Knox Tiverton History

History of Knox Presbyterian Church, Tiverton

First Church

First Church, located in Sinclair CornersThe congregation of Knox Presbyterian Church in Tiverton had its beginning 1 1/4 miles north of Tiverton at Sinclair Corners (intersection of Tiverton's King St. and Bruce Twp. Conc. 2). A Provincial commemorative sign marks the location. In the 1850's this settlement had a sawmill, a grist mill, pearl potashery, two small stores, a school, post office and several houses. After several years of planning, the first Presbyterian Church in Bruce Township was erected there in 1857. It was of log construction, 40 ft. by 35 ft. Seating was with planks laid across blocks of wood - the better to keep the congregation awake. The first full-time minister was the Rev. Alexander MacKay (1860 - 1868). Prior to that, visiting ministers were sent by the Presbytery of London.
Second Church, located in Tiverton

Second Church

But as the village of Tiverton developed, Sinclair Corners faded, and the congregation outgrew their small church. And so, in 1862, a larger wood frame church 50 ft. by 40 ft. was erected within Tiverton. It was located on the north edge of the present church property. The initial name for both the Sinclair Corners church and the new Tiverton building was South Bruce Church. In 1865 this was changed to Presbyterian Church, Tiverton.

Present Church

Then on July 2, 1900 the corner stone of the present church building was laid. By the end of that year, the church was finished and on the first sabbath of 1901, it was dedicated to the service of God. The church is a handsome building with beautiful architecture and stained glass windows. It is a credit to the village, easily located with its tall tower visible for many miles, and a credit also to those pioneers who laboured so hard to have a House of God in which to worship, and to those Presbyterians who have seen that this beautiful building is well cared for.

Present Church, before steeple reconstructionIn June 1909, special services to recognize 50 years of this Presbyterian congregation were held. There were services on the sabbath in both English and Gaelic, and on Monday a bountiful supper was served, followed by a concert. This church was beautifully decorated for the occasion and the weatherman provided perfect June days and evenings. Tribute was paid to the pioneers in these words - "Our indebtedness to them is great, and it is our duty to serve God in our generation, and to transmit to those who come after us His Testimony and His Law. May the blessing of God rest abundantly upon His cause in this congregation in the time to come."

In 1959, special services to recognize 100 years of Presbyterianism were held from July 5 - 12 with 2 services each Sunday. Both services were well attended. A congregational supper was held on the Tuesday and a program of local talent and speeches from local dignitaries was held on the Thursday. A short history book of the church was also published that year. In the preface to the book, Rev. R.H. MacLeod, the minister, wrote these words - "In reviewing the past, Knox Church can look back with thanksgiving, and should be very proud of its heritage. We are thankful for the long list of devout men and women who toiled and sacrificed so faithfully through the years. Above all, they loved their God, and lived close to their Lord and Master. As we honour their memory, may we emulate their example."

As 1984 was the 125th anniversary of Knox Presbyterian Church, special plans were made to celebrate this event. Two services on August 5th were planned with children of former ministers as guest speakers. Lunch and a social time was also enjoyed. On our regular anniversary date in October of the same year, a former minister spoke. Extensive renovations to the sanctuary were planned. These were recognized at a church service in March when the sanctuary was re-opened for worship. An oak cross, indirectly lighted, adorns the pulpit area. The choir area was enlarged, new carpet laid in the sanctuary, and a fresh coat of paint applied to the walls. Repairs and upkeep on a smaller scale are addressed as needed.

In the early 1990's, ways to make the church more accessible to everyone were considered and so began the 'Access Project'. This would see the north side of the church enlarged, adding an office, washrooms, nursery, choir room and kitchen. A new entrance off the parking lot was created and an elevator installed. A sod turning ceremony was held in August 1992. When the work was completed in November a service of dedication was held for the new addition. The moderator, The Rev. Dr. Linda Bell officiated, paying tribute to the vision of a congregation building for the future.

And here we are in 2004. The trees have grown. The exterior brick work is being repaired and the stained glass windows have been releaded. Some landscaping has been done and more is planned. A new sign at the front of the church is being constructed. We are still building for the future.

Alberta Smith
August, 2004

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