The Bridgewater Pastoral Charge consists of the Bridgewater United Church located in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia.

The Bridgewater Methodist congregation was originally a preaching point on the Lunenburg circuit. Methodist services at Bridgewater had been held in the Temperance Hall or Meister Hall previous to 1873. A Methodist Church building was begun in 1873 and completed in 1876. This church in Bridgewater was destroyed by fire on March 17, 1919. Services were held in the Empire Theatre until a new Church was erected and dedicated as Grace Methodist Church on January 4, 1921.

Around 1873, Bridgewater was made the head of its own circuit. In 1876, the Bridgewater Methodist Circuit consisted of Baker[‘s] Settlement, Bridgewater, Chelsea, Conquerall Bank, Pentz Settlement and Summerside (New Dayspring).

The congregation at Conquerall Bank worshipped at The Union Church of the Redeemer, which was erected in 1863 and burned in 1920. The congregation at Summerside worshipped at the Temperance Hall.

A Union Church was erected sometime before 1915 in Baker’s Settlement. Also prior to 1915, Baker’s Settlement (also known as Holland’s Cove) became a part of the New Germany Circuit and Pentz Settlement became part of the Petite Riviere Circuit.

The Presbyterian congregation of Bridgewater had its beginnings in 1843. Members worshiped in the Union Church which was erected in Bridgewater in 1830 and was used by the Episcopalians, Lutherans and Presbyterians in the area. This church building was later sold to the Baptists.

The Presbyterian congregation of Bridgewater was formed in 1856 as part of the Lunenburg Pastoral Charge with the point of New Dublin. In 1861, Bridgewater formed a separate Pastoral Charge which was placed under the care of the Halifax Presbytery of the newly formed Presbyterian Church of the Lower Provinces of British North America. Bridgewater Pastoral Charge was under the Lunenburg and Yarmouth Presbytery in the Presbyterian Church in Canada after 1877. Dayspring was transferred from the Lunenburg Pastoral Charge to the Bridgewater Pastoral Charge in 1890. Bridgewater Pastoral Charge contained the appointments of Bridgewater, Conquerall Bank, Conquerall Mills, Dayspring, Kaiser’s Branch and Newcombville.

An Anglican and Presbyterian Union Church was erected at Conquerall Bank in 1863. St. Matthew’s Union Church for Lutherans and Presbyterians was built at the same time in Conquerall Mills.

Interior of Grace Methodist Church. c. 1921

Interior of Grace Methodist Church. c. 1921

Construction on St. John’s Presbyterian Church started in 1848 and the building finished in 1852. This church was later replaced by a new building which was opened in October 1874.  The old church building was used as a hall.

In 1896, the communities of Conquerall Bank, Conquerall Mills and Dayspring were transferred from the Bridgewater Pastoral Charge and added to the New Dublin Pastoral Charge. The Presbyterians at Newcombville and Kaiser’s Branch joined the Riversdale Pastoral Charge.

The appointments Dayspring in the New Dublin Pastoral Charge and Kaiser’s Branch and Newcombville of the Riversdale Pastoral Charge were reunited with the congregation of Bridgewater in 1897.

The Presbyterian Church at Dayspring was dedicated on February 23, 1902. This Church building was destroyed by fire in the early1920’s but was immediately replaced by a new Presbyterian Church which was opened for service in 1924.

In 1925, the Dayspring Presbyterian Congregation entered The United Church of Canada along with Grace Methodist Church and St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Bridgewater.

There were two Bridgewater Pastoral Charges in 1926. The first was called Bridgewater (Grace) Pastoral Charge which had only the appointments of the Grace United Church (the former Methodist Church). The second was called Bridgewater (St. John) Pastoral Charge and contained the appointment of St. John United Church (the former Presbyterian Church) in Bridgewater, and the appointment of Dayspring. St. John’s United Church amalgamated with Grace United Church in 1948 and the Grace United Church building continued to be used. The St. John’s United Church building was demolished in 1954 and the property was sold in 1963.

In 1926, Baker’s Settlement was a part of the Pleasant River Pastoral Charge in the Lunenburg-Queen’s Presbytery. The Pleasant River Pastoral Charge contained the appointments of Baker’s Settlement, East Clifford, Hemford, New Elm, Pleasant River and West Clifford. In 1927, Pleasant River was amalgamated with the Caledonia Pastoral Charge. Baker’s Settlement was formed as a separate Pastoral Charge in 1953 and contained the appointments of Baker’s Settlement, East Clifford, Lower Branch (also called Branch LaHave), Newcombville and West Clifford. In 1959, the appointments of East Clifford and West Clifford were amalgamated with the United Church Congregation at Baker’s Settlement.

Dayspring United Church amalgamated with Grace United Church in 1964 and the property at Dayspring was transferred to the Trustees of Bridgewater United Church. The old Presbyterian Church erected in 1924 was sold in 1971.

In 1965, the Baker’s Settlement Pastoral Charge contained the appointments of Baker’s Settlement, Lower Branch and Newcombville. The congregations at Baker’s Settlement, Lower Branch and Newcombville were amalgamated with Grace United Church in the Bridgewater Pastoral Charge in 1969. The Baker’s Settlement Pastoral Charge was discontinued. The Baker’s Settlement United Church building and land were sold in 1976.

Order of service for dedication of new church, 1974The United Church /Christian Education Centre at Bridgewater was opened on October 20, 1963. A chapel was opened in the new Christian Education Centre in Bridgewater which was mostly furnished by the Dayspring Congregation. It was named the Dayspring Chapel. Use of the Grace United Church building was discontinued in 1970 and it was listed for sale in 1973. The congregation used the Christian Education Centre until a new Church was erected in 1974.

For a listing of the Bridgewater Pastoral Charge records held at the Maritime Conference Archives, click on the following link:

Bridgewater Pastoral Charge records listing