Bobcaygeon-Providence Pastoral Charge
Lindsay Presbytery
Bay of Quinte Conference
The United Church of Canada

Written By



In this continuance of Trinity Church history, marking the 120th. Anniversary of the building of the first church in Bobcaygeon, we have dealt mainly with the physical aspects of progress over the years.  No doubt there are errors and omissions for which we ask your kindly forbearance.
We have not attempted to name those many heroes of faith, who have left their influence and impression on our lives, for which we thank God.
It is thus a challenge to those who remain to keep first and foremost in our objectives the real purpose of the church, to bring about the Kingdom of God on earth.

In the words of the writer of Hebrews:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of our faith.”

T. Clayton Taylor.

The people of Trinity Church, Bobcaygeon, have always cherished their heritage. Several times in the history of the congregation, its heritage has been recorded in printed form. Now, to commemorate the 120th. Anniversary of the building of the first Methodist church in Bobcaygeon, the Church board decided to produce this new and updated record of our history.
When the Board members wanted someone to write this new history, their obvious choice was Clayton Taylor. Clayton has been an active and faithful part of the leadership of the Bobcaygeon Pastoral Charge through more than half of its history. Baptized and  Confirmed in St. David’s Church, Clayton has been a member of the Trinity Choir, with a few periods of absence, since 1914. In 1943, he was appointed Recording Steward of the pastoral Charge, an office which he held until 1978. From 1954 until 1978, Clayton represented the Charge at Presbytery and Conference. Through the years he has served in many other ways as well, as a member of the Session, various committees of the Board and the 1978 Building Committee. Currently Clayton is secretary of the Combined Board, Honorary elder and back in the Choir praising god each Sunday.
With this history we give thanks for all that God has done through the life and work of faithful men and women in the Bobcaygeon area. We praise Him for those He has chosen, past and present, and for all that he promises and expects as we go forth, in the footsteps of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

(Rev. Ed. Bentley, October 1980)

The village of Bobcaygeon, surveyed by Thomas Need in 1832, is situated on three islands lying on the narrows between Sturgeon and Pigeon Lakes. It apparently received its name from an Indian source meaning rapids or running water.

It was in 1857 that Methodism began here. In that year, the Rev. James Ash, a saddleback preacher was in charge of the Bobcaygeon Mission, which extended to within four miles of Lindsay, east to Nogies Creek, north to Kinmount, and west to Fenelon Falls.

On May 15th., 1858, the first Quarterly Board Meeting was held for Bobcaygeon area of Mr. Ash’s parish, which included Dunsford. George Bick was elected Recording Steward; other members were Thomas Taylor, James Rapley, James Thurston. Seven ‘classes’ were formed each presided over by a leader – “the chosen men of God”. These classes were Bobcaygeon, Taylor’s, Thurston’s, Agnew’s, Bick’s, Ellis’s, Junkin’s. In 1858 other members were received; among them, Samuel McLelland, in whose home the first Sacrament of Communion was celebrated. That home also boasted the first oil lamp in Bobcaygeon. Samuel McLelland was also the first Sunday School Superintendent. Other class leaders and local Preachers were – William Cosh, John McFeeters and John Junkin.

In July 1858, Rev. John Dowler succeeded Mr. Ash, and it was during his pastorate that the original “Trinity” Church was built in 1860: a frame building seated with planks and lighted with candles. Thomas Taylor was the contractor, assisted by Wm. Kennedy, Wm. Robinson and Alex Trotter.

In 1861, Mr. Dowler’s parish had become so large that he was sent an assistant, a student, Nathaniel Burwash, who became a great educator and Chancellor of Victoria University. The Bobcaygeon Charge continued to have student assistants until 1915.

In 1874, the membership stood at two hundred and thirty-four, and Dunsford became a separate circuit. The original Methodist Church in Dunsford was built in that year. This building is the Church Hall currently being expanded. The Bobcaygeon Circuit then consisted of the following appointments; Bobcaygeon Bethel, Silver Lake, Lawson’s, McFeeters’, Ventress’s, Ingram’s, Bobcaygeon Road. Lawson’s became Eden; McFeeters’ – St. John’s; Ventress’s became Zion, Nogies Creek; Junkin’s Providence. Over a number of years, several churches were built to serve these outlying points. At one time there were four Methodist churches in North Verulam. Apparently, Bethel had the first church on the Bobcaygeon Mission, a log building known as Knox’s built in 1859. It was replaced in 1895 by the frame building which continued to be the worship center as part of the Bobcaygeon charge until 1915 when it was added to Fenelon Falls. The Zion Church at Nogies Creek was built in 1885 and closed in 1938. The Fairbairn Church, also known as Robinson’s, was also built in 1885 and closed in 1963. Providence Church was built in 1890 and services are still being held there. Eden Church was built in 1898, closed in 1958. St. John’s, South Verulam, was built in 1905 and closed in 1963. St. David’s, South Verulam, built in 1892 as part of the Dunsford circuit, was named after the patron saint of Wales by John Lewis, who gave the land on which it was built. Owing to decreasing numbers, the church was closed in 1928 with most of the members transferring to Bobcaygeon where the influence of that little church is still felt, as seven of the former and present elders claim St. David’s as their original church home. In almost all cases before these churches were built services were held in the schools or in private homes. The names of these country churches have been preserved in the present building by having the Sunday School classrooms named for them.

