Alberton-Elmsdale Pastoral Charge

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Alberton-Elmsdale Pastoral Charge

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Dates of existence

1829 -

History

A pastoral charge is a grouping of churches termed "preaching points" -- each with separate names and governing boards or sessions. These churches are served by one minister. The pastoral charge title usually reflects the breadth of the geographic area encompassing the charge.

Alberton-Elmsdale Pastoral Charge is on Prince Edward Island. Preaching points are at Alberton (Gordon Memorial) and Elmsdale.

Presbyterian ministers were visiting the Alberton area as early as 1826. In 1829, Presbyterian families in Alberton petitioned Prince Edward Island Presbytery for regular supply and William McGregor began to visit the area twice year, covering five Sundays. In 1831, 14 families decided to organize themselves into a distinct pastoral charge and construction of a church began in that same year with the exterior of the building being completed in 1833. By 1835, the church building was in use. The first settled minister to the charge was Rev J.C. Sinclair who arrived in 1843. Construction began on a larger building in 1854 but it was destroyed by fire just before completion and construction began on a new building (The Old Dock Church) was completed in 1856.

In 1865, West Cape, Brae, and Campbellton separated from Alberton to form a new congregation. Almost 20 years later, in 1881, Montrose, Elmsdale, and Tignish separated from the congregation at Alberton to become a separate pastoral charge.

The first Presbyterian church in Montrose was built in 1885. There was also a Methodist church across the river from the present side. Anticipating church union, the Methodist Church was sold to the Anglicans, whose church had burned, in 1924. The Presbyterian Church became the United Church building in 1925. That church building burned in May 1944 and a new building was opened on November 11, 1945. Regular services in the church ended in 1969 with services being held a couple of times in the summer.

In 1859, the Methodists in Bedeque recommended that Rev Robert Wilson, a missionary, be sent to the area along the coast between West Cape and North Cape, A year later, the area was formed into the Elmsdale Methodist Mission with Rev. William C. Brown overseeing 13 preaching places. In 1863, the West Cape Methodist Circuit, as it was then known, was divided with a separate preacher being procured for Cascumpec, Kildare, and Tignish. In 1870, the West Cape Methodist Circuit was renamed Alberton Methodist Circuit. From 1902-1925, West Devon which is now part of O'Leary Pastoral Charge was part of the Alberton Circuit. At the time of church union, Alberton Methodist Circuit contained the appointments of Alberton, Montrose, Miminigash, Cascumpec, and West Devon.

Elmsdale became part of the Alberton Methodist Circuit in 1870. Land for construction of a Methodist church in Elmsdale church was obtained in 1880 and a church was built in 1884. The next year the Presbyterian Church purchased the church building from the Methodists.
A church was built in Cascumpec in 1872.

The church in Miminegash began as a Bible Christian preaching station in 1836 and construction was started on a chapel on Lot 7 in 1845. In 1881, both the Bible Christians and the Methodists built new churches. The two denominations were merged into one in 1884. Twelve Bible Christian families went to the Presbyterian Church and the Bible Christian building was used by them until it was sold in 1916.

A church was built in Campbellton circa 1862. Until that time, the Methodist families in Campbellton walked to West Point to church (22 kilometers).

In 1925, the Congregational, Methodist and most Presbyterian Churches were united into one denomination -- the United Church of Canada. Upon church union, Montrose Pastoral Charge contained the preaching points of Elmsdale, Campbellton, Miminegash, and Montrose and Alberton Pastoral Charge consisted of the preaching points of Cascumpec, Tignish, and Alberton. The Methodist church in Alberton was moved to another lot and became the church home of the Presbyterians who did not enter union. The Old Dock Church was moved to the former site of the Methodist Church and became Alberton United Church.

In 1966, Alberton and Montrose Pastoral Charges united to share a minister. This worked so well that the charges amalgamated on 1 July 1969. In 1970, the congregations at Alberton, Montrose, and Cascumpec united to become known as Gordon Memorial and Elmsdale, Miminegash and Campbellton became known as Elmsdale. The Alberton Church is designated "Gordon Memorial" in honour of missionaries to New Hebrides (Erromanga) -- the Reverends George N., and wife Ellen, and James D. Gordon who were martyred.

A union church of Episcopalian, Baptist, Presbyterian, and Methodists was opened in 1861. Twenty years later the Presbyterians joined the pastoral charge of Montrose and Elmsdale and a building was constructed in 1893 on land donated by Mrs. Elizabeth Haywood. Upon church union, Tignish became part of Alberton Pastoral Charge. The building was sold to the Village of Tignish on 5 December 1972 to be used as a museum. In 1979 the village sold the church.

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