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United Church of Canada. Topsail Pastoral Charge
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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 J.S. Addy was superseded by a new substantial and elegant structure.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.
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Created - May 18, 2013