Mount Stewart-Morell-St. Peter's Bay Pastoral Charge

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Mount Stewart-Morell-St. Peter's Bay Pastoral Charge

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[ca. 1806] -

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.

Mount Stewart-Morell-St. Peter's Bay Pastoral Charge is on Prince Edward Island. Preaching points are at Mount Stewart (St. John's), Morell (Peter Gordon Memorial) and St. Peter's Bay.

Through the efforts of Rev. James MacGregor, the Presbytery of Nova Scotia set up the first official Presbyterian congregation on the island in 1806. Prior to this, services had been held here sporadically between since 1744. This pastoral charge consisted of Covehead, St. Peter’s, and Fortune. In this same year, Rev. Peter Gordon was ordained and inducted into the pastoral charge. One of the first Presbyterian churches, known as “The Barren’s Church” was constructed in St. Peter’s Harbour in 1806. A second church was constructed in 1812 on the site of the present-day Midgell Cemetery.

By July 1843, it was decided to divide the large congregation into two pastoral charges: West St. Peter’s and Covehead became one pastoral charge and East St. Peter’s and Bay Fortune formed a second pastoral charge. Due to rapid growth, West St. Peter’s was separated from Covehead on July 28, 1852. Six years later, in 1858, Bay Fortune and Souris were separated from East and West St. Peter’s to form a new pastoral charge. On July 7, 1859, West. St. Peter’s and Mount Stewart were separated from East St. Peter’s to form another new pastoral charge.

Mount Stewart Presbyterian Church was erected in 1853 and was based on plans which had been used in the construction of the Presbyterian Church at West River, Nova Scotia. The plans were brought to Mount Stewart by Mr. James Ross, a school teacher, and later proprietor of the Ross Hotel in the village. In 1875, the building was augmented by adding 24 feet to the end of the building for 30 additional pews.

St. Peter's Bay Presbyterian Church was erected in 1890. Despite the protests of the people of Savage Harbour who would have to travel farther to church, a new church was built at West St. Peter's in 1888. This church was closed in 1896. On August 18, 1889, another new Presbyterian church was dedicated at Marie. Timber from the old Midgell church (built in 1812) was used in the construction of the new church. By this time, the St. Peter’s Bay Presbyterian congregation consisted of three churches: St. Peter’s Presbyterian Church, Marie Presbyterian Church, and Greenwich and Cable Head Presbyterian Church. .

In 1859, Mount Stewart is named on a circuit to be visited from Charlottetown. In 1871, the Methodist church at Cranberry Point was hauled to a site in Mount Stewart, and was later relocated to a site across the street from the Presbyterian Church. Mount Stewart Methodist Circuit joined the United Church of Canada in 1925 and the church building was used by the non-concurring Presbyterian congregation. The Mount Stewart Methodist Circuit included Mount Stewart, Marie, Dunstaffnage, and Black River.
The Dunstaffnage church was rebuilt and dedicated in 1916.
By vote of 121 to 71 it was decided in 1925 to join with the United Church of Canada, and the Presbyterian Church became the United Church building. The old Methodist church and parsonage went to the non-concurring Presbyterians, who called their church St. David's.

In 1925, St. Peter’s Bay Pastoral Charge consisted of the preaching points of Greenwich, St. Peter’s, and Marie while the Mount Stewart Pastoral Charge contained the preaching points of Mount Stewart, Bristol and the former Black River Methodist Church which entered union as the Donaldston United Church.

The Greenwich and Cable Head United Church was closed in 1960 and members joined the St. Peter’s Bay United Church for worship. On 1 July 1961, Donaldston, Mount Stewart and West St. Peter's and St. Peter's Bay were amalgamated to form the current Pastoral Charge. The churches at Donaldston and West St. Peter's were closed and a new church, Peter Gordon Memorial Church, was built at Morell on January 6, 1963. The Donaldston people worshipped at Mount Stewart. The Donaldston church building was dismantled in 1977.

In 1993, the name of the pastoral charge was changed to Mount Stewart-Morell-St. Peter’s Bay Pastoral Charge.

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