Gibson Memorial United Church 1874 – 1997
The Gibson Circuit was organized at the Church Conference of 1874 and was to consist of: Gibson, Douglas and Robinson. Gibson included the area around Gibson and Union Streets. Douglas was Nashwaaksis (in the Parish of Douglas) and St. Mary’s Ferry, where there was a river crossing. Robinson was a community at the York-Sunbury County line where Thomas Robinson operated a mill.
The first Methodist sermon preached in Gibson was by Rev. Robert Wilson in 1873 and at Robinson in 1874. Rev. Matthew Knight and Rev. Thomas Allen were associated with the early Gibson Circuit. In 1879 it was decided to build a Methodist Church at Gibson. People had been meeting in homes and in a hall over the railway station but more space was needed. A lot of land 60′ by 100′ was donated by deed of 1880 by Robert and Joseph Macklin. This is the lot where the present church stands. The local congregation was said to have raised a few hundred dollars toward the Building Fund and Alexander (Boss) Gibson paid the balance. Alexander Gibson was a lumberman and industrialist who lived in Marysville and who provided that community with a beautiful church. That total cost of building Gibson Church was $3,500 and it was debt free when dedicated in 1881.
On the 10th of June, 1925 the Methodist Congregational and part of the Presbyterian Church, Canada wide, joined to form the ‘United Church of Canada’. Gibson Church then became known as Gibson Memorial United Church. This was first used in the quarterly Board minutes of 27th July, 1927.
The morning of 25th April, 1940 saw the church completely destroyed by fire! The alarm was rung in at 3 o’clock in the morning when the building was fully involved in fire. It was impossible to save anything. Rev. A. G. Pentz was minister at the time. Firemen miraculously saved the adjoining buildings. The men of the Church met at the parsonage that night and the decision was made to rebuild at once on the same location.
On the 5th June, 1940 a Congregational meeting approved the design presented by the architect, and on Aug. 1st, 1940 the bid from Diamond Construction to rebuild the church was accepted. The laying of the cornerstone took place 11th Sept., 1940. The Hon. W.G. Clark, Lieutenant Governor at the time, addressed the gathering after officially laying the cornerstone. The mayor of the Town of Devon placed a bronze box in the cornerstone before it was laid in the wall. The Hall was completed and used for church purposes for 2 1/2 years before the church was completed. The dedication of the main church was held on 30th may, 1943. Rev. Dr. George Young was supply minister and conducted the dedication ceremonies with the assistance of Rev. A.G. Penz.
In 1951, an addition was constructed at the rear providing a new kitchen, the ladies parlour and two rooms above these, later used as church office and Sunday School room. As area around the church became available either by purchase or donation, more space was acquired; so that the present property consists of seven separate parcels.
The Living Memorial Fund was set up on 25th Jan.. 1964 at the annual meeting. The Church celebrated the 100th anniversary on 25th May, 1975, when Rev. George E. Barrett was minister. Dr. Robert B. McClure, former missionary and moderator of the United Church, was anniversary speaker.
By 1979 Church expansion was necessary and on the 3rd May, 1981 a sod turning ceremony took place. New church offices, kitchen, Sunday School rooms, library, hall and heating facilities were officially opened for use on 15th Nov., 1981. The treasurer’s office and new sound system were added, also a new church sign has been erected in front of the Church at the street.
A photographic record for former ministers of Gibson Memorial Church is kept up to date in the church vestibule.
– compiled and written by:
Maurice P. Wetmore
4th May 1997
In September 2001, a Scholarship Trust fund had been bequeathed to our Church by the Estate of Allan Green. Since 2001 scholarships have been given out to graduation students of Gibson Memorial United Church
Gibson Memorial United Church celebrated its 130th Anniversary as a church on Sunday, May 2, 2004 with Rev. Kelly Higgins at Guest Speaker. We were honoured to have Rev. Higgins as our guest speaker as she had been baptized at Gibson by the late Rev. George Gillis and enrolled on its Cradle Roll by Mrs. Robert B. Harvey.
From September 2005 to April 2006 Gibson welcomed Student Intern Elaine Beattie as she joined us for her Internship.
On September 24, 2006 the Trustees presented to the congregation a construction proposal for a multi purpose room/choir room which would be later named the “Ron Hovey Music Room”. The proposal was accepted and the Sod Turning ceremony was held May 29, 2007. Construction started July 2007. A Time Capsule which was located behind the cornerstone (placed in September 1940) was opened October 25, 2007 at the Provincial Archives on the University New Brunswick campus. Peter Snowball, Chair of Trustees was present. The “Ron Hovey Music Room” was completed in the spring of 2008. The Official Opening was held May 21, 2008 and the Dedication Service was May 25, 2008.
Other milestone events include:
- January 25, 1964 – The Living Memorial Fund was established to receive donations in memory of deceased relatives or friends. All expenditures from the Fund must enhance the dignity, characteristics and usefulness of the church property as a place of worship.
- May 25, 1975 – The 100th Anniversary was celebrated.
- September 2001 – The Scholarship Trust Fund was established. Since then, $4,700.00 in scholarships have been given out to Gibson Memorial United Church students graduating from high school.
- In 2003/2004 Gibson Memorial participated in the United Church of Canada Intern Program that was a very rewarding experience for both the congregation and the intern, Elaine Beatty.
- May 2, 2004 – Gibson Memorial United Church celebrated its 130th Anniversary.
- May 3, 2009 – Gibson Memorial United Church celebrated its 135th Anniversary with a Memorial & Celebration Hymn Sing.
- May 4, 2014 – Gibson Memorial United Church celebrated its 140th Anniversary with guest minister, Rev. Boyd Vincent.
The above provides a brief chronological history of events but does not reference its most important focus which is its members and adherents endeavouring to carry out God’s message in the community and beyond over its history.