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United Church Women
Corporate body · 1962-2005

The United Church Women (UCW) was formed in 1962, with the approval of the General Council of The United Church of Canada in 1960. This was part of the general re-organization of the Church, and which included the demise of the Women's Missionary Society and the Woman's Association, and the creation of the national Board of Women.

The United Church Women was organized on the structure of the Church with groups at the Conference, Presbyterial and congregational levels. Membership was open to any woman who agreed with the general aim of the organization - to promote the mission of the Church. The UCW made annual reports to the Board of Women, and the Conference bodies were to carry out policies and recommendations determined by this Board.

The UCW became more independent with the dissolution of the Board of Women and the establishment of the Division of Mission, although this latter relationship meant that the UCW lost any corporate representation at the national level of the Church. This was dealt with through the formation of the National Consultation of Women of the United Church of Canada.

In Newfoundland, the inaugural meeting of the United Church Women at the Conference level was held at Cochrane Street United Church in St. John's on 13 Mar. 1962. Mrs Blanche Luscombe of Cochrane Street church was elected President. In addition to the usual officers, Secretaries of Community and Visiting, Literature and Communications, Press and Publicity, Program, Stewardship and Recruiting, and Supply and Social Assistance were elected. Committee chairs were also elected, comprising Christian Citizenship and Social Action, Co-operation in Christian Education, Finance, Leadership Development, Nominations, and Periodicals.

In 1962 the membership of the Newfoundland and Labrador Conference UCW was 7,304 and they raised $100, 019, with $14,685 raised for the Mission and Service Fund of the Church.

The Presbyterial Presidents, the Executive and area Vice-presidents acted as a liaison between the Conference UCW and the local congregational groups. Decisions pertaining to the work of the groups are directed through these contacts. Rallies, workshops, retreats, and the annual meetings of Presbyterials allow for the exchange of fellowship, ideas, and experience, as well as challenging the women in their church work.

Cochrane Street UCW, organized in 1962, was a part of St. John's Presbyterial of the UCW. At the congregational level, it was organized into units, with the usual officers, as well as an Executive to bring the general membership together for joint meetings and to help direct the work of the UCW as a whole, although the various units also planned their own activities and projects. In 2000, United Church Women became, with all other women's groups in the church, part of the Women's Ministry Network.

The whereabouts of most of the records of this organization are unknown but the reports to the Board and Committees of the church demonstrate the work and activities of the UCW as do the reports of the United Church Women in the annual reports of the congregation. Declining numbers in the 1990s led to the amalgamation of some units, with three units operating as independent groups in 2005.

Corporate body · 1831-1970

Twillingate was first visited by the London Missionary Society in 1799. By 1831, the first Methodist Congregation in Twillingate was holding secret meetings in the home of one of its members. From these meetings it can be said that Methodism began in Twillingate.

In 1841, the Methodist Church appointed Rev. William Marshall as the first regular missionary to serve what was known as the Green Bay Circuit. He was stationed at Twillingate and traveled throughout the District visiting the scattered communities. Despite its early beginnings, Twillingate's first Methodist Minister, Rev. William Marshall didn't arrive until 1842. Shortly after his arrival, Rev. Marshall oversaw the building of the congregations first church. Rev. Marshall held his last service in Twillingate on December 31, 1845 and died on January 9, 1846. From 1842-1859, the whole of Green Bay was ministered by one minister with headquarters in Twillingate. The circuit changed from Green Bay to Twillingate in 1859 and a new chapel was built there in 1860.

On February 14, 1868, Twillingate suffered a great loss when fire destroyed both the church and mission house. Within a year from the fire, the people of Twillingate had rebuilt the church and it was dedicated in June, 1869. The Methodist Church in Twillingate had a long history, which resulted in the establishment of several churches in the area. The growth of Methodism in the Twillingate Circuit was rapid, especially under the guidance of T.W. Atkinson, Levi Curtis and J.K. Curtis.

The appointments on the circuit are Twillingate North, with a new church seating 600; Twillingate South, where the parsonage is and a church seating 1000, Little Harbour, Crow Head, Bluff Head Cove and Gilliard's Cove. Twillingate became affiliated with the United Church after the union in June 1925.

In the late 1970's and 1980's three of these congregations, Twillingate South, Twillingate North and Little Harbour, made plans to replace their three church buildings with one central edifice. On May 24, 1984, the three congregations participated in a sod-turning ceremony at the site of the new church. The cornerstone was laid in 1986 and Central United Church was opened and dedicated to the glory of God on Sunday afternoon, May 31, 1987.

