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A History of Pembroke's Churches

(This article appeared in NEXUS, Centennial Edition, 1963 Year Book of Champlain Secondary School in
Pembroke, and reprinted in
Timberline Volume VII, Issue 5, newsletter of the Upper Ottawa Valley
Genealogical Group, October 1996.)

The history of several of Pembroke's churches goes back more than one hundred years.

Wesley Methodist Church was formed in 1835 by George Butler, a lay minister, with the name of Wesleyan Methodist Church. The building was erected in 1945. The present structure was built in 1882 under Rev. J. Elliot. The name became Wesley United Church in 1925 after church union. The church hall was completed in 1962.

Calvin Presbyterian Church was organized in 1849 under the Rev. Andrew Melville. In 1850, the initial church was erected on the present site. The present church was enlarged and changed to the present Cathedral style in 1910. in 1925, Calvin Presbyterian Church entered the church union and became Calvin United Church. The new Christian Education Centre was dedicated in 1962.

First Presbyterian Church was formed in 1925 after church union came about, when some desired to remain Presbyterians, and built the present church in 1928, the minister being Rev. E. C. McCullagh. In the past years, the building has been enhanced by many memorials.

In the Roman Catholic Parish of Saint Columbkille, the first church was built in 1851 and cared for by the Chapeau parish. In 1856, the first priest, Rev. John Gillie, came to Pembroke. The Cathedral was completed about 1874 and the Rectory in 1887. In 1882, the Vicariate Apostolic of Pontiac was formed with Pembroke as part. The Rt. Rev. N. Z. Lorrain was named Vicar Apostolic. He became bishop of the Pembroke Diocese in 1898.

Holy Name Parish was formed in 1921 under the title parish of St. John the Baptist. Rev. T. J. Sloan was the first priest. It was changed to the Most Holy Name of Jesus in 1940, because the French speaking St. Jean de Baptiste Parish was formed. Our Lady of Lourdes Parish was founded in 1962.

Holy Trinity Anglican Church : In 1855, the first recorded Church of England services in Pembroke were held in a hall loaned rent free, called the "Chapel". They were conducted by Rev. E. H. M. Baker. The first church was built in 1863-64 under the leadership of Rev. W. Henderson. In 1925, the present building was erected. It was consecrated in 1944 by the Bishop of Ottawa. The building was modernized in the 1960s.

Zion Lutheran Church: The first services were conducted in 1863 by Rev. L. H. Gerndt. in 1883, the congregation was formally organized. The first church was built in 1884. At the time the present structure was erected in 1905, there were 80 families in the congregation under the guidance of Rev. C. Zarnke. The parsonage was constructed in 1948 and the Parish Hall in 1953.

Saint Timothy's Lutheran Church: The site was purchased in 1955. When Zion's congregation became too large to be accomodated in 1957, St. Timothy's was formed under the leadership of Rev. H. Gram. The congregation met in Highview School until the church was constructed in 1959.

St. John's Lutheran Church was organized by eight families in 1891, the pastor being Rev. L. Schmidt. A small church was built about that time. The present edifice was dedicated in 1920. A large EducationalCentre was added in the 1960s. It is a member if Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

The First Baptist Church was organized in 1873 under the name of Pembroke Baptist Church by the Reverend John Higgins. The main part of the present building was constructed in 1874-75. The membership remained constant at about 70 until 1945. The present membership is 146. In 1954, an extension was added to the back of the church and the building was renovated. The church is associated with the Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec.

The Central Baptist Church was organized in 1948. The congregation purchased the White residence home of the family of Pembroke's founder. It was renovated to become a fitting church building.

Zion Evanagelical United Brethren Church held its first services in a public hall in 1876. In 1887, the congregation was organized under the leadership of Rev. F. Meyer and the church building was erected in the same year. In 1946 it merged with the Church of the United Brethren in Christ. The church was enlarged and renovated several times through the years. In 1956, a Christian Education Unit was erected. In 1963, the membership was 532.

Salvation Army in Pembroke was officially opened on July 6, 1886 by Capt. Agnes Frazer. in 1932 the Salvation Army opened its Hall on Doran Street. When this was destroyed by fire, a new building was completed on Agnes Street in 1948. A Churchville outpost Hall was opened in 1957. In 1961 the new Citadel on Pembroke Street West was opened by Col. C. Knapp.

In Pembroke, there are also other churches organized recently. The Standard Church, the Christian Reformed Church, the Missionary Alliance Church, The Seventh Day Adventist Church, the Jewish Synagogue and the Jehovah's Witnesses Church.

Posted on this site 17-Nov-1999