Fonds PC-100 - Parrsboro-Port Greville-Advocate Pastoral Charge

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Parrsboro-Port Greville-Advocate Pastoral Charge

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  • Multiple media

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on contents of fonds.

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MCA PC-100

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  • 1824-2009 (Creation)
    Parrsboro-Port Greville-Advocate Pastoral Charge

Physical description

3.73 m of textual records
3 microfilm reels
8 photographs

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([ca. 1827] -)

Administrative history

A pastoral charge is a grouping of churches termed "preaching points" or "appointments," 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.

Parrsboro-Port Greville-Advocate Pastoral Charge is located in Cumberland County, Nova Scotia. Preaching points are at Parrsboro (Trinity United), Port Greville (Grace United), and Advocate Harbour (Advocate United).

In the early days of Methodism in Cumberland County, Nova Scotia, Parrsboro was linked with Maccan in a circuit which covered over one hundred miles (including Parrsboro, Maccan, Maccan Mountain, West Brook, Amherst, Head of Amherst, Shinimiacas, Cross Roads, Woodstock, Diligent River, Fox River, New Canann, Advocate Harbour, and Five Islands).

When the Methodists built their first chapel in the Parrsboro area, probably around 1827, it was located about two miles from the town, its site now identified by the old Methodist cemetery. The manse was purchased in 1856. The first Methodist church in the town of Parrsboro was built on a lot purchased from Edward and Jonathan Vickery. The church was dedicated in June 5, 1859 and stood on the corner of Chapel and Spring Streets. The congregation soon outgrew this church and on August 1, 1897 a new building was dedicated.

Port Greville was originally known as Ratchford River. The name was changed to Port Greville in 1865. The Methodist Church in Port Greville was part of a circuit comprising Amherst, Maccan, Southampton, Parrsboro and Advocate. When settled ministry began in 1858, the circuit comprised Parrsboro, Diligent River and Port Greville. In 1894, the church building was moved to a new location. On May 24, 1898, the cornerstone of a new building was laid and it was dedicated on July 9, 1900. In 1899, Port Greville became a separate circuit with preaching points at Diligent River, Port Greville and Ward's Brook.

Advocate Methodist circuit was formerly part of the extensive Parrsbaro and Maccan circuit. In 1839, a Methodist Society was established in Advocate Harbour by Rev. William Wilson and meetings were held in the old school house. A site for a building was purchased in 1856 from Justice Bigelow of Cornwallis, and a church building was opened in 1858. Advocate became a separate circuit in 1867 consisting of Advocate Harbour, Spencer’s Island, Apple River, and Brookville. Allenville became part of the circuit in 1882, Fraserville in 1888, and New Salem in 1895. Brookville was moved to the Port Greville circuit in 1896. Regular services were also held at Cape d’Or from 1902-1907 but these were discontinued when the copper mine ceased to operate. In 1925, the Methodist Church became part of the United Church of Canada.

The cemetery at Advocate Harbour was in use from 1822-1876.

The Presbyterians were also active in Parrsboro and built a church in 1849. The congregation was known as St. James. Around 1881, the congregation began to raise funds for a new building. The foundation of the church was laid in 1882 and the new church building was dedicated on March 31, 1885. A church was also built at Diligent River on October 21, 1888.

In 1925, all Congregational and Methodist Churches in Canada united with a majority of Presbyterian Churches in Canada to create The United Church of Canada. A meeting to discuss the union of St. James’ Presbyterian and Grace Methodist was held in the August 25, 1925 of 1925 and a couple months later, the first congregational meeting of the Advocate Pastoral Charge was held on September 23, 1925. The congregation decided to use the former Methodist church as their meeting place. The new congregation was called Trinity United Church.

Port Greville Methodist Church also became part of the United Church in Canada in 1925 as its own Pastoral Charge. In 1948, Port Greville became part of the Parrsboro Pastoral Charge.
In 2005-2006, Advocate began a trial amalgamation with Parrsboro-Port Greville Pastoral Charge and eventually disbanded on December 31, 2009 to become part of Parrsboro-Port Greville-Advocate Pastoral Charge on January 1, 2010.

