Saugeen celebrating 125th Anniversary Year of Wesley United Church
by Sandy Lindsay

January 25, 2016


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(L) Peggy and Lorraine Kewaquom have pledged to raise $5,000 for church renovations

Saugeen Wesley United Church continues to celebrate its 125th Anniversary with a year filled with events.

On Sunday, January 14th, members and visitors took part in a special 'fellowship' service.

The church dates back to 1834 although there have been restorations throughout the years.  One of its most historic events was the last surrender in Southern Ontario by First Nations of  a large tract of land.

In 1834, according to records, the Wesleyan Methodist Church sent Reverend Thomas Hurlburt to establish a permanent mission and, that year, a church building was erected.

Since then, there have been some 35 missionaries, both native and non-native with many making significant contributions.
Rev. Earl Stotesbury

Born at Holland Centre, Grey County in 1916,  Reverend Stotesbury was very familiar with rural Ontario and rural Saskatchewan where he worked in Esterhazy.  When the came to the Saugeen 'reservation' as the first ordained minister in almost 50 years to officiate at Wesley United Church, he realized that the people needed a friend as well as a preacher. 

Looking out over the mighty Saugeen River from the church viewpoint, Stotesbury, who had studied classical Greek tales, remembered the amphitheatres they created of tiered seating overlooking a stage.  He saw that it could be set into the hill in front of the church with the river valley as a backdrop and set about to construct it.

It took 10 years to see his dream fulfilled with the building of the Saugeen Amphitheatre where it has long been a destination for visitors, although today it is undergoing a major restoration.  (To read more ... Click Here)

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Churches on reserves differ from others in that title to the property is not held by the church but by the Band.

Inside the church is a birch cross with the inscription in both Ojibwa and English, "Holiness unto the Lord."

The church is once again going to undergo renovations and this year of celebration is also a year of fundraising.

Sisters Peggy and Lorraine Kewaquom have pledged to raise $5,000 during this anniversary year.  "The money will go to wherever it is needed," said Lorrain Kewaquom.  "The church needs a new kitchen, roof and other things."

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Monday, January 25, 2016