Methodism in Canada Memorial

Memorial archway at Point de Bute Cemetery,
Point de Bute, N.B.
This memorial archway dedicated in 1925 designates this site as one of the most important for the history of Methodism in Canada. Two of the plaques on the arch reflect differing views of the origins of Methodism in this area. Methodism gave an important place to lay leadership which could flourish without church buildings or ordained clergy. Thus many of the Yorkshire settlers who arrived in the Chigneto area in 1772-1775 brought their Methodist faith with them and immediately met for worship, Bible reading and mutual encouragement in one anothers’ homes. In this sense “Methodism began in Canada in 1772.”
Plaque on left side of archway unveiled 30 May 1925. Methodism began in Canada in 1772 with the arrival in Amherst, Point de Bute, and Sackville of settlers from Yorkshire, England. Near this spot, the first Methodist church in Canada – a stone building with thatch roof – was erected in 1788.
The above plaque was placed in 1925 at which time Newfoundland was not part of Canada (it became a province and entered Canada in 1949). A Methodist chapel was erected in Blackhead, Conception Bay, Newfoundland in 1769 and thus must be considered as the earliest Methodist church in present-day Canada. Nor is it certain that if we confine ourselves to mainland Canada (excluding Newfoundland) that the Pointe de Bute church building was the earliest. Claims have been made for Methodist chapels in Shelburne, N.S. (in 1786) and Halifax, N.S. (in 1787). What is more certain is that Point de Bute was the site of the first persisting Methodist congregation in mainland Canada (1772).
On the origins of Methodism in the Chignecto area, see

Milner, W.C., History of Sackville New Brunswick (Sackville, N.B.: The Tribune Press, 1934), pp. 56 – 61.

Penner, Peter, The Chignecto ‘Connexion’; The History of Sackville Methodist/United Church, 1772-1990 (Sackville, N.B.: Sackville United Church, 1990), Chapter I.

Whiteley, M.F., ” ‘Cumberland is a Wicked Place,’ Yorkshire Methodists and the Usefulness of Tradition,” in Bogaard, P., Ed., Yorkshire Immigrants to Atlantic Canada: Papers from the Yorkshire 2000 Conference (Sackville, N.B.: Tantramar Heritage Trust, 2012), pp.139-154.

Hay, Eldon, “Point de Bute – First Methodist Church in Canada?”, in Semple, Neil, ed., Canadian Methodist Historical Society Papers, 1987, pp. 48-69.

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