Corporate body · 1837-

Topsail United Church had its beginnings in 1837 with the formation of a small Wesleyan Methodist "meeting house." Before this, the settlers (farmers and fishermen who had moved into the area from Portugal Cove around 1822) had been holding church meetings in various homes throughout the community, visited by clergymen from St. John's.

By 1869 the meeting house which was used for both church and school was too small for the growing congregation. It was time to build a bigger church. A short time later the old church in Topsail which was opened in 1837 by Rev. J.S. Addy was superseded by a new substantial and elegant structure. The exact date of opening of the church is not known but it is understood that the church was built in November, 1871. This church contained two rooms - the church sanctuary and the school. It had no tower, no bell, no organ and rough benches for pews. Gradually a tower was built and a bell installed to call the people to worship.

This little church of 1871 was the edifice that became so well known throughout the island. The church became the landmark in the area and became known as "The Church by the Side of the Road." In 1971 the church by the side of the road celebrated its 100th Anniversary. By now this building was badly in need of repairs. The church members were faced with a big decision, whether to renovate the old church, maintaining this historic landmark, or to build a new church that would met the needs of the vigorous and growing congregation. It was decided that the old church would be replaced but the new church did not materialize until December 1977. The site of the old church is marked by a simple wooden cross constructed from its own timbers.

Today Topsail United has a membership of approximately 465 families. The old brass bell, which was removed from the old church, still sings out from its tower on Sunday Mornings, as it has done for many years.

Corporate body · 1955

The Swift Current Pastoral Charge was formed in 1955 in the St. John's Presbytery, Newfoundland Conference, United Church of Canada. It was a successor body to the Sound Island Pastoral Charge, whose headquarters were moved to Swift Current following resettlement of the Sound Island population. The first minister, Edgar Williams (lay supply), ministered the appointments of Swift Current, Garden Cove, Haystack, Spencer's Cove, Woody Island, and North Harbour.

A church and school had been built in Swift Current (Pipers Hole) by the early twentieth century for a 1909 circuit report stated: "We have a little school-church here just completed. The Ladies of this place got together and had a sale of work, being assisted by our worthy teacher, Miss Louisa Janes, and raised the sum of $18, which has furnished us with a splendid lamp, hymn-book and bible for our church; the rest will go towards the painting of the building outside."

Currently, the pastoral charge includes the communities of Swift Current, Garden Cove, North Harbour, Arnold's Cove, Come by Chance, and Sunnyside.

Sound Island Pastoral Charge; From 1879 to 1883, the Sound Island Mission was combined with the Flat Islands Mission. In 1883, it reverted to the Sound Island Mission, which now served Sound Island, Pipers Hole, North Harbour, and Woody Island. In 1919, the missions of Sound Island and Long Island combined to form the Sound Island and Haystack Mission. It remained as such until after the Church Union of 1925, when it was renamed Sound Island Mission.

At Woody Island, a new church was built in 1847 and was replaced with another structure in 1907. In 1893, a Sunday school was started, and the minister reported that student numbers had "exceeded our most sanguine expectations." A1931 report observed that the church was being renovated and placed on a concrete foundation; a belfry was also added.

Long Island mission, Harbour Buffett was first mentioned in the Burin Methodist subscription lists in the late 1820s as "having friends". This small congregation became part of the Sound Island Mission and later came under the Haystack-Sound Island Mission. A report in 1903 observed: "We have at Harbour Buffett a place for preaching, the upper story of a store, which will seat about one hundred and forty. We preached there for the first time last Sabbath. We have opened a Sunday school and are in need of school papers." In 1908, the minister reported that "the prospects of building a new church are good. The men have made some efforts in getting the foundation and some building material ready for use." However, a church was not built, and by 1925, the congregation had dwindled.

Haystack became a congregation in the Burin Mission in the mid 1920s. It came under the Sound Island Mission in 1850, the Long Island Mission in 1903, and the Sound Island-Haystack Mission in 1919. A report from Haystack in 1893 stated that a parsonage was being built. At that time, a store owned by Mr. Collins was being used to hold services until a church could be constructed, but the church was not completed until 1913.

A report from Spencer's Cove in 1903 stated: "The people have secured the frame of a church which they hope to build in the coming season. For the present we hold services in a room kindly lent by Mrs. Berkshire." The church was completed in 1909 and was reported to be "very comfortable." In 1912, the Ladies' Aid Society raised $85 to help buy new pews and new windows for the church.

Sunnyside Pastoral Charge; In 1955, the pastoral charges of Sunnyside and Hillview combined to form Sunnyside-Hillview Pastoral Charge and included the appointments Sunnyside, Hillview, Come by Chance, Goobies, Queen's Brook, and North West Brook. In 1962, Sunnyside became part of Little Heart's Ease Pastoral Charge and was moved into the Swift Current Pastoral Charge in 1976.

