PEI Presbyterian Presbytery
On July 3, 1817, the Presbyteries of Truro and Pictou along with a few ministers of the Church of Scotland united to form the Presbyterian Church of Nova Scotia. This new body was constituted as the Synod of Nova Scotia and divided into three Presbyteries: Halifax, Truro, and Pictou. As the number of ministers from the Church of Scotland increased in the Maritimes, it was decided to form a new Synod in connection with the Church of Scotland on August 30, 1833. The Synod was divided into the Presbyteries of Halifax, Pictou, and Prince Edward Island.
On July 1, 1868, the Synod of New Brunswick and the Synod of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island were united to become the Synod of the Presbyterian Church of the Maritime Provinces of British North America in connection with the Church of Scotland. The Synod was divided into five Presbyteries, including the Presbytery of Prince Edward Island. At this time, the PEI Presbytery had two ministers and four missionaries.
Another union was soon forthcoming and on June 15, 1875, the four Presbyterian Churches in Canada, including the Synod of the Presbyterian Church of the Maritime Provinces, joined to form The Presbyterian Church in Canada.
Methodism on PEI:
A number of Methodists were part of the group of English settlers who came to PEI in the early years. One notable name was Joseph Avard, a Methodist preacher from England, who arrived in Charlottetown in 1806, and preached every Sunday in Charlottetown and the surrounding area. It was on his urging that Rev. James Bulpitt, the first Methodist minister sent to PEI, arrived in 1807. From Charlottetown, the Methodist cause was spread throughout the Island.
The New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island Methodist Conference was organized in July 1874. The Conference was divided into five districts with PEI being its own district. In 1893, the PEI District was divided into two districts: Charlottetown and Summerside.
The United Church of Canada
On June 10, 1925, The United Church of Canada was formed by the union of the Congregational, Methodist, and the majority of the Presbyterian Churches in Canada. The first meeting of Prince Edward Island Presbytery was held on August 18, 1925 at Heartz Hall, Trinity United Church, in Charlottetown. Pointing to the widespread community interest in both church union and general church life, Mr. H.A. Brown was appointed to report the proceedings of this meeting to the press. Interestingly enough, Presbytery met with members of the “Unionist Minorities” to see how they could be best supported by Presbytery. In this case, unionist minority most likely refers to those people who voted for church union but whose churches voted against it. A communion service was held in the evening and Presbytery met once again at 10 p.m. (!) to wrap up some business.
Over 200 years after its origin, the members of PEI Presbytery can look back with pride on the faithfulness and dedication of Presbytery members past and present.