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Lindsay Baptist Church, Victoria County, Ontario Canada

The first local Baptist church was organized on Saturday, February 28th, 1863, when thirteen Baptists, resident both in Lindsay and in Ops, gathered in a private home for church fellowship. These original members were Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Thornhill, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Richardson, Mr. and Mrs. David McGahey, Mr. and Mrs. George Calvert, John Calvert, Mr. and Mrs. William Garnett, Mrs. Duncan Fisher, and Peter Fisher. The meeting was presided over by "Elder" Alexander McIntyre, of Fenelon Falls. William Thornhill and Peter Fisher were elected deacons at this time and John Calvert was given like office in the following year.

Application for a building site was made to the government and two lots were secured, one at Hill Head, near Reaboro, in Ops, and the other on the northwest corner of Wellington and Sussex streets, Lindsay. The original Board of Trustees, constituted in July 1865, were William Thornhill, Joseph Wilkinson, Peter Fisher, James Weir, and George Calvert.

In 1865 the first minister, the Rev. A. A. Cameron, was called. He was succeeded in 1866 by the Rev. Matthew Gold, who left in 1870. The church records for these early years are still sumptuous with the discipline meted out to fractious sheep of the flock.

The congregation met for a time in a frame building on Cambridge Street South on the side of Dennis's brick livery barn. Meetings were also held in the town hall. About 1866 a chapel was built on the Hill Head lot and in October 1867 a frame church, 50 feet long by 30 feet wide, was put up on the Wellington Street lot and painted by a bee under the direction of Daniel Silver. This church was formally opened with a tea meeting on January 13, 1868; During the sixties great financial assistance was gratuitously given to the church by Mr. William Craig, of Port Hope. Generous and unfailing support was also given, and for nearly half a century, by Mr. George Matthews, a native of Birmingham, who joined the church in June 1867 and was a deacon from May 18 72 until his death in 1914.

In 1871 the Rev. John Cameron, of Claremont, became pastor. He was followed two years later by an Englishman, the Rev. Mr. Prosser. In January 1873 the Ops church members separated for business and the observance of ordinances and on August 23, 1873, twenty-one members were given letters of demission and formed themselves into an Ops church. Various mutual arrangements have been made since that time with regard to pulpit supplies but the exchequers and communion rolls have remained separate and distinct.

Baptisms at this time were performed in the Scugog River, just above the Riverside Cemetery.

On March 3, 1878, the Rev. W. K. Anderson, who followed Mr. Prosser, preached his first sermon in Lindsay. The Rev. Mr. Anderson continued in this pastorate for nearly fifteen years, and was greatly loved by his people.

In 1885 negotiations were made for the purchase of the brick church and Sunday School on Cambridge Street vacated by the Bible Christians two years before, on their amalgamation with the Methodists. Temporary occupation had already been conceded to the Saved Army, under Captain Munt, but the zeal of that brief movement was fast evaporating. A bargain was finally struck between the Baptists and Methodists for a purchase price of $5374. Alterations were made. A new Gothic arch was cut through the wall in rear of the pulpit and an alcove, in which a baptistery was inserted, built in rear. Gas was also introduced to replace the oil lamps formerly used. The old church was sold for $2100, and converted into a dwelling house. By October 1886 only $836 was still outstanding on the new church and George Matthews, then church clerk, promised to subscribe one-half of this amount if the church would raise the other half. The response was immediate and on November 10, 1886, a clear deed to the property was secured. A meeting for thanksgiving was held that same evening. The deacons at this time were Messrs. Matthews, Richardson, Silver, Mitchell, and Harding.

The Rev. Mr. Anderson was succeeded in 1892 by the Rev. H. Ware, of Chatham. The latter was found dead in shallow water at Sturgeon Point on May 18, 1893. Subsequent pastors have been:
Rev. Ralph Trotter, 1893-4
Rev. L. S. Hughson, 1895-1903
Rev. G. R. Welch, 1903-1911
Rev. H. Bryant, 1911-1920
Rev. P. B. Loney, called in 1920.

The last census recorded 352 Baptists in the town.

Victoria County


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