Perth Courier

Historical Documents

Congregational Church - Middleville, Ontario.

supplied by Christine M. Spencer of Northwestern University, Evanston, Il., USA.

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Perth Courier, September 5, 1902

50th Anniversary of the Congregational Church of Middleville

The members and friends of the Congregational Church of Middleville, Hopetown and Rosetta, celebrated the 50th anniversary of their church on August 24 and 25.

The Sunday services were conducted by Rev. R. K. Black of Granby, Que., who organized the church in 1852 and for 11 years was its pastor.  Large congregations greeted him at all three services.  The people were delighted with his excellent discourses, which were delivered with clearness and vigor.

Monday, a Jubilee picnic was held in John Matherís beautiful grove near Middleville.  Notwithstanding the busy harvest season, a large company gathered to celebrate the occasion.

Rev. J. Lambert Alexander, pastor of the church, presided.  The chairman also read a letter of greeting from Rev. Mr. Douglas, of Portage-la-Prairie.  These reverend gentlemen were former pastors of the church.

Rev. Mr. Blackís review of the early history of the church was listened to with much interest.  He stated that in 1851 he had been asked to preach in Middleville to 50 or 60 families who had seceded from the Presbyterian Church.  Through some neglect, no arrangement had been made to meet him and convey him from the boat at Oliverís Ferry to Middleville; he therefore had to walk, a distance of thirty miles.  On his way out he was taken for a Millerite and then a Mormon.  Finally, he succeeded in making it plain that he was a Congregationalist.  When he arrived in Middleville, some sixty families were awaiting his coming and he began preaching in the old log church.  The summerís work was gratifying but Mr. Black had to leave as he wished to complete his college work.  The following Spring (1852) the people invited him to return and form a Congregational Church.  The invitation was accepted.  Mr. Black formed the church with 15 charter members all of whom are not promoted to the church triumphant.  These covenented to live as the children of God and worship according to the Congregational Churchís policy.  Selecting the 15 from the 60 caused jealousy on the part of those who were not asked to unite with the church.  Mr. Black endeavored to make it plain to them that all who would pledge thus to live would be accepted as members.  This did not settle the difficulty.  The preacher, however, did not spend time in controversy but during the summer and fall preached frequently in what constituted a child of God and eligible for church membership.  The seed sown bore fruit in the not distant future. 

Mr. Black had, Congregational minister at Belleville, Ontario, preach for him one Sabbath.  During the evening service at Rosetta, the people seemed to be greatly moved and Mr. Clemie asked all those who wished prayers to stand up.  A large company stood.  Mr. Climie announced a meeting for Monday evening.  Rev. Mr. Black was home for the Monday night meeting.  Again a large company requested prayers.  A series of revival meetings now begun Rev. Mr. Clemie assisting Rev. Mr. Black.  The meetings lasted for months during which time it is estimated about 400 were converted.  Forty members were received into the Rosetta Church at one communion.  This gave the church strength numerically and spiritually and Mr. Black continued to be its pastor until 1863(?) during which time many united with the church.  Rev. Mr. Douglas succeeded Rev. Mr. Black.  Then came Rev. Robert Brown, then Rev. McCall, then Rev. Alexander McAulay, who was succeeded by the present pastor Rev. J. Lambert Alexander.

The first year of Rev. Mr. Blackís work embraced Middleville, Hopetown and Rosetta and Lanark.  In 1853 eight members were given off to form the church in Lanark Village.  Now we have in the township four Congregational churches:  a stone building in Middleville, a frame building in Hopetown and Rosetta; and a beautiful stone building in Lanark Village.

Posted: 07 April, 2005