Whitbourne Pastoral Charge; The first Methodist mission in Whitbourne was formed in 1889, five years after the new Newfoundland railroad reached the community. That same year, the first church was dedicated in the new town. References to the Whitbourne Railway Mission first appeared in the Methodist conference minutes in 1894, so Whitbourne seems to have taken over as headquarters for the Railway Mission from Chapel Arm. The mission consisted of congregations along the new railway as far as Port Blandford. In 1898, it was listed as Whitbourne Mission. After 1901, the railway terminal was moved to St. John's and the population of Whitbourne began to decline. By 1911, the minister had taken up residence in Sunnyside. The mission's headquarters shifted there as well, and its name was changed to Bay Bulls Arm Mission.

The Whitbourne Pastoral Charge consists of congregations in Dunville, Markland, and Whitbourne. Its Methodist history dates back to the building of the railway in the area. Its mission boundaries have changed many times, and it has been a congregation in other missions and pastoral charges in and around the Avalon isthmus area.

In 1938, Whitbourne and Markland separated from the Bay Bulls Arm Mission and became a pastoral charge. In 1940, Whitbourne and Markland were again associated with Sunnyside; but in 1948, the charge was listed as the Whitbourne Pastoral Charge, which included Whitbourne, Markland and Haricot. In 1954, the charge included Whitbourne, Markland, Norman's Cove, and Thornlea.

Corporate body · 1841-

The Methodist in Moreton's Harbour were at one time all included in what was called the Green Bay circuit. During a visit by Rev. J. S. Addy in 1841, he suggested that Twillingate be made the headquarters for a Mission, and in 1842, Rev. William Marshall was appointed to the new circuit. A chapel was erected at Twillingate in 1844 and by 1855, membership was 199. Chapels were built and dedicated in Moreton's Harbour and Tizzard's Harbour in 1850. There were chapels also being built at Exploits and Change Islands.

In 1865, Moreton's Harbour and Tizzard's Harbour, with a few surrounding communities, became a separate Circuit of the Methodist Church and may have been served by the Methodist Missionary from Exploits. In 1874, a minister was appointed specifically for Moreton's Harbour and nearby outports and since then a minister or lay supply preacher has been allocated to the Charge covering Moreton's Harbour and it was made the head of the circuit. A parsonage was erected at Moreton's Harbour in 1875, and a new church commenced there in 1894-94 during the pastorate of S.J. Russell. This pastoral charge followed the organizational structure of Session, Stewards, Official Board.

The present church at Moreton's Harbour was erected beside the older structure in 1903 and the original church was later torn down. A short distance away, the community of Tizzards Harbour, also had a church. Moreton's Harbour Circuit became a United Church Pastoral Charge in 1925. At the time of the union, the preaching places for this charge were Moreton's Harbour-,Summerford and Tizzard's Harbour. By the late 1950's, the following small communities had been added to this pastoral charge, Trump Island and Western Head.

The pastoral charges of Moreton's Harbour and Summerford were combined by 1970 to form the Summerford-Moreton's Harbour pastoral charge. The Summerford-Moreton's Harbour pastoral charge included communities Tizzard's Harbour, Summerford, Bridgeport, Virgin Arm and Carter's Cove.

Corporate body · 1883-1996

Methodism in St. George's Bay dates back to at least the 1860s, for in 1867, it was reported that Methodists had settled at South Side (St. George's) and were holding "cottage services" there. The St. George's Mission was created in 1883 in the Burin District of the Methodist Church of Canada, Newfoundland Conference. Its first pastor was Rev. William Rex, who found, upon his arrival, a church with about 20 members and a Mr. A. Cutler acting as a lay reader.

The present-day pastoral charge includes churches in St. George's, Heatherton, and Stephenville. However, the boundaries of the earlier mission changed frequently as St. George's became associated with the Bay of Islands (1886-1902) and other times with Channel (St. George's was part of Channel mission in 1861). The boundaries of the first mission went from Robinson's Head to Boswarlos. In 1873, Bonne Bay was listed as being part of the mission, and in 1886 an agreement was made for the minister stationed at St. George's to spend 6 months at St. George's, and 6 months at Bay of Islands.

The first church in St. George's was opened in 1878. A new structure was built in 1938, and another in 1974. A church was also erected at Sandy Point in 1883-1884. Rev. J. T. Newman reported in 1891 that a school-chapel was being constructed at Boswarlos. The first church opened there in 1909 and was replaced by another in 1961. An 1892 report from Heatherton stated that a house had been purchased there for use as a parsonage. A school-chapel was opened there in 1909, and a new church, in 1955. The Heatherton church was replaced with a new structure in 1981. In 1949, United Church services began in Stephenville with a congregation of 46, and in 1957, a new church was opened there.

