One hundred sixty years ago in 1859, pioneers established the Dunblane Presbyterian Church on the banks of the Saugeen River (on what is today the River Road) and, for many years, a church committee has maintained the church with community support.
One of the oldest churches in Bruce County and a recognized heritage site, Dunblane Presbyterian Church on the River Road celebrated its 160th anniversary on Sunday, August 4th (2019),
Built by early settlers to the Queen’s Bush, it was originally a log building constructed from local cedar trees and then, in the early 1900s, it was covered with board-and-batten and painted white.
The Dunblane congregation was dissolved in 1968 but a committee of volunteers originally headed up by Marilyn Scott, Chair; Margery Campbell, Treas.; Hugh Wright, Sec.; Lynn Thede and Rev. Chuck Moon, maintained the property. In 2009, the Committee received the Heritage Conservation Award for its role in protecting an original historic building.
Today, the Committee is made up of members, some of whom are descendants of the original pioneer families: Chair Doug Gowanlock, Vice-Chair Heather Gowanlock, Treasurer Margery Campbell, Secretary Peggy Kirby, and members Lynn Fryday, Marg Jones, Ross Lamont, Brian Grieve and Willa Faust.
(Chair Doug Gowanlock and guest minister, Rev. Bonnie Holliday)
The special annual service each year features a guest minister/speaker. This year’s guest was Reverend Bonnie Holiday, recently retired from Port Elgin United Church.
“This congregation and committee are the stewards of inheritance and heritage,” said Rev. Holliday. “It these walls could talk, what tales they would tell,” said Rev. Holliday.
As part of the special service, Diane Eaton played the pump organ that is historic to the church and Janet Squire contributed with her harp playing and a rendition of ‘Wayfaring Stranger’.
Also, as part of the musical tradition, Scottish piper Lesley Rae played before and after the service.