Perhaps here would be a good place to point out that several of these locations once served by the little churches have now become development areas for retired and retiring people who have transferred their membership from other centres and have greatly enriched our congregation both in number and in participation.

In 1879 the church in Bobcaygeon was enlarged by adding 15 feet to the length, a new porch added, new windows and frames, lath and plaster inside and brick veneer outside, and a new roof. A pulpit was installed and new pews purchased which are still in use in the gallery of the new church. The total cost of that renovation was one thousand dollars, half of which was borrowed at 8 1/2 % interest.

The records of that time show the first ladies organization. They met to plan ways and means to raise funds to furnish and decorate the church, which was done by holding socials in the homes at a charge of 15 cents. In this way over $100 was realized. According to information gleaned from Bethel records, a parsonage and stable were built in Bobcaygeon in 1859 before the church was built. However, in 1881 it was decided not to repair it but to build a new house, the cost not to exceed $750. John Kennedy was given the contract at $740 and two years later a new stable and woodshed were built. In 1892, the Trustees purchased a lot adjoining the church from Miss M. Cresswell for $200.

During the pastorate of Rev. H. W. Foley, the Sunday School Room was built in 1912 at a cost of $1,200. Miss E. McLelland, a daughter of the first superintendent donated $300 toward the cost. The Sunday School has played a very important part in the life of the Church, under the leadership of many devoted men and women. Following Mr. McLelland as superintendent, were Jas. A. Purdy, Geo. W. Taylor, Thomas Staples, Harry Van Oudenaren, Tommy Smith, Claude Junkin and the present leader, Robert Prescott.

Evangelistic Campaigns, were held in 1908 by Crossley and Hunter, in 1926 by Crossley and Leonard, and in 1939 by Gilbert and Leonard. In these revivals Christians were made and lives re-dedicated to the service of their Master.

Mention must be made of those who entered full-time service in the Ministry. The records give the names of six candidates for the Ministry. J. Roland Bick, a grandson of the first Recording Steward; W. J. D. Huston;
L. Hopkins; John Green; Frank Magson; David Staples, son of Joseph W. Staples, for many years an officer of Trinity. Rev. Frank Whitely, while not a Bobcaygeon resident, made his decision to enter the ministry while teaching school here. The ministry of Music has also been an important part of the Church’s history. Mrs. A. McIntyre, nee McLelland, was apparently the first organist. Other organists were Mrs. Sara (Wright) Nicholls, Miss Clara Dunn, Mrs. Ferne (Wright) Malcolm, George E. Richardson, and notable, Mrs. Florence Pardy from 1929 to 1961. Since then the position has been held by Glenn Taylor, Mrs. Ruby Smith, Mrs. Gertrude Goodham, Sharon Taylor and Mrs. Marjory Flynn, and our present very capable organist, James Dickson. Marion Dickson also does a splendid work with the Junior Choir. Perhaps some of our older members would want the Cosh family to be remembered in this history. They were a very musical family; at one time could produce a male quartet of Cosh Brothers. Space does not permit the mention of many others who so willingly gave of their talents in the Service of song.

Trinity Church has been re-decorated and renovated many times in 120 years, but the first in the memory of our older members was in 1919 when Rev. J. M. Whyte was pastor, with the Ladies Aid paying for the decoration; and in 1920 the Diamond Anniversary was celebrated on two successive Sundays, October 24h. and 31st.

In 1938, when Rev. James Leach was the minister, the Church was again re-decorated and a new lighting system installed, with the Women’s Association again paying for the decorating. Time and again the records show the Women’s Organizations carrying the financial load, coming to the aid of troubled treasurers with their hard-earned donations made mainly by serving dinners for weddings, different societies, and the Annual Dinner at the Bobcaygeon Fall Fair. Incidentally, that affair was first organized by the ladies of St. John’s, first in a tent, then in their own building, and as now in the Community centre. Early in the 1940’s the Communion Table was presented to the Church in memory of George Wilbert Taylor, Recording Steward for 33 years, Sunday School Superintendent for many years, Sunday School Teacher and representative to Presbytery.
Going back again to improvements – in 1944 the Memorial Windows were placed in the Sanctuary by several donors, chief of whom was Mrs. A. McIntyre. In 1946, the Sunday School Hall was extended by 20 feet, providing more classroom space, kitchen space, and more room for serving meals. In 1947, Dr. Thomas headed a campaign to purchase a Hammond electric organ. In 1958 washrooms were installed; also two oil furnaces to replace the old wood burner which had outlived its usefulness.

