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Fenwick United Church
History of the church
Fenwick United Church celebrated its 178th anniversary in 2013. The Methodist New Connection Church began work in Canada in 1830. In 1835, a Fenwick area congregation was part of the Welland Canal circuit. Later it headed a circuit of five appointments: Fenwick (with 36 members in 1864), North Pelham, Union Chapel, Twenty Chapel and Crowland, with a class also at Mud Creek. The circuit arrangement was ideally suited to pioneer life when communities were small and families lived on isolated clearings. The early Methodist missionaries would preach at fixed times in scattered locations, in cabin kitchens, in barns or in fields with a stump for a pulpit and a clearing for a cathedral, encouraging the faithful and strengthening moral discipline. Camp meetings and seasonal religious revival gatherings added excitement to the hard pioneer life but, as the communities grew, the need grew for a permanent meeting place for shared worship.
In 1900, the two Methodist churches of Fenwick and Bethany united to build what is now Fenwick United Church. It was a simple, brick preaching hall, with pleasing and balanced proportions. Tall, round-headed windows, an entrance door finished with fan transom, and decorative brickwork added dignity to the structure. A bell tower surmounted by a weathervane completed the steeply pitched roof. The bricks had been soaked in beer to preserve the rich, brown colour, but this was not a fact told to the congregation at the time. The present building is a juxtaposition of styles with new additions in 1952 and 1956. At its birth in 1925, the United Church of Canada brought together Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational churches and the Fenwick congregation became Fenwick United Church.