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- United Church of Canada. Lewisporte Pastoral Charge. (N.L.)
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Lewisporte Mission, formerly known as Marshallville, was visited by a minister from Exploits as early as 1842 and he conducted services in people's homes. The first church was a log cabin which was constructed in 1876, the same year of settlement and served the Methodist community as Church, Sunday school, and Day school. Lewisporte Mission had the following appointments: Lewisporte, South Side, Stanhope (Scissors Cove), Salt Pond, and Little Burnt Bay. In 1889, Big Burnt Bay (Lewisporte) became associated with the Laurenceton Charge and became a regular preaching point and the first minister was an Englishman by the name of Samuel J. Russell. In 1891, the name of the community was changed from Burnt Bay to Marshallville.
In 1901-02, Lewisporte became a separate charge with its own resident minister, having received the name of Lewisporte the year before. The preaching points on the Lewisporte Charge in 1901 were Lewisporte (north side and south side), Scissors Cove (now Stanhope), Salt Pond (now Embree) and Little Burnt Bay. Glenwood and Millertown were included in the Lewisporte Mission in 1903 and another church building was constructed to replace the first church. A forest fire in 1905 destroyed almost all the buildings in Lewisporte, including the parsonage which had only been built in 1904. Rev. Edwin Moore saved some of his books by burying them but all the church records were lost. Because of the boggy conditions where the second church was built, it was unsuitable for the congregation and they decided to dismantle the church in 1913. A new church was built and opened in the spring of 1916. At this time, the Methodist population of Lewisporte was recorded as 488.
In 1925, the Methodist church of Newfoundland entered into a Church Union and became a part of the United Church of Canada. A church was built in Porterville, a preaching place of Lewisporte, in the 1940's. At that time there were six families living at Porterville.
In 1957, the church at Lewisporte was officially given the name "St. Matthew's United Church." This building was located on what is now the parking lot of the present church. Due to a rapidly growing congregation, it was decided in 1960 that a new church building was needed. The last service in the old church was held on September 8, 1963. The corner stone for the new church was laid by Dr. Hardie in a special ceremony after the morning service. The old church was taken down in the fall of 1963 and the site used for a parking lot for the church. On April 19th, work started on the new church and the building was finished in about ten months. On March 15, 1964, the official opening and dedication of the present St. Matthew's United Church took place.
Only five ministers have served the church throughout its history. Worthy of note is the Reverend Arthur Elliott, whose tenure extended from 1968 to 1988. Rev. Elliott's name is revered not only by the congregation of St. Matthew's but by the whole town of Lewisporte.
The United Church has played a very important role in the life of the town of Lewisporte. Its history can be traced back to the first settlers, Mr. And Mrs. Robert Woolfrey. Its past has been one of continual spiritual and physical growth. The church has grown and prospered with the development of the town and is presently an active, vibrant force in the community. The congregation has steadily increased and presently consists of 500 families.
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Fonds consist of records pertaining to the Lewisporte Pastoral Charge which includes Lewisporte (north side and south side), Scissors Cove (now Stanhope), Salt Pond (now Embree) and Little Burnt Bay. Glenwood and Millertown were included in the Lewisporte Mission in 1903. These records relate to the activities of the Charge and its functional bodies which include Annual Reports, Church Histories, Publications and Miscellaneous Correspondence.
Fonds is arranged in the following series: Church Histories, 1876-1976; Annual Reports/Newsletters, 1966-1995; Publications, 1962-1988; Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1962-1964.
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