymns were started by a presenter. There is now a keyboard which was purchased by the congregation in 1999. Electricity was introduced in 1939 and in 1957 the furnace was converted to burn oil.
There is a Gaelic Bible dated 1872 – a King James version with Rev. George Millar’s name 1895 – 1907; another presented by Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Hyndman in 1900; and the present pulpit Bible was donated in 1955 by Mr. and Mrs. Brenton Dollar.
The church is equipped with TV & VCR, overhead projector with screen, sound system, in-floor heating and a hot air furnace. The Brookfield Church has been associated with various other churches throughout its history; at present the Pastoral Charge is comprised of Brookfield, Hunter River and Glasgow Road.
Some of the extra activities of the church congregation are: Vacation Bible School which is hosted every third year in rotation with Hunter River and Glasgow Road; and the World’s Day of Prayer which is hosted every five years.
The mission group has functioned consistently since 1910, and in conjunction with three other churches hosted the Atlantic Mission Society’s 128th Annual Meeting in September 2004, the first time in recent history that a rural pastorate had hosted the annual meeting.
Pastoral Charge services are hosted on special occasions such as Christmas Eve, Easter Sunday and once in January 2005 for a Tsunami Relief Fundraiser. The most recent event was the hosting of Karuna Roy, a speaker from North India. The A.M.S., Sunday School and Youth Group meet on a regular basis. Bible Studies for the three congregations are also held.
Glasgow Road Presbyterian Church History
The Glasgow Road Presbyterian Church is located on the Glasgow Road, Route 224, in the rural community of Ebenezer. The congregation is made up of 60 communicant members from 28 households, coming from Ebenezer, Wheatley River, Oyster Bed Bridge, Brackley Beach and North River. The people of our church are mainly farmers, business owners, skilled labourers, professionals and homemakers. There are a number of retired persons and students active in the church as well.
The history of the Glasgow Road Presbyterian Church began in the early 1800’s with people meeting in homes in the Rustico – Portage area. The first church was located adjacent to the Portage Cemetery in Brackley Beach. Although Portage Cemetery is considered a community and non-denominational cemetery it is still owned by the Glasgow Road Church. When the second church was built the location was changed to the present site on Glasgow Road. It was completed in 1876. The first service in the present structure was held in 1899. In 1983 a hall was added to the church and in 1993 a further addition added a bathroom and kitchen.
In the beginning, when the people met in homes, the services and prayer meetings were conducted by the Rev. Donald McDonald, a Church of Scotland minister. The congregation remained Church of Scotland until 1934 when a loose alliance was formed with the Brookfield Charge of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. In 1938 Glasgow Road officially became a member, along with Brookfield, Hunter River and Hartsville. Hartsville withdrew in 1981.
Over the years the ministry has been provided by ordained ministers, ordained missionaries, lay ministers and student ministers.
Music has always played an important role in church worship. Up until 1939 there wasn’t any musical instrument in the church. The hymns were started by a precentor. Today we have an organ and an electric piano. There has been a choir for many years and there is also a Praise Band. Evening song services are held occasionally.
Throughout the years there have been various organized groups and activities: Sunday School, Daily Vacation Bible School, Canadian Girls in Training, Young Peoples Society, Children of the Church, Women’s (Atlantic) Mission Society. Today there is an active Sunday School and Atlantic Mission Society. The three churches work together for VBS and Youth Groups.
Hunter River Presbyterian Church History
The Hunter River Presbyterian Church congregation was formed and became part of the Brookfield, Hunter River and New Glasgow Charge in 1886. The congregation met at various places within the community until the present church was built in 1889. The church was officially opened in January 22, 1890. The church hall was constructed in 1979 – 1980.
At present there are approximately 30 families in the congregation. Most of these families live within the surrounding area, however some people, although living outside the area, continue to attend the church where they attended while growing up in the community.
The members and adherents of the congregation are business owners, professionals, skilled labourers, retired persons and students.
Over the years there have been a number of groups associated with the church: Sunday School, Nursery School, Atlantic Mission Society and Church Choir. There is also Vacation Bible School and Bible Study which are a joint group with Brookfield and Glasgow Road.
