Settlers first arrived in the Midhurst area in 1820. When they needed a minister to meet their needs, they called upon the Reverend Adam Elliot from Bond Head. A travelling minister would ride through and stay long enough for marriages, baptisms and funerals. Services were held in various homes. By 1842, the Reverend S.B. Ardagh travelled by horse from Shanty Bay to hold services in an area that is now a dozen or more parishes.
The first local Anglican congregation was formed by Canon Morgan in 1860 and met in the township hall. The congregation grew, and in 1881, construction of a church building began. The church opened in 1883. For the first baptism, a silver punch bowl held the water.
In 1901, the church became debt-free when the last $55 was paid. Now the church could be consecrated.
Over the years, improvements were made and gifts received. A parish hall was added, stained glass windows installed, a beautiful altar was acquired, and the best day was when a furnace warmed the church in the winter.
For over 100 years, the pretty, little white church snugged up to the hills of Midhurst served the people well.
Come as living stones, and let yourselves be built into a spiritual house….1 Peter 2:5a
Then by 1987, it was apparent that the sturdy building was too small for its membership. The decision was made to build a new church. Land was not available at the site, so the search began for other land. The perfect site was found. The larger part of the lot fronted on Noraline Avenue, and the smaller portion opened to Holloway Lane.
..reaching out in faith for a building that meets our needs to meet the needs of others.
A building committee was formed. General outline of specifications called for a building measuring 42 feet by 60 feet, incorporating the stained glass windows from the old church and other memorials including the exterior cross. Sadly, the bell could not be reused, it was cracked.
…on the 24th day of the 9th month, lay the foundation of the Lord’s house… Book of Prophet Hagger chap 2 v 16
Construction started the first week of September 1987.
The de-consecration of the old St. Paul’s took place at 3 pm, Sunday, January 24, 1988. The assembled people then walked the two km to the new St. Paul’s. The children had received sponsors and raised over $1000.00 toward the cost of the new church.
The consecration of the new St. Paul’s took place at 4 pm, Sunday, January 24, 1988.
Both church buildings are a testimony to the love and dedication of faithful people working together to worship our Lord.
– Ruth Byers, 03/02/16