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United Church of Canada. Grand Bank Pastoral Charge
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Grand Bank became the headquarters for the Fortune Bay Methodist Mission in the Newfoundland District of the British Wesleyan Conference in 1816. The mission embraced all points from Lamaline to Port aux Basques. Rev. Richard Knight was appointed the first missionary there, and in his two-year term, he "formed classses in both Grand Bank and Fortune."
Evidence of the places ministered by the early Fortune Bay missionaries is anecdotal and sporadic. In a report to the missionary committee in 1819, for example, Rev. John Haigh, Knight's successor noted that he had visited Harbor Briton, Jersey Harbour, and Little Bay. In 1827, another minister reported visiting Gaultos and Bay D'Espoir, and from 1827 to 1830, ministers wrote of ministering to Frenchman's Cove, Harbour Breton, Jersey Harbour, Grand Beach, Lamaline, St. Jacques, and Round Harbour.
The first chapel in Grand Bank was built in 1817. It was replaced with a new structure in 1846 that could seat about 400 people. The old chapel was converted for use as a day school, Sunday school, and hall for social service. In 1876, a new church with a capacity of 1200 replaced the smaller chapel. By 1964, construction had begun on the present day-building, which was opened in 1965.
Various communities were dropped from the visiting roster of Grand Bank missionaries as other missions were established in the area: the Burin Circuit in 1817; Garnish in 1866; Fortune in 1878. Furthermore, Grand Bank was replaced by Hermitage as headquarters for the Fortune Bay Mission in 1840. By 1900, the only community listed in the Grand Bank register outside the main community was Molliers. In 1925, the mission became a Pastoral Charge in the Newfoundland Conference of the United Church of Canada. In 1928, Grand Bank was listed as the only "preaching place" in the charge.
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Created - May 23, 2013