St. Paul’s – A Brief Historical Sketch

A Brief Historical Sketch of Saint Paul’s

The Reverend Samuel Bacon was sent to the Miramichi area from London, England as a missionary in 1821 by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.

The location of Saint Paul’s was decided as a compromise between the towns of Chatham and Newcastle. The cornerstone was laid in September of 1822 and the church was first used for public worship on Christmas Day of 1823. It was consecrated by the Bishop of Nova Scotia in October of 1826. The church survived the Miramichi Fire of 1825 but the early Vestry minutes were lost.

Among the numerous people buried in the churchyard adjoining Saint Paul’s are John M Johnson (1868), a Father of Confederation, and John Vondy (1847), a heroic young doctor who ministered to the quarantined immigrants on Middle Island.

Our sister church, Saint Mary’s was built in 1837 and the earliest rectory was a stone house near the Kelly Road at the west end of Chatham.

Samuel Bacon served as rector for 47 years until his death in 1869 and was succeeded by Rev. WS Neales who died in 1873.

Reverend David Forsyth was elected rector of the Parish in December 1873. His ministry continued until 1930, a period of 57 years.

The following ministers have served the parish since 1930:

Archdeacon Thomas Parker 1930-55
Rev. Crawford Scott 1955-57
Rev. L M Pepperdene 1957-69
Rev. Robert Whyte 1969-76
Rev. John Moorhead 1976-79
Rev. Phillip Williston 1979-87
Rev. Thomas Corston 1987-91
Rev. Harley Clowater 1992-96
Rev. Alan Reynolds 1996-2005
Rev. Gordon Thompson 2006 -2016

Rev. Perry Cooper 2017 –

Major renovations that have served to protect and preserve this historic building occurred in 1954 and 2000. The first, in 1954, was the excavation under the church to provide its first multi-purpose hall; the second in 2000, to correct a persistent water leak and to expand and modernize the hall and to provide handicap access.

Anglican Parish of Chatham
St. Paul's and St. Mary's
(506) 773-7387

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