ON THE FARM: The tale of a small church

Glenn Ells
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About 100 years ago, my grandfather, great-grandfather and their families were driving buggies. One family story that I like very much was that my great-grandmother, Jane, used to make her husband Rufus wear a duster over his Sunday suit. He hated that garment but knew that the racing that sometimes happened on the way home from church would not be allowed without the duster.

Presbyterian churches joined with others (Methodist and Congregational) in 1925 and the United Church of Canada was born. On July 1, 2013, Orchard Valley United Church came into being after a rather hasty amalgamation of the congregations in Kentville, Wolfville, Greenwich, New Minas and Canard. Some of the members of these five churches tried to slow down the process until a smoother union could be accomplished, but they did not prevail. Things moved quickly and existing church buildings were soon declared surplus and listed for sale.

A group of people that preferred to worship as a small, rural congregation incorporated under the Societies Act, but they were too late to bid on the Canard church building. On May 6. 2013, the new congregation approved the sale to a gentleman from Dartmouth.

Since then, our small community church has held worship services in the Sheffield Mills Community Hall. The sale was slated to close in November, and, just previous to that time, we began talking to the buyer and learned that he was very determined to see his intended purchase continue to be a house of worship as intended in the deed transferring the building site back in the 1840s. He felt strongly “that beautiful, old church should continue to be a church and belong to the people of the area.”

He offered to rent the church to our group and eventually sell it to us at his cost when we were able to make that move.

Circumstances caused the closing date to keep moving until a final May 15 date was agreed upon. The buyer then offered to sell it to the Canard Community Church if we could raise a major part of the purchase price.

We borrowed from some of our supporters and accepted gifts from others and raised the funds needed in four days.

As I write this, a bank draft sits on my desk and closing will be later today or tomorrow, whenever the lawyers can find time to meet and do it. Both the buyers and seller are ready.

We are planning our first public service in the former Canard Trinity United Church on May 25 at 10 a.m. Rev. Bob Wallace will preach and everyone is invited to the service and the potluck that will follow.

I wish we had a horse and buggy, but on second thought, the potluck would be hard on those old wooden, squashed wheels.

Read about the church sale here.

Organizations: Canard Community Church, United Church of Canada, Orchard Valley United Church Canard Trinity United Church

Geographic location: Kentville, Wolfville, Dartmouth

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