Our History

Old Holy Trinity Church
Old Holy Trinity Church

A Brief History of the Parish of Wilmot

The Parish of Wilmot was founded in 1787 when Bishop Inglis, our first bishop, selected a site for a church in Lower Middleton. He selected a piece of land owned by a Mr. Chesley. Church construction began in 1787, but was not completed until 1791. In the meantime, in 1789, Bishop Inglis appointed Rev’d. John Wiswall as the Parish’s first Rector. Wiswall took a great deal of interest in the building project. Indeed at one point, at least, Bishop Inglis remonstrated with him because he was spending too much time on the building and not enough time on his pastoral duties. The church, finally completed after so many years – it took over four years to build – was consecrated by Bishop Inglis in 1791.

The parish had eight rectors during the nineteenth century, including John Wiswall, who lived to be a ripe old age of 81, he died in 1812 and was laid to rest beside the Church he had laboured so diligently to raise in the wilderness. The incumbency of Rev’d James Robertson was the longest, stretching for forty-six years from 1832 until 1878. It was during this period that St.Andrew’s Chapel of Ease was built in Lawrencetown, for the “ease” of parishioners, who no doubt found the trip to Middleton long and onerous, especially in the winter. During the years 1889-1893 the parish was without a rector. In 1893 the Rev’d. John Warner was appointed and immediately plans were underway to build a new church, closer to the growing town of Middleton. Although now centered in town the parish retained the name Wilmot, originally the name of the entire district round about. It is interesting that 1893 was the year during which the population in Canada for the first time was equally balanced between rural and urban dwellers. The move to Middleton heralded this fundamental change in the composition in Canadian society.

Fr. Warner stayed in the parish for only three years – although he must have enjoyed his ministry here, since he returned to serve in the parish from 1906 to 1910 – and he was succeeded in 1896 by the Rev’d. Lawrence Amor, a bachelor, who served the parish for the next seven years. During the war years the parish was ably served by Canon W.S.H. Morris, who was the rector from 1910 to 1924. Canon Morris was apparently a great story teller, and he left a collection of amusing stories of his ministry which is to be found in the Diocesan Archives. It was during Canon Morris’ time in the parish that the parish hall was built.

Skipping lightly over the years we arrive at times which are within living memory of many of us. In 1951 the Rev’d. Stephen Sherren was made the rector of the parish, and this much loved man served for fourteen years. He was followed in 1965 by the Rev’d. Melvin Findlay, in 1977 by the Rev’d. Don Sharp, in 1985 by the Rev’d. Ken Vaughan, and it was during his time that the addition was built on the church. In 1992 Canon Eric MacDonald was made the rector of the Parish and was very much loved also by the people and remained in the parish for fourteen years. The Rev’d Andrea McIntyre was with us only but a short time 2006 – 2007. In 2007-2008 The Rev’d. Liz Earley was with us as we began the search for a new rector and it was during her stay that St. Andrew’s Church was closed. In recent years, the congregation became too small to support it, and so on Sunday, April 6th, 2008, the church was deconsecrated by the Rt. Rev’d Sue Moxley, Bishop of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

From 2008 to 2014 the parish was served by the steady, caring leadership of the Rev. Matthew Sponagle. Holy Trinity decided in 2009 to proceed with building a new church in Middleton. The sod-turning ceremony was held on 14 December 2010 with Bishop Ron Cutler present. The church was constructed over the winter and spring and opened for services on 10 July 2011 with the Rt. Rev. Susan Moxley presiding. The new church is located at 45 Main St. next to the parish cemetery and Old Holy Trinity Church.

However, we must take a step back in time for a moment, because the parish was enlarged in 1966 by the accession of All Saints’ Church, Kingston, during the incumbency of the Rev’d. Melvin Findlay. A committee was established in 1959 to “find out”, as their report puts it, “if (Anglicans in Kingston) wanted a church to be built.” They certainly did, and on 18th August 1959, a sod turning ceremony was held, with Bishop William Davis officiating, when the Rev’d Austin Munroe, later to be Dean of Nova Scotia, was rector of Aylesford. The first service in the new church was held on Christmas day, 1959, and regular Sunday worship began on 3rd January 1960. Since 1966 All Saints’ have been living a lively part of the Parish of Wilmot.

From its small beginnings in 1787 until today the Parish of Wilmot has been, with varying intensity, no doubt, a light to the communities which it serves, where the worship of the Church has continued unabated, where people have met and gathered in the Lord’s name for worship and fellowship, to mark both joys and sorrows, great accomplishments and disappointments. And so it continues, full of life and fervour, a strong, caring and inclusive parish community respectful of all.