A Brief History Of The Churches
In Sandy Beach
St. Paul’s Church at the Basin was too small to accommodate the increasing Protestant population so discussions began about enlarging the church. Eventually a decision was made to build more churches. The first one was to be the St. John’s Episcopal Church in Sandy Beach in about 1842. Minutes from several meetings between 1840 and 1847 show supplies of lumber coming from parishioners and local resident gave land. The large Anglican population in Sandy Beach was sufficient to support a new church.
Construction of the church on Lot # 8 began in 1843 or 1844. It took many years to complete. Fredrick A. Smith, a missionary in the area, stated in 1851 that Sandy Beach Church was still unfinished: it required painting inside and out, there was no bell, font or Communion Service and the graveyard wasn’t yet enclosed.
Mr. George Ascah of Haldimand, in 1977, relayed the following description of the church’s interior to Ms. Dorothy Phillips, whose father also told her about the gallery and two flights of stairs.
“It was a very large church. Entered the church from the west and cemetery to the east of the church. Also the said church had a Gallery. Two or three rows of raised pews on both sides of the church also across the entrance and stairs on both sides of Church.”
This church served the community for about seventy years. It was dismantled and a new church was constructed in 1914. A rectory was also built by the first church in 1850 and was replaced in 1892. A report by Rev. George T. Harding in 1892 comments on the great effort to complete the new Parsonage being carried out and successfully completed.
The second church was built on the same site in1914. This church was originally built with buttresses as were St. James Church in Wakeham and St. Andrews Church in York. When construction was done to replace the wood-burning stove with a wood burning furnace and eventually an oil furnace the buttresses were removed. Mrs. Edna Cunning remembers going to church and seeing the horses tethered to the buttresses during service. This church burned down in 1992.
A third church, St. Phillip’s church from Murdochville was transported and placed on the site in 1993. The Parish Hall in Sandy Beach was expropriated so when the new church was moved a basement was constructed to serve as a parish hall.