Corporate body · 1892-1981

Although the Shoal Harbour Mission wasn't mentioned in Minutes until 1871, the early settlers of Shoal Harbour, who came from Hants Habour on the south side of Trinity Bay, had settled there by the mid 1800's. It is believed that these people being of the Methodist faith built a little church that was dedicated to the glory of God and opened for worship on February 11, 1866. John Tilley, Moses Tilley, Aaron Tilley and David Palmer were the builders of this first little church. The mission at that time had thirty appointments.

This was their place of worship for 26 years during which time a considerable number of families moved to the area. Not long after the opening of the first church, a parsonage was built and the first residential Minister, Rev. William Swann, arrived. He was stationed at Shoal Harbour from 1871-1872 during which time he spent six months in the area with 30 appointments to visit, most of the which worship during the week night and rarely on Sunday.

As there were no roads then, or for many years after, the Missionary had many dangerous journeys. For the early years the only church in the area was at Shoal Harbour. This church was soon followed by a church at Lower Shoal Harbour (now Clarenville) and George's Brook. Because of the large area to be covered in the Shoal Harbour Pastoral Charge, Shoal Harbour, Lower Shoal Harbour and George's Brook had lay readers who helped out the Minister.

Somewhere between 1872 and 1885, the first church was turned over for re-modeling and used as a school and a new church opened for worship on June 30, 1892. A forest fire swept the area shortly after destroying many of the homes and the church and parsonage as well. All church records previous to 1892 were destroyed in the fire.

In 1874, the Shoal Harbour circuit included the whole bottom of Trinity Bay with more than twenty appointments which was supplied by two men, of whom Thomas W. Atkinson was one. During this same period, a church was completed at George's Brook, and one was made suitable for services at Lower Shoal Harbour, and several others were in course of erection. During his three pastorate, Rev. Atkinson witnessed the building of six churches and school houses and many members were added to the church.

Boundary changes in 1878, saw Shoal Harbour divided into two missions - Random North and Random South and later the former went back to the title of Shoal Harbour. Several other missions were made out of portions of the old Shoal Harbour field. The present appointments are Shoal Harbour, Clarenville, George's Brook, Broad Cove and White Rock.

On December 30th of that year a firm decision was made to build a new church and this, the third church, was dedicated on December 9, 1894. Then in summer of 1903, a forest fire again swept the area and the third church was burned down. A church was dedicated early in 1903 at White Rock and another at Broad Cove, now Harcourt, in the pastorate of James Pincock. We have no record of when the fourth church was started at Shoal Harbour but the Trustee Board Records show that the exterior of the church was completed during 1906 and on October 31, 1907, the new church was dedicated by Rev. Sydney Bennett, Minister at Britannia, acting on behalf of the President of Conference, who was unable to attend.

The cornerstone of a new church at Clarenville, formerly Lower Shoal Harbour, was laid on August 13, 1923, by H.G. Coppin, Chairman of the District. At the time of the union of the Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational churches to form the United Church of Canada in 1925, the Shoal Harbour pastoral charge had four preaching places and Rev. Isaac Davis was administering to 164 families there.

The Opening an Dedication Service for a new church at George's Brook and Milton was held on July 29, 1962 under the pastorate of Rev. Edward George Bailey. Late in 1962, the congregation of Shoal Harbour decided that the old church was inadequate for their present needs. Work began shortly afterwards on the new church and it was completed on the outside. The closing service for the old church was conducted on June 28, 1966 and then the old church was demolished. For over a year, worship was conducted in the basement of the new church while it was being finished . The dedication ceremony for the new church was conducted on September 15, 1968.

Presently the pastoral charge of Shoal Harbour administers to the following communities: Harcourt, Milton-George's Brook, Monroe, Shoal Harbour.

Corporate body · 1891-1985

Methodism has a long and noble history in the Random area. The whole of the South West Arm of Random was settled between 1865 and 1880. At Northern Bight, the first arrivals were James Styles and D. Benson, the former was a Methodist. Random first appeared in the Minutes in 1871 in connection with Shoal Harbour. This mission had thirty appointments. By 1874, the circuit included the whole bottom of Trinity Bay with more than twenty appointments. In 1878, Shoal Harbour was divided into two missions - Random North and Random South, and later, the former went back to the title of Shoal Harbour.

