Barnston Church

Barnston Baptist Church

Barnston Baptist Church is the oldest Baptist church in the Townships, and the fourth oldest church of any denomination in the region. It sits in the middle of the village of Barnston, Stanstead County, Quebec.

Baptist church, Barnston, QC, 
about 1910
The Barnston Church about 1910.
General History:

Many of the early settlers of Barnston were Baptist. About 1812 they would gather to worship. Visiting ministers from the New England states would occasionally preach and in their absence, the Deacons and elders would conduct the meetings. This would be the foundation of the Baptist Church of Barnston. In 1833 the Church was organized and accepted by the Danville Association. In 1835 its members began construction of the church on land given to the church by the Cushing family. In 1837 the building was completed and they held a dedication ceremony. In 1874 the interior was renovated. In 1890 the interior was redone in woodwork.

About the year 1990 the congregation disbanded and members attended church elsewhere. In 2003, it was vandalized, stained glass windows were smashed, items stolen and a small fire was set. A small group called Heritage Barnston was formed about 2003 to restore this historical site.

The Barnston Church about 2000-2006

Barnston Church, courtesy of Ross Murray and Barnston Church, courtesy of Ross Murray and

Barnston Church, courtesy of Luc Kligon

Barnston Church 2006, courtesy of Jean-Francois Brulotte

Barnston Church 2002



This church was organized Jan. 9, 1833. The honor under God, for this belongs to Deacon Bellows and Deacon J. Merriman. The names of those who banded themselves to-gether are Simeon White and wife, John Bellows and wife, Mrs. (Dr.) McKeech, and daughter, Mary Ann Fellows, Daniel Sutton and wife, John Sutton and wife, Grandma Sutton, John P. Sutton, James May, Joseph Parker and wife, Sally Parker, Alpheus Parker and Susan Crooker.   
In June 1833, Deacon Bellows and Joshua Parker rode on horseback to St. Johnsbury, Vermont, to attend the Danville Association. There they succeeded in having the church recognized by and identified with that body. In 1835 they began like David to prepare material for a chapel, and like Israel’s king, they wished to have the best. Some with their own teams and sledges hauled granite from Barnston mountain for the foundation; others went to the woods and hewed out a frame from the finest pine. The lot was, by Deacon Cushing, deeded to the church for so long as it should exist as a Baptist cause.   
In Aug., 1837 the building was completed and free of debt, was dedicated, amidst general rejoicing, to the worship of God only. Rev. Albin Sabin, D. D. preached the sermon from Ruth 1: 16 & 17.

    The self sacrifice and determination in thus displayed in thus providing for the worship of God shows the sturdy christian manhood of those early disciples. They built wisely and well. Let us not be behind our fathers.

                                D.W. Terry

Presented by

Sarah Bellows Buckland
In loving memory of her father
John Bellows Died Aug., 21, 1869 Aged 88

 * This large framed [29 inches by 23 inches] dedication has graced the Barnston Baptist Church located on the left front East wall for many years.

The Dedication Sermon:
Ruth  1:16 & 17

16 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or  to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be  my people, and thy God my God:

17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought  but death part thee and me.

Book Quote:

"Among the early settlers of this town were the Bartlett, Griswold, Bellows, Sutton, Jewett, Parker, Smith, White and Hibbard families. These were Baptists. They were occasionally supplied with preaching by minister from the New England States, but their meetings were generally conducted by their deacons - among whom were J. Griswold, P.J. Sutton, and J. Bellows.

      About the year 1812, Elder Roswell Smith settled in the north part of the town, but after preaching four or five years, left the country. A church had been organized about that time, but after the lapse of a few years, it disbanded. In 1833, a new church was formed, consisting of some twenty members. In the meantime, preaching had been occasionally supplied by Elders John Idle, Harvey Clark, Marvin Grove and others."

- Forest and Clearings, The History of Stanstead County, B.F. Hubbard 1874

Book Quote:

"A Baptist church was organized in Barnston as early as 1810; but was disbanded after some years, and the body at present under organization was formed in 1833. Their ministers have been successively the Rev. Messrs. Powell, Mitchel, Baldwin, House, Green, Campbell, Ferguson, and the Rev. R. Nott, present pastor. Their house of worship is at Barnston Corners. Freewill Baptist ministers visited this section as early as 1806; but the church now in existence was not organized till 1830. The Rev. Messrs. Moulton, Harvey, and T. P. Moulton, have been their ministers successively. Their house of worship is at Coaticook."

                                      - History of the Eastern Townships, Province of Quebec, Dominion of Canada, Civil and Descriptive, In Three Parts, By Mrs. C. M. DAY,
Montreal, Printed by John Lovell, ST. Nicholas Street, 1869

The Ministers:

   Click here to see my list of known pastors of Barnston;  Barnston Ministers

Barnston Church today (2003):

"Seating up to 160, the interior was renovated in 1874 to include Diamond-style woodwork, which still exists today. The congregation, on the other hand, does not. The dwindling congregation disbanded about [1990], joining churches elsewhere. Since then, the building has been used only sporadically for weddings, funerals, and special services. Summer services ended five years ago."

Please visit the   Townships Heritage WebMagazine

In the news:

An article in the Stanstead Journal, Sep. 25, 2003

Google Archives   Group hopes to resurect Barnston Baptist Church


Heritage Barnston Inc.
The Barnston Baptist Church Restoration Project;