Lutheran and Anglican Ministries of the Bruce Peninsula



Trinity Anglican Church, Wiarton
491 Gould Street, Wiarton, Ontario

519-534-1604


warden_trinity@laamb.ca

     In 1867, the year of Canadian confederation, Bishop Benjamin Cronyn, first Bishop of Huron, sent the Rev. Thomas S. Campbell from Meaford to minister to the Anglicans who had settled shortly before in the tiny community of Wiarton on Colpoy’s Bay. They had been worshipping in a log hall that served all denominations until it burned down. Under Campbell, a frame Anglican Church with belfry and bell was built at the north-west corner of Gould and Mary Streets. His talented wife played the harmonium for a male trio that included William Wilfred Campbell, their son, who was to become an eminent poet and priest.
     Within five years, the Rector of Wiarton was taking services near Purple Valley, Hepworth, Bass Lake, Wolseley, Sarawak and Presque Ile, travelling by horse and buggy. In 1886, the Rev. William Henderson, fourth rector, came. He took services in Wiarton every Sunday evening, and the other points were covered twice a month in mornings and afternoons. The congregation had outgrown the little frame building. In 1890 the current splendid stone church was erected, mostly with volunteer labour, under the direction of Edward Kyte, master stonemason. The total cost was $5,000.00. During his long and progressive incumbency of 24 years, Mr. Henderson introduced the envelope system of giving and founded one of the first Anglican Young People’s Associations (A.Y.P.A.) in Canada.
     A series of very short incumbencies followed – five priests in ten years. However, the beautiful stone rectory was built in 1916 at a cost of $3,500.00. There were just two rectors in the 1920s. They held services every Sunday morning and evening in Wiarton and alternate Sunday afternoons in Hepworth and Wolseley. (Anglicans north of Wiarton were looked after by the Rector of Christ Church, Lion’s Head.)
     In the late 1920s the pulpit was installed in memory of Dr. Hiram Wigle, much loved physician and hard-working public health officer. There had been no pulpit when the church was built because of Mr. Henderson's preference of preaching from the chancel steps. The stone sidewalks were also installed during this period, gifts from the A.Y.P.A. and the flourishing Sunday School.
     The latter part of the 1930s marked another “long-timer” – six years – when the Rev. Charles Draper and his mother lived in the rectory. He was an ardent baseball player and very successful with the young people. A vigorous debt-reduction campaign by the churchwardens in the middle of the Depression ended with the burning of the rectory mortgage. The first Board of Management was formed during this period.
     For the first time in their history, Trinity, Wiarton and Christ Church, Lion’s Head were united in the early 1940s under one priest, the Rev. A.E. Taverner, to help solve some wartime problems. Towards the end of the war, a bathroom was constructed in Trinity parish hall basement. Soon afterward, members of the congregation who sailed on the Great Lakes and wintered in Wiarton redecorated the whole basement.
     In 1949, shortly after the arrival of the Rev. E.K. Bissell, Christ Church was detached from Trinity, Wiarton and the north and south peninsula each had their own rector again.
     But something new was happening on the peninsula. Cottagers on the shores of Lake Huron were asking for their own places of worship. Although they were open in summer only and staffed by visiting clergy who lived in the “clergy cottage” next to the church, and later by theological students as arranged by the diocese, they also fell under the care and nurture of the Rector of Wiarton. St. Andrew’s, Howdenvale, was first. It was built in 1950 for a mostly ecumenical congregation that had worshipped together for 30 years. When Mr. Bissell took the first service in St. Andrew’s and introduced the Book of Common Prayer, there were only three people in the congregation who were familiar with the Anglican liturgy!
     In 1952, the diocese bought an old frame building in Hepworth, and moved and refurbished it to serve as St. Peter’s-by-the-Lake at Sauble Beach. For many years, from the mid 1950s to the early 1980s, the old Methodist church at Oliphant, owned by the United Church, was rented for a dollar a year and the priest at Howdenvale celebrated the Eucharist there weekly at 9:30 a.m. The church at Purple Valley was closed in the late 1950s and sold a few years later. The Church of the Redeemer, Hepworth, built in 1886, had its last service in the early 1960s.
     During the Rev. Tom Scott's incumbency in the 1970s, Christ Church, Lion’s Head and Trinity Church were once again joined, and due to his hard work, St. Edmund’s, Tobermory, became a year-round parish. In 1976, Christ Church had its own rector for three years. The parishes were amalgamated again when the Rev. James Seagram became Rector in 1979.
     The parishes have shared the ministry of one rector since then and are known under one name, the Parish of the Bruce Peninsula. There has been a strong tradition of lay ministry in this parish for a long time. More and more aspects of parish life are shared among the six congregations as we move into the 21st century.

PHOTO BY FATHER MORLEY E. PINKNEY

PHOTO BY FATHER MORLEY E. PINKNEY


Church is fully Wheelchair Accessible