MURRAY BAY PROTESTANT CHURCH

CHURCH HISTORY

This history was written on the occasion of the 125th Anniversary Year, in 1992.

Since 1867 Sunday Services have been held in the Murray Bay Protestant Church. Situated on the north shore of the St Lawrence River in the village of Pointe-au-Pic, the first wooden building remains, covered with stone, full of memories, loved and cared for by generation after generation of families.

In about 1861, English-speaking Protestants who were spending the summer at Murray Bay began to meet together for worship. Four years later, members of the Church of England (Anglican) and the Presbyterian Church of Scotland decided that it had become necessary to erect a church of their own.

The site was provided by the Nairn family and in the summer of 1866 Hubert Warren, described as a "navigator and carpenter", contracted to construct the building for a contract price of $400; sashes, doors, etc. cost an additional $225. The Church`s original size was fifty feet by thirty feet with a chancel fifteen feet wide and eight feet deep.

The Church was completed and opened for religious services in 1867 and since then it has continued to hold services during the summer months. For many years there were both Anglican and Presbyterian services.

Foremost in the affairs of the church during these early years were the Rev. Dr Daniel L. Wilkie, the Rev. Dr Alexander B. Mackay, the Honorable Samuel H. Blake, and Dr Daniel M. Stimson. In 1889 Wm. Edward Duggan, Esq., who had inherited the Nairn property in Murray Bay, made a gift of the land to the Church Trustees, and the Church was enlarged the following year.

A programme of major improvements was started in 1909 when the Church members, under the leadership of the Trustees, Mr Justice John M. Harlan of the United States Supreme Court and Robert Shaw Mintum, Esq., decided to encase it in stone while preserving unchanged the natural wood interior. This work was carried out by the architect and contractor Charles Warren, a nephew of the original builder, Hubert Warren.

During the ensuing years the appearance of the Church was enhanced with stained-glass windows, an exterior clock, bronze torches and hand rails at the entrances, stone street walls, and trees, shrubs and vines in the church-yard, and also many other fine memorials.

Prominent among the Church leaders at that time were William Howard Taft, Esq., President and subsequently Chief Justice of the United States, and the Rev. Professor George M. Wrong, a leading Canadian historian. Since then the Church's most active Trustees and Treasurers have included Messrs. F. Wilson Fairman, Hartland M. Paterson, Charles P. Taft, Erskine Buchanan, Q.C., and John N. Cole.

ln 1967 members celebrated the hundredth anniversary of the opening of the Church. Shortly afterwards the provincial highway was rebuilt, taking some of the Church front land and the stone street wall. Ten years ago, exterior floodlights were installed and these have given the Church building its pleasing appearance after dark.

Those who loved to worship here during these 125 years have passed on to us a fine house of prayer. We hope and pray that the same happy services, simple, hearty and reverent, may continue with God's blessing to influence us for good, now and into the future.

 Chronology  |  People