Campbellford Baptist Church,
166 Grand Road, Campbellford, Ontario, K0L 1L0
A Brief History – Move to New Facilities
In 1873 there were approximately 1,000 inhabitants in the village of Campbellford. A number of people were Baptist by persuasion. The Baptists, as a group, met informally in an office on the second story of the “Fletcher Block” for a few years. The next reference is found in 1884.
In 1884, the Canadian Baptist magazine carried and article written by Wm. Peer (who shortly thereafter became minister of the church). Wm. Peer wrote: “The few Baptists that live in and around Campbellford... [a] thriving town of over two thousand inhabitants, have banded themselves together and purchased a magnificent brick house in which to worship. The house was built at a cost of over four thousand dollars, and has a splendid basement for Sunday School purposes.”
In his book The Light of Other Days, W. A. Kingston, who was publisher of The Campbellford Herald, the local newspaper, wrote the following: “In 1884 when the Methodist Churches united, the Methodist Episcopal building was sold to the Baptist congregation for $2, 000. The Church was prosperous and the building was shortly paid for.”
It would appear that while this building was constructed by the Methodist Episcopal congregation for $4,000, they made a generous gift to the Baptists by selling it for $2,000.
From and early minute book, October 9, 1884, we read the following: “the opening services of the church in Campbellford took place on Sunday, September 28th. The day was very unpropitious, but the attendance was excellent in all the services. The Rev. E.W. Dadson preached with freshness and vigor morning and evening, and the Rev. Geo. Richardson talked about 'The Believers' Riches' in the afternoon, in such a way as to delight and profit all who heard him. It is quite a neat building, and not badly situated. This is a very excellent move, and we trust that our Brother Peer will realize all his hopes.”
“During the short time that Bro. Peer has been labouring in Campbellford the Lord has greatly blessed his work. It is our earnest prayer that it may be even more richly blessed in coming years.” This was signed by A. H. Munro, Moderator and J.J. Baker, Clerk.
The Rev. William Peer, the first Pastor of the church, was ordained on Friday, October 5th, 1884.
From its beginning in September of 1884, and until September of 1995, the congregation of the CampbellfordBaptistChurch met in the building purchased from the Methodist Episcopal congregation, at what is now, 67 Queen Street (formerly known as George Street). While the size of the congregation has been up and down over the years, even discussing closure on more than one occasion, the congregation has maintained a steady witness to this community for over 100 years.
Sometime during the early 1900's it was necessary to remove the steeple which resulted in the appearance familiar to most today.
More Recent Background – 1986
In 1986, at the spring business meeting of the congregation (April 22nd), those in attendance were asked to consider forming a Long Range Planning Committee “to look into possibilities regarding the acquiring of larger facilities.” The congregation had been growing, and more room was required. Due to the limited size of our property, and no possibility of purchasing land adjacent to us, searching for land for larger facilities was the next alternative.
At the Annual Meeting in January 1987, the first Long Range Planning Committee was appointed through the normal nomination and election process. Over the next four or five years, there was vigorous effort in searching for properties. In some cases, the land thought to be ideal was not for sale. In other cases, land for sale was not suitable.
Over the years, the committee looked at somewhere around twenty properties. Although the congregation was continuing to grow, the search was not as vigorous as it had been, perhaps because the other investigations did not bear fruit. The committee continued looking, although more passively than before, but nonetheless, were convinced that in the Lord's good timing, a site would become available.
As an overall principle, we did not want to incur a large debt. Therefore, our plan included searching for suitable land, purchasing it, if and when possible, and then as finances became available, constructing a building to meet our needs.
Seven years passed before our prayers were answered, and then in a way that was clearly the Lord's leading.
1993 – Property for Sale
On October 1st, 1993, a “For Sale” sign was place on the Co-op building located at 166 Grand Road, Campbellford. At a meeting of the Christian Education Committee on October 5th, the thought was expressed that the Co-op store would make an excellent church facility. The main building was the right size, and the land was adequate for parking. Additional buildings could be constructed at a later time, as and when the need arose. This possibility was also touched upon briefly at the Finance Committee meeting held on October 12th, at the Mission's Committee on October 20th, at the Nominating Committee on October 26th, and a fuller discussion was held at our Fall Business meeting on October 28th.
Fall Business Meeting – Thursday, October 28th 1993
The following minute was recorded: “There was a discussion concerning a local property [Co-op building on Grand Road] currently for sale. It was agreed that the Long Range Planning Committee should meet immediately and investigate the possibility of purchasing the said property.”
LongRange Planning Committee Meeting, November 1, 1993
The prime purpose of the meeting was to discuss the advisability of purchasing new property and building facilities for use by the congregation. The Co-op property and buildings at 166 Grand Road, Campbellford were for sale, and this became the main focus of our discussion.
Potential New Facilities
After discussion it was agreed that the Co-op property and buildings would meet our perceived needs for many years to come. Following are some of the positive points discussed.
Location – Excellent, in town, and within walking distance.
Main Building – Can be used almost immediately.
Other Buildings – May have good use in future.
Land Site – Plenty of room for parking and for expansion.
Building Space – There are rooms that could be used for a church office, library and for storage.
Construction – The building is of substantial construction.
Handicap Accessible – All facilities are on one floor, with easy entrance.
