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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. Bathurst Pastoral Charge is comprised of First United Church, Bathurst and South Tetagouche United Church in Gloucester County, New Brunswick.
Rev. Michael Pickles preached his first sermon in Bathurst in August 1930. In 1838, Bathurst and New Bandon Methodist Circuit contained the appointments of Bathurst, Salmon Beach, New Bandon, and “the Capes.” Tetagouche was added around 1841 and its building was constructed in 1861. In 1845, the Bathurst and New Bandon circuit was expanded considerably. The area served not only included Bathurst, Salmon Beach, New Bandon, and Tetagouche, but also Jacquet River, Eel River Dalhousie, Campellton, and Upsalquitch. The circuit, however, after 1853, was confined to the immediate area of Bathurst including Salmon Beach, New Bandon, and Tetagouche.
The Trinity Methodist sanctuary was built in 1832 on Murray Avenue. It was replaced by a new church on the same property in 1875. The old building was dismantled in 1882. A parsonage was built in 1911 and the church was remodeled and enlarged in 1917.
A site for a Methodist church building in South Tetagouche was chosen in 1861. Construction was begun in 1861 and the church finished sometime shortly after. A new church was built in 1883 and the former building was demolished on August 27, 1894. In 1925, the Methodist church in South Tetagouche became South Tetagouche United Church.
In 1925, the Bathurst Methodist Circuit became part of the United Church of Canada. The church in Bathurst became known as Trinity United Church.
St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church began when a group of settlers met in Bathurst in 1829 to apply to the Glasgow Colonial Committee of the Church of Scotland for assistance in obtaining a minister and opening a subscription list to build a church. The building was completed in 1839 and called St. Luke's. In 1840, the Glasgow Colonial Society appointed Rev. George McDonnell to St. Luke’s. A manse was built in 1848 and a new manse was built in 1911.
The church building was destroyed by fire on January 3, 1915. It was replaced by a new building two years later on St. Patrick Street. Messrs Chappell Hunter were the architects.
In 1925, St. Luke's Presbyterian Church, by a large vote, decided in favour of Church Union, thus becoming, along with Trinity Church, part of the United Church of Canada. St. Luke’s United and Trinity United were merged on July 4, 1941 to become First United Church.
Worship services were held in St. Luke’s United while Trinity United became the centre for Sunday School, midweek groups, funerals and other service functions.
Belledune was an appointment of Bathurst Pastoral Charge until 1967. Middle River was a preaching point from 1942 until 1950. Bass River was a preaching point from 1942 to 1964.
In 1944, the Board decided to sell St. Luke’s manse situated on St. Patrick Street. In 1946, the land on which Camp Elm Tree is situated was purchased.
In 1947 the Donald Eddy Memorial Hall was built on a separate site to provide much-needed facilities for education and recreation. It was officially opened on December 1. 1947.
By November 15, 1998, the original church structures were demolished and a new $1.4 million building, attached to the hall, was dedicated as First United Church.