Random South became head of the pastoral charge with a total membership of 238 under the pastorate of Rev. K. Davis. The first Methodist building went up in 1878 and Edgar Taylor was appointed as the first resident pastor. The first church was erected in 1899 and the new church, much larger than its predecessor, in 1923.

At the time of the union of the churches to form the United Church of Canada in 1925, Random South was still head of the circuit with thirteen preaching points and a membership of 223. Boundary changes in 1930, saw Hillview, which was formerly called Northern Bight, being made the head of the circuit under the pastorate of Rev. Chesley Howell. The pastoral charge included: Adeytown, Deep Bight, Hatchet Cove, Loweburn, North West Brook, Queen's Cove and St. Jones Within.

In 1933, Little Hearts Ease was added to the pastoral charge and the name was changed to the Hillview-Little Hearts Ease Pastoral Charge and more preaching places were added to this charge for a total of twelve preaching places. Hillview was combined with Little Hearts Ease until 1955.

Boundary changes after 1955 resulted in Hillview being combined with Sunnyside to form the Sunnyside-Hillview pastoral charge and it remained like this for a period of six years. Little Hearts Ease became a pastoral charge on its own with seven preaching points.

Then in 1974, Random South appears as pastoral charge as a result of the amalgamation of the two former charges of Little Hearts Ease and Hillview with a total of eleven preaching points stretching along both sides of North West Arm in Random South. In 1985, the pastoral charge of Random South was disbanded and ceased to exist. The charge was split into two pastoral charges - Hillview and Little Heart's Ease.

Corporate body · 1891-

The original appointments of what is now the Port Blandford mission were Bunyan's Cove and Charlottetown. Both of these towns were on Clode Sound. They were at one time a part of Musgravetown mission. Just after the turn of the century the congregation, along with Bunyan's Cove, Gambo and Benton, became part of the newly formed Port Blandford Methodist Circuit. Later, Gambo and Benton were removed from the circuit and Terra Nova was added.

Port Blandford was reached from Whitbourne after the railway went through and a cause was established there. After a minister was stationed there, the two appointments were taken from Musgravetown.

At the time of the union of the churches to form the United Church of Canada in 1925, Port Blandford was still head of the mission and administering to twenty-five families. Port Blandford, at this time, had a church and a one room school. At Bunyan's Cove, formerly called Bryan's Hole, the preacher visits once in four weeks with the mail man.

At Charlottetown, the second preaching point of Port Blandford, there are twenty-five Methodist families. Charlottetown's first church was burned as seemed to be the case with lots of churches during this time. It was replaced by another church shortly afterwards and served the people of the charge for about sixty years until June of 1963 when the present church building was opened and dedicated on the site of the old church. The minister of the church at the time of the opening and dedication was the Rev. Theodore J. Snelgrove.

Port Blandford remains as head of a pastoral charge with preaching places at Bunyan's Cove, Charlottetown, Port Blandford and Terra Nova.

Corporate body · 1941-

The Pool's Cove Pastoral Charge was formed in 1941 as a pastoral charge in the Newfoundland Conference of the United Church of Canada. It was a successor body to the Congregationalist Mission of Fortune Bay.

In 1874, during the ministry of Rev. Thomas Hall in Newfoundland, the Congregational Colonial Missionary Society in London established the Fortune Bay Mission. Pool's Cove became the headquarters for the mission, and churches were established in Pool's Cove and Bay du Nord. The first minister appointed to the area , Rev. J. B. Saer, ministered to many families scattered along the south coast in Fortune Bay as well as in Placentia Bay. In Fortune Bay itself, congregations were spread from the Little Bay East area on the eastern side to the Belloram area on the western side. Communities mentioned in early registers included Little Bay East, Anderson's Cove, Conne, Fomme, Lake's Cove, Grand La Pierre, Harbour Mille, Bay du Nord, Pool's Cove, and Belloram. The first church in Little Bay East was built under the leadership of Rev. James Middleton in 1910.

The Congregationalist Mission at Pool's Cove resisted the Church Union of 1925 and amalgamation with the Presbyterians, remaining independent until it became part of the United Church of Canada in 1941.

The first United Church representative appointed to the mission was Mr. J. S. Moran (lay supply) who ministered to congregations in Pool's Cove, Anderson's Cove, and Little Bay East. The boundaries of the pastoral charge remained the same until 1970, when, after the resettlement of Anderson's Cove, Pool's Cove and Little Bay East came under the Port Elizabeth Pastoral Charge. In 1972, they came under the Red Harbour Pastoral Charge. In 1975, Little Bay East was incorporated into the Creston-Red Harbour Pastoral Charge, leaving Pool's Cove to once again form the Pool's Cove Pastoral Charge.