Trinity United Church


144 Sparks Street, Magnetawan, Ontario P0A 1P0


Rev. Maureen Ellison, (705)382-0044


Sunday 9:15 am


Like many United Churches in Canada today, Trinity United started as a Methodist congregation. The exact date of the first services held in or around Magnetawan is unknown as is the name of the first minister to be here. The congregation was officially formed in 1873 under the leadership of Rev. H. Battrick. It is known that religious services were held in the area even prior to that date. At first the services were held in the homes of members.

In 1878 under the leadership of Rev. W.H. Hall, the first Methodist Church was built in Magnetawan. Missionary Society reports held in the United Church Archives state that it was a wooden structure but do no give its location. On an old map of Magnetawan which locates some buildings, a Methodist Church is shown on the west side of King Street just north of Albert Street. This may have been its location but no one can recall parents or grandparents speaking of it. It was burned in 1888. The reports of that year state that a new brick church was being built in the village. The following years report stated that the new church was completed in 1889 at a cost of $1100.00.

In 1879, the first resident Methodist minister came to town. He was the Rev. Wm. Emsley. It was reported that a manse had been started in the village that year but no completion date or cost was given. It is the building that stand next to the Post Office. When the minister resided in Dunchurch for a time, the manse was rented. Mary and Glen Putman and family lived there from the fall of 1961 to the fall of 1962. Mr. and Mrs. Norman Stewart also lived there in 1957. When it was no longer needed as a manse it was sold to Lila and Bill Boettger in 1968. They owned it until 1979 when it was sold to Howard and Marilyn Raaflaub. It was turned into a Barbershop and Craft shop with an apartment upstairs.

In the early days Magnetawan was associated with Bloomfield, Chapman and other points. At one time there were no less than eight churches in the pastoral charge under one minister. At one time Dunchurch became part of the pastoral charge. The minister resided then in Magnetawan and objected to all the travelling required. A say supply was appointed to help him.

On June 10, 1925 when Rev. F.J. Vowels was minister, church union took place. This was the union of the Methodist, Presbyterian and congregational congregations to form the United Church of Canada. The Presbyterians in Magnetawan decided not to unite and continued to worship in their regular church building under their usual name Knox Presbyterian. The Methodists took the name Trinity United. On January 1, 1969, Trinity United Church became part of the Burk’s Falls Pastoral Charge. It is now a three point charge along with Burk’s Falls and Katrine. The minister resides in the manse in Burk’s Falls.

The following are the names of those who have served this congregation in the role of minister since its inception:

1872-1984—Rev. N. Barrtick, assisted by Mr. Much
1874-1875—Rev. Almond, and P. Lyons
1875-1876—Rev. Wm. Rimlott
1876-1879—Rev. W.H. Hall
1879-1881—Rev. W.H. Emsley
1881-1883—Rev. Geo. W. Hewitt
1883-1884—Rev. H.W. Brown
1884-1885—Rev. Wilson McDonald
1885-1888—Rev. Samuel Brown
1888-1889—Rev. R. Toye
1889-1891—Rev. H. W. E. Kemp
1891-1894—Rev. T.V. Plunket
1894-1896—Rev. R. Roach
1896-1898—Rev. Wm. G. Marshall
1898-1900—Rev. C.W. Follet
1900-1904—Rev. John W. Wilson, B.A.
1904-1910—Rev. John Gibson assisted by Mr. Albert Bushel
1910-1913—Mr. John Collan
1913-1916—Rev. A.L. Atton
1916-1917—Rev. A. Jenner
1917-1921—Rev. J.F. Hickson
1921-1925—Rev. F.G. Vowels, B.A.
1925-1930—Rev. J. Veals
1930-1935—Rev. E.O. Young
1935-1936—Rev. E. Lautenslager,B.A., B.D.
1936-1938—Rev. A J. Lawton
1941-1942—Rev. Norman Langford
1942-1944—Rev. B.W. Hall
1944-1946—Rev. R.M. Dingwall
1946-1949—Rev. H.R. Monkman
1949-1949—Rev. Salton (from July to Sept.)
1949-1952—Rev. Clarkson Smith
1952-1954—Rev. Wm. Glenesk
1954-1955—Rev. Wm. Glensk
1954-1955—Rev. W.J. Cook
1955-1957—Rev. Douglas Muir
1957-1958—Rev. Wm. Dobson
1958-1961—Rev. David Reeve, B.A.,B.D
1961-1963—Rev. George Doney, B.A.,B.D.
1963-1964—Rev. Donald Atkinson, B.A.,B.D.
1964-1969—Mr. John Firmin
1969-1971—Rev. Richard C. Boehme, B.A.,B.D.
1971-1976—Rev. David M. Iverson
1976-1979—Rev. Michael C.H. Locke
1979-1979—Rev. Robert Peebles (6 months)
1979-1981—Rev. Wm. Smith
1982-1985—Rev. Robert Hiltz (6 months)
1982-1985 Rev. Albert J. Cook (on sick leave Aug. 11, 1985)
Anglican Church Canon Ken Cleator supplied from Sept. 1985 – June 1986
1986-1991—Rev. Bruce McLeod Thomson
1992-1996—Miss Jean Pauley
1996-? —David LeGrand
2005- —Rev. Dennis Laundry