The church is well maintained by an active Board of Managers. The building is equipped with a sound system, television, VCR, over-head projector, organ and electric piano.
Music, and in particular the church choir, has always been important to our worship. During special services (joint with the other two churches) we often have a joint choir with choir members from all three churches taking part.
The Sessions of the three churches meet regularly as a Joint Session. This encourages us to work together as a Charge while still allowing us to function as three separate and distinct churches. We usually meet several times annually for joint services which more recently have been held at Brookfield Church which is the largest of the three churches. These services include Christmas Eve, Easter and other special services.
A more detailed history…
Hunter River church is supported by donations from the congregation which include two fundraising events annually. One of these events is held on the last Saturday in May – lobster and ham take out dinners. They are pre-sold and delivered to the door in the surrounding communities. This is a very successful event as the church has served as many as 850 dinners. This is a time where the congregation comes together and works very hard but thoroughly enjoys it! The other event, usually held in the fall, varies from a supper to a concert to a fashion show. The church is supportive of missions and also supports Camp Keir annually.
This Church was built in 1889 on land donated by James Patterson. It was officially opened on Jan. 22, 1890. Rev. A.A. MacKenzie a minister in Brookfield at the time motivated this building but due to ill health took a couple years off and came back as their minister from 1893 -1895. The first minister was Rev. James MacLennon. The ceiling was right to the roof. It was later lowered to make it easier to heat. At this time the pulpit was at the back of the church or what they called the front, by the doors where we come in. There were red window panes where the Memorial Stained Glass Windows is now. They were placed there by Mr and Mrs Vernon Noye as a Memorial in 1992. It had coal stoves and kerosene lamps on the wall. In 1919, they had Socials to put in electricity which cost $173.15. The light bill for the year was $10.20
It is believed that other Christian ministers or Laymen held services in the Orange Hall or a building later known as Coles Restaurant before that.
Mr Richard Bagnall was one of the residents who assisted in the building of the church. His wife was the first person buried in the cemetery. Her tombstone is just behind the church.
1904, was the first wedding, the daughter of Mr and Mrs George MacLeod, Miss Mamie MacLeod married Ernest Ellis.
Even though the Church was dedicated in 1890 a long period passed before any Elders were elected. The first Session Records found are in 1902.
In 1910, they hired a Janitor to light the stoves and lamps, scrub the church four times a year, sweep and dust every two weeks and clear away the snow for $15 a year. There is no information how long this went on but in 1980 Families were asked to volunteer to do janitorial duties for a month each year. In 1962 a furnace was donated by Wes Rollings.
In 1922 a committee was appointed to solicit subscriptions to buy a Memorial Tablet to name our soldiers who went to fight in the War. This Tablet used to be at the front of the church with the flags, now it is in the entrance. In 2003 the Veteran’s Monument was erected on the Church property.
In 1938 they celebrated their 48th Anniversary. Miss Janie Patterson donated tapestry for the choir and pulpit areas. The collection was $36 for the two services. In 1940, the 50th Anniversary was celebrated with two Communion Services.
In the early years, the Congregation had no Communion Set. One had to be borrowed from Brookfield, so in 1953 Mrs. A.W. Stewart donated our first Communion Set in memory of her husband who was an Elder for many years. In about 2000 when the First Christian Congregational Church on PEI closed in Breadalbane, they gave us our second Communion Set.
A Young Peoples Group started in 1949 and went for about 12 years. Sunday School was revived in 1968 and has continued ever since. Since about 1999 it has been held during the church service.
In 1955 the Vestry was built to make it more convenient for the choir.
In 1957 the church underwent renovations inside. Two large windows were removed and a large window with coloured panes was installed behind the pulpit. These were covered over and a Cross put there in 2001. They had 3 services, two services with Communion, at which 140 took communion. Rev. Blaikie had the morning and evening services and Mr. Burton Smith, the student minister, had the afternoon service. The collection amounted to $200.
