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Trinity-St. Stephen's United Church

Our History

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St. Stephen's Presbyterian

This tradition goes back even further than the Methodist tradition, and actually takes us back to the 16th century in Scotland and to 1750 in Nova Scotia.

One of the problems of the early Presbyterian Church was its many divisions, most of which dated back to Scotland. It was not until 1875 that union of all branches of the Presbyterian Church in Canada was finally consummated.

While most of the early Amherst settlers were Methodists from Yorkshire, there were also many families from the North of Ireland.

The first Presbyterian meeting house was erected in West Amherst on the northeast side of the present old cemetery there.

In 1827 the Rev. Alexander Clark came to Amherst from Ireland. He was a Minister of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, and it was with his arrival that Presbyterianism really commenced. He continued as minister in this area for 50 years.

In 1875 all branches of the Presbyterian Church in Canada united and on August 30,1875, St. Stephen's Congregation came into being. The first Minister of St. Stephen's Church was the Rev. Thomas Tallach.

On February 20,1880, the Reformed Presbyterians and St. Stephen's officially united.

In 1898, the original building had become outgrown and a new church was completed in February, 1900.

In 1925, St. Stephen's Presbyterian Church became St. Stephen's United Church. This church was used until the union with Trinity in 1936. For some time after this, St. Stephen's Church Building was used as a recreation hall; it was taken down following World War II.

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Trinity Methodist 

"A wise nation preserves its record" - spoken by Joseph Howe over a hundred years ago.

The first Methodists arrived in America in 1766. The first Methodist Church in Amherst opened in 1841 on upper Victoria St. (J. W. Douglas property). Before this in 1819 a Meeting House to serve many denominations was built on the site of the First Baptist Church on Victoria St. (same site today)

The present site of Trinity-St. Stephen's was purchased in 1874 and dedicated for worship in 1876. This church seated 350 and 12 years later it was expanded to seat 700. This was done during the first pastorate of Dr. W. H. Heartz for whom the present Heartz Hall is named.

The early part of this century Amherst was growing rapidly and there was need for a new church and the present church was dedicated on September 22, 1907. There were 2,200 in attendance.

In 1925 church union was consummated. Trinity Methodist Church and St. Stephen's Presbyterian Church became part of the United Church of Canada known as Trinity-St. Stephen's United Church.

In 1957 Fort Lawrence United Church joined with our church.

The greatest name in the early history was William Black, the first Methodist Minister in Canada. He is commemorated in this church by a large window on the Havelock side. He has numerous descendants living today. 

 

Trinity-St. Stephen's United

On July 5,1936, the first services were held of the United congregations of Trinity and St. Stephen's in the former Trinity Church now known as Trinity-St. Stephen's Church.

The Baptismal Font and stained glass windows at the rear of the sanctuary are from St. Stephen's Church. Memorial windows are also found on the right side of the sanctuary. The communion table was given to the congregation in 1941 by Mr. S. J. Shipley in memory of his wife.

The Fort Lawrence Congregation joined with Trinity-St. Stephen's in January, 1957.

The cornerstone of Heartz Hall was laid on October 29, 1961. It was dedicated on February 22, 1962. Heartz Hall has become a focal point for church and community activities.

Beginning in 1987 and continuing to 1989, there has been a major reconstruction of the stone work.

The resident membership of Trinity-St. Stephen's is 800. Worship services are held every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and Church School is held each Sunday at 10:45 a.m. Nursery care is provided during the morning service.

Heartz Hall 

In 1950, Reverend Warren L. Langille saw the need for an enlarged facility to accommodate the rising primary and junior departments of the church and informed the congregation that action should be taken. As a temporary measure a soundproof wall was erected between the sanctuary and assembly hall in 1955 so the assembly hall could be used by Sunday School Classes.

In 1958 an architect was employed for consultation and a preparation of sketches for a brochure to be distributed to the congregation.

In 1959, a financial survey and ballot of the congregation was carried out and pledges encouraged the Official Board to set up a church extension organization to cover all phases of the expansion.

Finally, tenders were called and on the 10th of July, 1961, the Official Board awarded the contract to Parson Construction Company of Moncton and construction began on 21st July, 1961.

On October 29, 1961, along with the celebration of the Church's 54th anniversary, the cornerstone for Heartz Hall was laid and a plaque placed in the Hall. The plaque reads:

"To the Glory of God and in the memory and Honour of the Rev. William Howard Heartz, we place this plaque and name this building 'Heartz Hall' ".

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Telephone: (902) 667-8483 Email: tssuc@eastlink.ca   1 Ratchford St. Amherst, NS. B4H 3Z5

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