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- United Church of Canada. Shoal Harbour Pastoral Charge.
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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.
Scope and content
Fonds consist of records pertaining to the Shoal Harbour Pastoral Charge which includes communities of Harcourt, Milton-George's Brook, Monroe and Shoal Harbour. These records relate to the activities of the Charge and its functional bodies. The majority of the records are in the form of church history, financial records and vital statistics.
Fonds are arranged in the following series: Baptism, Marriage and Burial Records, 1892-1981; Board and Committee Records, 1994 and 1996; Funds and Congregational Financial Records, 1996; Church and Education History, 1964-1982; Publications, 1964.
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