The brick church that was completed in 1889 is the church still used for worship now in 1996. There have been some changes made in that time.

The original seats in the Methodist Church were box seats with a door on the end. The seats themselves were benches inside the box. Each family was assigned a box and no one else sat in it. In later years the boxes were done away with and new pews were put in the church. There were two aisles, one down each side with a row of long pews in the middle and shorter ones along the walls.

A Box stove five to six feet long which took 4 foot wood sat half in the vestibule and half in the church with the stove pipe running the full length of the church to the chimney in the front wall. That was the means of heat for the entire church. The railing across the front of the church was made by Herb Taylor who also made the wooden candelabra. The pulpit stood in the middle of the platform with steps going up each side of the pulpit. There were doors you opened to go onto the platform. When the doors were closed, the railing was solid from one wall to the other. The Junior Choir benches were to the right of the pulpit and the Senior Choir sat to the left of the pulpit. When the choir entered the church, one choir walked down one aisle, the other choir down the other aisle. The rooms off the vestibule were used as Sunday School Rooms.

Church was held twice each Sunday, at 11 a.m. and again at 7 p.m. Sunday School was held while the morning service was being conducted. Miss Emma MacMillan and Lena Irwin were Sunday School teachers for many years.

In the early 1900s, a member of the U.C.W. donated a propane furnace which was installed under the platform at the front of the church. This served as the heating system until an electric furnace was installed in the 1980s and sits in the room to the left of the vestibule. The balcony was built in the early 1960s and a small washroom was installed in the cloak room to the right of the vestibule. The balcony was to be used as a Sunday School room and also to make more seating for weddings and funerals.

A large donation was made to the church in the mid 1960s and a major renovation took palace. At this point the two aisles were eliminated and one wide aisle was put down the centre with double doors. This allowed funeral caskets a much easier entrance to the church. The old tonque and groove lumber on the upper walls was covered with paneling. The pews went to the right hand side and the short side pews were pieced together on the left side of the church. This made long pews on both sides. The platform had wide steps made in the centre with the pulpit to the left and the lectern to the right of the steps. The choir benches sit behind the lectern and the organ to the right of the steps just in front of the pews. The wooden railing extended from the steps to the wall and was the gift of Mr. Firmin, the resident minister. Mr. Firmin also built a large cross which was hung on the wall and is lighted. The light fixtures for many years were large hanging globes. These were replaced with hanging three-globe lights in the mid 1980s, a memorial to a life-long member of the United Church.

In the spring of 1988 a start was made on the addition of a room to the back of the church. A washroom and a small but adequate kitchen were included in the plans. By the spring of 1989 it was close enough to completion that it was used for the Maundy Thursday supper. It provides a much needed Sunday School room and a room for small meeting and gatherings. It is called the “Sunshine Room.”