In 1964, when the Rev. John Braham was pastor, after experimenting with two morning services, it was realized that the present facilities were inadequate, and a campaign was organized to erect a new church. A building Committee was named with Dr. W. D. Thomas as Chairman, Ruth Thompson as Treasurer and Doreen White as Secretary. Rev. Stephen Wilks and Rev. John Wilson at Head Office came to lead the campaign, and pledges were made toward the cost of erecting a new building estimated at that time to be from $100,000 to $125,000. The Brotherston property adjoining the church was purchased; architectural plans were drawn up, and although Presbytery requested that 25% of the cost should be pledged before construction, it was felt that 50% should be the minimum. However, escalating construction costs and interest rates forced the congregation to delay plans and an Improvement Plan for both Sanctuary and Sunday School Hall was initiated.

In the meantime, after spending thousands of dollars in repairing and renovating the manse, it was still uncomfortable and inconvenient. Therefore, in 1975, after several bequests had been received, it was decided to build a new manse. By far the largest bequest came from the estate of Mrs. Mary E. Bick, widow of Rev. J. R. Bick, who donated her home on Riverside Drive to Trinity Church.
The old manse was offered for sale and a buyer agreed to move it the Eden Church property in North Verulam, which he also agreed to purchase. However, he was unable to finance the deals and after several weeks of frustration an disorder, the building was demolished and construction began on the new modern four-bedroom manse. While construction was still in progress, the new minister, Rev. Ed. Bentley arrived, and he and Mrs. Betty Bentley offered valuable suggestions which were incorporated in the building which was completed at no cost to the congregation and almost $300 of a balance which was turned over to the Manse Maintenance Fund. Since then other improvements have been made.
Also in 1976 it became necessary to purchase a new organ and in a short time the fund was oversubscribed, and the Baldwin Organ was bought and later installed in the new sanctuary.

In 1977, a survey was made of the area served by Trinity Church and questionnaires sent out which showed 40% of the residents claiming allegiance to the Untied Church and most expressing support of plans for enlarged facilities. An Architectural Committee was named with Jack Jacques as Chairman, whose experience in draftsmanship and construction made him the logical choice. The different organizations in the Church were asked to submit their needs and preferences in a new building. A number of churches were visited to see new construction as well as renovated buildings and many ideas and suggestions were brought to the attention of the Committee. Three priorities were emphasized: economy of construction ad maintenance; flexibility; and historicity; and with these in mind a Building Plan was presented to the Annual Congregational Meeting in January, 1978, and after thorough discussion it was approved almost unanimously by the large representation of the congregation. This Committee then contacted Ashley 333 Ltd. of Oshawa, experienced church contractors, and received an estimate of cost which seemed reasonable and also received permission from them to use as much volunteer labour as possible, which saved many thousand of dollars.
The old church hall was demolished, and construction began on the new building. Despite some unavoidable delays, the Sanctuary, though not entirely completed, was ready for the Dedication Service on November 5th. 1978.

A fund Raising Committee was named early in 1978 with Harry Van Oudenaren as Chairman, securing pledges of varying amounts over a period of 3 years. In the meantime, the original building fund from 1964 had been growing, and with the pledges coming in, most of the construction costs were paid as the accounts, came in, and by the time of the dedication Service, 70% of the objective of $240,000 had been received. Special mention must be made of the outstanding efforts of the United Church women to raise funds for the new church over the years.

With many people bringing forward their 1980 and 1981 pledges, by the time of the first anniversary of the Dedication the entire indebtedness was wiped out, with less than $1500 having been paid in interest. $5,000 was turned over to a new Property Fund for further needed expenditures, viz. landscaping and improvements to the Old Sanctuary. Some landscaping had already been done and plans are underway for other improvements.
It is impossible to record the hours of labour donated by so many of our Church Family, but we have tried to keep a record of special gifts made, in a Remembrance Book in the Narthex. Perhaps it would not be out of place here to name one special gift, the bequest of Mrs. Ellen Henderson, an Elder, Treasurer for twenty years, and a long-time member of the Choir. Her gift was used to install the organ speakers in the new sanctuary.
As we mark the 120th. Anniversary of the construction of the first Trinity church building, we praise God for all the people who have been a part of this Church Family through the years. Today, as it was 120 years ago, Trinity Church is a growing, active, caring Church Family working together to bring about the Kingdom of God here on earth.