In 1978 we got a Canada Works grant to fix up the walls around the furnace, shingle the west side of the roof, paint the interior and exterior of the church, lay new carpet. Total cost $11,980. The light fixtures were placed in memory of James Andrews Sr. who was an Elder for 47 years. They were replaced in 2006 and rededicated by his 12 Grandchildren. Two services were held, one conducted by Kent Burdette and the evening service by Rev. Clair MacLeod. A Hammond Organ was dedicated in memory of Robert Toombs by his parents George and Millie Toombs and his brothers. It was replaced at our 100th Anniversary. In 1999 a piano was purchased.
On Aug. 11th, 2002, at the wishes of John VanEwyk before his death, the Family donated his Yamaha organ in his memory.
In 1979 with another Canada Works Grant, the sod was turned to build a church hall, (25 X 40 ft) for $28,805. Cupboards were built in the kitchen and a chemical toilet was put in. A toilet and basin were installed in 1996. A hot air furnace was installed.
In 1985, the short pews from the front were removed, the Altar was extended across the front of the sanctuary and ceiling fans were installed. In 1989 electric candles were placed on each window sill for the Christmas Season.
In 1990 we celebrated our 100th Anniversary with Rev. Donald Nicholson. Two additional services were held in the summer with Rev. Clair MacLeod and Rev. Peter Ruddell, former student ministers leading the services. Roma Andrews had written the church history and had some for sale.
In 2005 we celebrated our 100th Anniversary with Rev. Gordon Matheson, who also celebrated our 105th Anniversary in 2010.
In 1985 the Joint Choir of the three congregations presented a Cantata called “They Will Know Us by Our Love” under the direction of Allison Stewart. In 1996 under the direction of Carolyn Bertram they presented an Easter Cantata “Sacrifice of Glory”. They have been many faithful choir members over the years. One was Kent Smith’s Grandmother, Bertha Smith who was a member for over sixty years. Organist, Carolyn Bertram followed in the footsteps of her Great Grandmother, Mrs Bellinda Andrews, who was organist in the 1940’s and 50’s. Carolyn started being our organist in 1992 and came back full time after University.
June 1996 the 122nd General Assembly met in Charlottetown. Twenty delegates came to our worship service. Rev. Mark Buell was our minster. Rev. Stanley Self, who was a student here in 1951, had the service.
Sept. 24th – 26th, 2004, the 128th Annual Meeting of the AMS for the Atlantic Provinces met in the Brookfield Church hosted by Glasgow Road, Hartsville, Hunter River and Brookfield. This was the first time it was held in a country church. Our Society started back in 1905 under a different name.
In 2006 a foundation was put under the church, a basement entry, wheel chair ramp and landscaping was done with a loan from the Presbyterian Church Lending Fund. In 2009 the parking lot was paved.
We started having Lobster and Ham take out meals in 1982 which is one of our big fund raisers. In 1991 we had a concert to raise money to pay for the manse built in the fall of 1987, Fashion Shows and a few suppers held in the Fall. In 2006 we had the first Advent Tree Lighting Service.
Over the years we have had more students and supply ministers than ministers. We were blessed to have Rev. Beth Mattinson as our minister in 2005.
In June 1987 we supported the opening of the new Camp Keir at Canoe Cove.
In 1988 the Brookfield Charge built a Manse on the Colville Road in Brookfield.
The Hunter River WMS was first mentioned in 1905. It was called WFHMS, Women’s Foreign and Home Mission Society. The name changed in 1915 to WMS, Women’s Mission Society. In 1988 the name was changed again to AMS, Atlantic Mission Society. They have bought supplies for the church and hall but their main purpose is Missions. They have had bake sales, catered to a meal, Thank Offering Services and at present they have a Special Day Box in the Church which on the last Sunday Service of the month, anyone who had a birthday, anniversary or a special day can put in a donation. Many faithful members have been made Life Members. Mary Bertram was President of PEI AMS Presbyterial for a two year term from 1999 – 2001. Janet MacPherson was Secretary from 2001 – 2008 and Shirley Andrews became Treasurer in 2001.