Knox Presbyterian Church Re-Opened
In the fall of 1947 there was some indication that the Presbytery was considering the re-opening of Knox church Stokes Bay. A minister would be stationed here year round. This minister would also service the outlying pastorates of Lindsay, Barrow Bay and Mar, now open only in the summer months. A petition bearing nearly forty names of those wishing to se the Church re-opened, was sent to the Presbytery. There were those who did not promise to attend church or help support it, but all agreed that it would be a good thing to see the church re-opened, presumably for those of us in more dire need of its services! However, in all fairness it must be stated that every fund raising campaign was ably supported by a host of well-wishers.
The first meeting to discuss plans was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Allan McLay, October 31st, 1947. Reverend C.E. Fisher of Wiarton and Reverend Barr of Chesley, were in charge and outlined the necessary steps to be taken. A committee was formed to look into the matter of buying the church back from its present owners, Graham Menary, and also to look into the cost of repairs.
A Womens Association was formed that night. President Mrs. Kenneth Murray, Vice President Mrs. Christle McArthur, Treasurer Mrs. Norman McDonald and Secretary Mrs. Gordon Saunders. Other members were Mrs. John McLay, Mrs. Walter Knight, Mrs. Allan McLay, Mrs. Dick Coulter, Mrs. Garnet Hawke, Mrs. George McLay, Mrs. Murdock McArthur, Mrs. Gordon Smith. In the summer months this list was augmented by summer residents, who were a great help in the work of the church: Mrs. Carl Hawes, Mrs. Ron Bertrand, Mrs. Charles Mistele, Mrs. Timmy Turner, Mrs. Moses Petterson, and later Mrs. Piccott, now a permanent resident, and others.
Many generous offers of help were received: Mrs. Jeanne Smith gave the use of her hall and restaurant facilities free, and also gave freely of her musical talents. Mr. rank Slater, Owen Sound member of the Tamarack Club, donated the paint to do the church inside and out. There were many generous offers of money. The church was bought back for $200. On the advice of Reverend Fisher $600.00 was borrowed from the Bank to pay for the church, repairs etc. The building was gyprocked inside. A new platform erected, and a new ceiling put in. This work was paid for by the church. Stanley Stewart was the carpenter. The painting inside and out was done by Mel Gray. This part of the work was finished in June 1948.
To select a board of management, a meeting was held in Smiths restaurant in January 1948. Trustees appointed were: John McLay, Allan McLay, Garnet Hawke, George McLay – Treasurer, and Mrs. Gordon Saunders, Secretary.
Sunday school was started in December 1947 in Smiths restaurant. Mrs. John McLay, Secretary-Treasuer, Mrs. J. Smith, pianist. Teachers: Mrs. Christle McArthur, Mrs. John McLay and Mrs. H. Saunders, (later Mrs. Ian Scott).
The first money raising event was a box social held in Smiths hall November 1947, which raised $71.50. Don Cameron played the piano, and Murdock Martin nade one of his last appearances with his violin. Norman McDonald was the auctioneer, and Allan McLay door keeper. Money was also raised by bake sales, selling tickets on quilts, blankets and other prizes. The selling of tickets is frowned on by the church, in fact we think forbidden, but since we were not to well versed on the rules, and money was on the scarce side, it was felt that the means justified the end.
The first minister to arrive was Kingsley King, a Chatham first year student of Knox College, Toronto. Mr. King was young and earnest and had a very pleasinf personality. He was a very good speaker and with only one year of college behind him, it spoke well for his future as a minister. The first few services were held in the Orange Hall, which was also being used by the Latter Day Saints, while they were building their church and contained their church furnishings.
The opening and rededication of Knox Church was held Sunday, June the 27th, 1948, with Mr. King in charge. The sermon was delivered by Reverend Fisher of St. Pauls church Wiarton. A young peoples choir organized by Mr. King, and Mrs. Kenneth Murray at the organ, were in charge of the music. Among those in the choir were Norma and Marydale Hawke, Minerva and Charlotte Knight, Sheila Burley, Sheila Saunders, Muriel, Shirley and Dorothy Coulter, Jeannie Elliott and Renee Turner. Mr. King remained unil the end of September when he returned to Knox College, Toronto. Mr. King was ordained and for the past few years has been serving in New Westminister, B.C. (1958).
In 1949 Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Lowry arrived from Belfast, Ireland. Mr. Lowry was installed as Minister and Catechist, July 10th in an impressive ceremony at Lindsay Township Presbyterian Church. Mr. Lowry was to serve the four charges of Lindsay, Stokes Bay, Barrow Bay and Mar.Mrs. Lowry was in charge of the music. The Lindsay Young Peoples choir, assisted by the Stokes Bay and Mar Choirs, sang. The moderator, Reverend Quigley was in charge and Reverend Barr of Chesley gave the sermon. Reverend Ross Adams of Owen Sound spoke as did Reverent McCullouch of Tara, who presented a beautiful Communion Service, which had been given to the Presbytery by the daughters of Saint Andrews Church in Guelph, for the use of the Stokes Bay and Barrow Bay churches.
Pages 99 - 100 of Old Timers Tales
A History of Stokes Bay and Area
By Helene Scott