Ministers of the Bobcaygeon Pastoral Charge


Ministers:                                    Student Assistants

1857             Rev. James Ash
1858-61        Rev. James Dowler         N. Burwash
1861-63       Rev. David Hardie           A. Hardie
1864-65       Rev. Joseph Stinson        W. R. Barker
1865-68       Rev. G. McNamara          J. H. Robinson

1868-70       Rev. Wm. Sheridan         W. Sloan,

D. Winters

1870-71       Rev. Wm. Richardson      Robert Oliver

1871-72       Rev. Robert Godfrey       W.J. M. Craig,

W. T. Dyer
1875-78       Rev. John A. Jewell         John Shelley
1881-84       Rev. W. H. Emsley          D. Balfour,

H. Houck,
J. Reed

1884-87       Rev. G. P. Steele            G. Carpenter,

A. L. Adam



1887-90       Rev. Andrew Wildon      G. Raley

G. Clare,
A. Malott

1890-92       Rev. Richard Duke         C. Adams,

F. J. Anderson
1892-94       Rev. Thomas Snowdon   J. Magahey

H. Rowe

P. Neville


1894-95       Rev. S. Sing                  G. Gardiner
1895-96       Rev. S. Malott               E. B. Cooke
1896-99       Rev. J. W. Shier             S. C. Moore

A. H. Foster

F. H. Howard

1899-02       Rev. G. Horton             E W. Morgan

G. R. Maunder

E. W. Tink
1902-05       Rev. James Batstone        A. Maunder

1905-07       Rev. C. H. CoonJ. O. Totten
C. Mark
1907-11       Rev. H. W. Foley                 A. L. Phelps
W. P. Woodgar
F. Staples
Mr. Biggs
1911-13       Rev. W. E. Honey               R. E. Stewart,
W. J. H. Smyth
1913-15       Rev. W. H. Webber             O. L. Hargrave
C. W. Wiley
J. E. Robeson

Single Circuit

1915-18                 Rev. P. H. Neville

1918-22                 Rev. J. M. Whyte

1922-27                 Rev. a. Carmon Hie

1927-31                 Rev. M. L. Hinton

1931-34                 Rev. G. W. Gardner

1934-38                 Rev. James Leach

1938-47                 Rev. C. C. Miller

1947-52                 Rev. S. Littlewood

1952-57                 Rev. R. C. White

1957-61                 Rev. R. C. Hopkins

1961-62                 Mr. W. M. Sedgewick

( Rev. J. F. Lane )

1962-69                 Rev. John Braham

(Rev. W. J. March)

1969-75                 Rev. A. M. Butler

1976-76                 Mr. G. F.  McAuslan
(Rev. W. J. March)

1976-83                 Rev. E. W. f. Bentley

1984-91                 Rev. Larry Wiegand

1991-92                 Rev. Walter Murray (supply)

1992-95                 Rev. Elizabeth Praamsma {Team}
1993-95                 Rev. Elijah Lumbama     {Ministry}

1995-96                 Rev. Bob Matheson (supply)

1996-98                 Rev. John McKibbon

1998-00                 Rev. Paul Boughton (supply)

2001-11                 Rev. Allan Reeve

2011-12                 Rev. Jean wilson (supply)

2012                      Rev. Rodney Smith-Merkley





1857 – Arrival of the Rev. James Ash, first saddleback preacher 1858 – first Quarterly board Meeting – first Celebration of Communion – Arrival of the Rev. John Dowler, first resident minister
1859 – First Bobcaygeon Manse built – first Church on circuit erected at Knox Farm
1860 – Original Methodist Church in Bobcaygeon erected


1874 – Dunsford became separate circuit
1879 – Trinity Church enlarged and renovated
1881 -Second Bobcaygeon Manse built
1885 – Zion Church erected at Nogies Creek – Fairbairn Church erected

1890 – Providence Church erected

1892 – St. David’s Church erected at Dunsford circuit
1898 – Eden Church erected
1905 – St. John’s Church erected
1912 – Trinity Sunday School Hall erected
1928 – St. David’s Church closed
1938 – Zion Church closed
1944 memorial windows placed in Trinity Church
1946 – Sunday School hall enlarged
1947 – First electric organ purchased
1958 – Washrooms and oil furnace installed – Eden Church closed
1963 – Fairbairn Church closed – St. John’s Church closed
1964 – Trinity building Fund established
1975 – Sanctuary renovated
1976 – Existing organ purchased – Existing Bobcaygeon Manse erected
1978 – New Trinity Church erected
1979 – Mortgage burned at first Anniversary Service