Advocate Pastoral Charge was located in Advocate Harbour in Cumberland County, Nova Scotia. Historically the Pastoral Charge included preaching places at Allenville, Apple River, Fraserville, New Salem and Spencer’s Island.

In 1972, the six points on the Pastoral Charge were amalgamated to three (Advocate Harbour, New Salem, and Spencer’s Island) and services ceased at Allenville, Apple River, and Fraserville, United Church services ceased at Spencer’s Island Union Church in 2002.

A United Church congregation worshipped at Apple River Union Church from 1925 until 1972 when the six points on the Advocate Pastoral Charge were amalgamated to three (Advocate Harbour, New Salem, and Spencer’s Island), The church was sold on September 30, 1971.

Allenville was a preaching point on the Advocate Pastoral Charge from 1925 until 1972. Services continued here until May 1973 when the six points on Advocate Pastoral Charge were amalgamated to three (Advocate Harbour, New Salem, and Spencer’s Island)

A union church was erected in Fraserville on land deeded from William Grant in 1891. Participating denominations were Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist and Anglican. The deed was not registered until 3 July 1894 and the building was erected by builder George Crowe at approximately the same time. After 1925, Fraserville was part of the Advocate Pastoral Charge. Services ceased at Fraserville in 1972.

Custodial history

Records were received from the Parrsboro-Port Greville Pastoral charge (except Parrsboro-Maccan circuit book) in 1998 (accessions 98-055, 98-082) and 2007 (accession 07-003). Annual reports are received periodically from the United Church head offices in Toronto. It is unknown when the Parrsboro-Maccan circuit book was received in the Archives other than that it was after 1964. The majority of records from Advocate Pastoral Charge were received from that Pastoral Charge in 2003 (accession 03-045). MF-504 was purchased from the Nova Scotia Archives in 2006 (accession 06-007) and MF-536 to MF-537 were purchased from the Nova Scotia Archives in 2012 (accession 12-035).

Scope and content

Fonds contains baptism/marriage/burial records, membership records, financial records, minutes, reports, photographs, legal documents, correspondence, and newspaper clippings, and published and unpublished histories from Advocate Pastoral Charge, Parrsboro-Port Greville Pastoral Charge, Parrsboro-Port Greville-Advocate Pastoral Charge and their Methodist and Presbyterian predecessors.

Microfilm MF-504 contains minutes and financial records of the Board of Trustees for the Methodist Cemetery at Spencer’s Island and Allenville (1884-1929, 1936-1945). Microfilms MF-536 to MF-537 contain baptism/marriage/burial records, membership records, financial records, minutes, photographs, legal documents, newspaper clippings, and histories from Advocate Methodist Circuit and Advocate Pastoral Charge.

Fonds is composed of the following sous-fonds:
Parrsboro-Port Greville Pastoral Charge records
St. James Presbyterian Church (Parrsoboro) records
Parrsboro Methodist Circuit records
Trinity United Church (Parrsboro) records
Port Greville Methodist Circuit records
Grace United Church (Port Greville) records
Advocate Harbour Pastoral Charge records
Advocate Methodist Circuit records
Apple River Union Church records

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The majority of records were received from the Parrsboro-Port Greville Pastoral Charge and the Advocate Pastoral Charge.


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Many of the records are on microfilm at the Nova Scotia Archives.

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Further accruals are expected.

Physical description

There are five photographs of stained glass windows at Trinity United Church, Parrsboro, colour, 15 x 10 cm, photographed by Helm Designer Glass. There is one photograph of the exterior of Advocate United Church, b&w, 11 x 5 cm, photographed by Watson Weaver, Parrsboro, N.S. There is one photograph of the exterior of Advocate United Church, colour, photographed by Judith Colwell. There is one photograph of the exterior of Spencer’s Island Union Church, colour, photographed by Judith Colwell.

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Microfilm is 35 mm.

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