1864 - 2011 (~ 147 years)
||Conestogo Wesleyan Methodist Church See also Conestogo United Church Conestogo |
||congregation began 1864
||Conestogo, Waterloo Region, Ontario
||Conestogo United Church Conestogo |
||still in existence 2011
||6 Dec 2011 |
|Born - congregation began 1864 - Conestogo, Waterloo Region, Ontario
||from Doon Heritage Crossroads|
A black and white print showing the exterior of the Conestogo Methodist/United Church. The church appears to be red brick, with yellow brick trim. Fleur-de-lis trim along the roof edges (similar to that on the Wellesley Post Office at DHC). Three pairs of small Gothic windows are along the side wall(s), with other small Gothic windows on the front side. A ladder on the slope of the roof leads to a small metal chimney. The church is surrounded by a wood picket fence, gravel walk and roadways. There appears to be a drive shed at the rear of the church. No date is on the print (probably circa 1910).
- Conestogo United Church
Originally a mission operating from Berlin, possibly as early as 1840, the church congregation was organized in 1864. It is reported that the first services were held at Captain Thomas Smith's home. In 1864 the Conestogo congregation purchased a frame building from Isaac Gole (for $200, and reportedly paid by the missionary, Jacob Freshman) and services began under the guidance of the missionaries from the German Wesleyan Methodist Mission in Preston. In a letter published in the Christian Guardian of November 26, 1867, Rev. Charles Freshman, who was stationed in Preston at the time, wrote that the new Conestoga [sic] Church was to be dedicated by him on December 21, 1867. The congregation was part of this Mission until 1877 when it was joined to Elmira in a Parish.
A new building was erected in 1878 (for $1,200), and opened on October 27, 1878; the dedication service was conducted by Rev. E.B. Ryckman of Guelph. The church is reported to have been built with assistance from the Presbyterians in the area. The first Methodist minister in the new church was Rev. John W. Cooley who also ministered to Wesley Methodist Church in Elmira.
Although the official date of the formation of the United Church of Canada was in 1925, it was not until 1927 that this particular Methodist congregation joined the Union. In 1948 Conestogo was on the Elmira Circuit which was a three-point charge made up of Elmira, Conestogo, and West Montrose. Improvements made to the church from 1952-1957 included a useable basement, an oil furnace and new stained glass windows.
Conestogo became a two-point charge with St. Jacobs in June 1970. In 1992 it is believed that Conestogo is an independent charge although only with a half-time appointment.
Baptism dates: 1874- Location of records: at church
Marriage dates: 1874- Location of records: at church
Burial dates: 1874- Location of records: at church
Wesleyan Methodist Baptisms for Waterloo County c.1830-1875 are in an indexed card file at the Kitchener Public Library.
[ADDRESS/LOCATION: Conestogo, ON N0B 1N0; on the main Conestogo Road, Regional Road 17, east side of the village.]
References: Davis 1948:14-15; Devitt, WHS 1947(35):44; Freshman 1868:283; Miller, WHS 1981(69):146-150; R. Taylor 1986; Winterbourne W.I.; Woolwich 1988:1.1a
1aAmbrose, Rosemary. Waterloo County Churches A Research Guide to Churches Established Before 1900. Kitchener, Ontario, Canada: Waterloo-Wellington Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society, 1993. [used the kind permission of Rosemary Ambrose 2011]