After further discussion the following motion was passed: “That we make an offer to purchase the Co-op at 166 Grand Road, Campbellford ... with the following conditions:
- subject to rezoning
- no environmental problems
- raising of sufficient finances
- an affirmative vote of the congregation
An Offer to Purchase was presented, and after the offer and counter offers and negotiations, at a Congregational meeting held on December 2, 1993, the following motion was presented:
1993 Congregational Meeting
“That the congregation of the Campbellford Baptist Church approves the purchase of the Co-op property from United Co-operatives of Ontario on the west side of Grand Road, known as 166 Grand Road, Campbellford … and for use as a church property, as outlined in the 'Offer to Purchase' including stated conditions, dated November 26, 1993. Carried.” The final purchase price agreed to was $260,000.
1994 Assumed Ownership
On March 25, 1994, the transfer of the deed for 166 Grand Road, Campbellford, took place, and the Trustees, on behalf of the congregation of the CampbellfordBaptistChurch, assumed ownership.
Service of Thanksgiving
On Sunday, March 27, 1994, a “Brief Service of Thanksgiving, Prayer and Dedication” was held at 6:30 p.m. at the newly acquired property on the occasion of the ”possession of land and buildings at 166 Grand Road, the future new home of the Campbellford Baptist Church.”
For the rest of 1994 and 1995, renovations proceeded with well over 13,000 volunteer hours donated by members of our congregation, community and friends, in order to complete the work that needed to be done.
Saturday, June 4, 1994 was a day to remember. Over thirty people were on hand to rebuild that “Western Wall” of the building. Work began before 8:00 a.m. and the last piece of scaffolding was taken down at 8:00 p.m. It set the stage for many hours of further work in order to renovate the building for maximum use to the glory of God.
1995 – Last Service in FormerBuilding at 67 Queen Street
The last worship service in our former building was held on Sunday, September 10, 1995. The building was packed, with the congregation sitting on chairs borrowed for the occasion. Chairs were used because the pews had been removed the week before to be installed in the new building.
First Service in New Building at 166 Grand Road
The first worship service at our new location was held on September 17, 1995. The service was well attended, and even with much more space, when the congregation spread out, it became apparent that the new facilities were going to be well used.
The Grand Opening was held on October 22, 1995 on the occasion of the celebration of our 111th Anniversary at 3:00 p.m. People from our community, other churches, sister Baptist churches in the Trent Valley Association and Convention were invited, To the glory of God, over 659 people attended, and an offering in excess of $12,000 was received to be used for payment off the mortgage.
1996 – Sale of our FormerBuilding
On May 10, 1996, our former church building at 67 Queen Street, home of our congregation for 111 years, changed ownership from the Trustees of the church to become the new home of “Cathy's Floral Design.”
Various Statistics Regarding Our New Worship Centre
Overall size: approximately 60' x 120'
Sanctuary Seating Capacity: 250+
Sit-down capacity for meals: about 150
Various facilities: Library, Fellowship Room, Prayer Room, Sunday School Rooms, Nursery Kitchen, Gym, Spacious Vestibule, Church Office, Family Rooms in Balcony
Picture – 1995 exterior appearance
A Transition Team of five people from the congregation (Beryl Nicholas, Gordon Osborne, Donna Phair (secretary), David Smallwood and Robert Thomas) was elected early in 1994 to coordinate the smooth transfer from the old building to our new one, and was charged with the responsibility of making all of the decisions necessary to make it happen. This included decisions regarding all renovations to the new building. An awesome responsibility! As chair of the Property Committee, Peter Smallwood attended all meetings, as did the Pastor, the Rev. Lionel Pye.
1994 – Baptist Busy Bees
In the year 1994, the ladies of our church formed an informal group to raise money through a church property-based “Indoor Yard Sale.” It had humble beginnings and has grown substantially over the past number of years.
Both women and men are involved, all on a volunteer basis, and the Yard Sale is open from mid-May to mid-October, operating every Thursday, Friday and Saturday – and holiday Mondays. People of the congregation and of the community contribute their “throwaway” items, which in turn are sold by the Baptist Busy Bees. Through this group, many people throughout our community have benefited. It has become a great ministry of outreach.
Our building located on the south end of our property has been used for this purpose.
The Baptist Busy Bees have contributed substantially to many projects both within and without the church. Within the church they paid for the portico and steeple, the addition to the kitchen and storage area, the acoustical tiles in the Sunday School hall, extra air conditioners and our new multi-media projector.
Outside the church, they have contributed to our local hospital, the Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec, McMaster Divinity College, and in support of our two missionary families.
Improvements to our Worship Centre
2000 – Addition of Portico and Steeple and New Front Doors
The new portico was constructed during the summer, and on August 15th the steeple was hoisted into position. About 40 people were present for the occasion.
2001 – Expansion of Kitchen and Addition of a Storage Area; Paving of Back Parking Lot
Through a generous gift from George Vesterfelt, we were able to pave the back parking lot, which was completed in the fall of 2001.
2002 – Installation of New Padded Pews
Also through George Vesterfelt’s generosity, we purchased new pews which were installed for use by Sunday, February 10th.
Our sanctuary is a calm and beautiful setting in which to worship our Lord.
CampbellfordBaptistChurch as it appears today, 2006.