HISTORY OF THE ORIGINAL CHURCH BUILDING
“We must go back to the early days of settlement, to trace the story of Presbyterianism in this area. Ministers travelled over scattered districts to conduct services and administer the Sacraments to Presbyterians, and others, well over 100 years ago.” Written by the Session of Gamebridge Presbyterian Church -1953
The first grant of one acre of land was made by William McBain and his wife, Janet McBain on the first day of December 1866. The deed was registered on the first day of January 1867.
A frame church was erected close to the Talbot River, on the north side, in Mara Township, Ontario County. Trustees were John McGregor, Nicol Campbell, and Malcolm Montgomery. The date of organization was not recorded. The name given was South Mara Presbyterian Church.
In 1868 a white brick church, seating two hundred was built. Who preached and dedicated the church was not recorded. The Rev. John McLachlan was the first resident minister.
In 1879, on the fourteenth day of April, one-half acre of land adjoining, in consideration of fifty dollars, was purchased from David McBain and his wife Catherine McBain. The deed was registered on April 19th, 1879. Trustees at this time were Michael Simpson, Neil Westcott and John McKay.
MINISTERS WHO SERVED
Rev, John McLachlan
Rev. John McNabb
Rev. G. E. Patterson
Rev. D. C. Johnston
Rev. M. N. Bethune
Rev. K. J. McDonald, 1896-1900
Rev. A. C. Wishart, 1900-1906
Rev. W. W. McRae, 1907-1910
Rev. T. A. Symington, 1910-1913
HISTORY OF THE PRESENT CHURCH BUILDING, 1913-2008
In 1913 the congregation decided to replace the white brick church with a more adaptable building; the present structure. Approximate cost, including volunteer labour was $7,500 to $8,000. It was dedicated on the 28th of December 1913 by Dr. Alfred Gandier, then Principal of Knox College, Toronto. Rev. T. A. Symington was the resident minister until June 1914. Up to that time the Gamebridge and Knox Presbyterian Church, Beaverton were one charge.
In June 1914, Knox Beaverton and St. Andrew’s, Beaverton united, creating a self-sustainable charge, and leaving Gamebridge without a minister or a manse. During 1914-15 and part of 1916, Knox Gamebridge carried on with student supply. In 1916 a fine manse was erected at a cost of approximately $4,000 that was later sold in 1946 for $3,025.
Late in 1917, by amalgamation the Church joined with the Brechin Methodist Church, under our Presbytery. We became one charge and remained that way until the disruption in 1925, when the amalgamation was dissolved on June 10th.
Following church union, we again joined with the Beaverton Presbyterian congregation and have remained as one charge since then.
MINISTERS WHO SERVED
Rev, T, A, Symington, 1910-1914
Rev. G. M. Chidley, 1916-1918
Rev. D. A. McKenzie, 1918-1924
Rev. W. G. Rose, 1925-June 1925
Rev. A. W. Hare, 1925-1933
Rev. G. M. Jamieson, 1933-1939
Rev. Malcolm C. Young, 1940-1950
Rev. Hugh Wilson, 1950-1952
Rev. Murdo McInnis, 1953-1958
William Kempla, 1958-1960 (student)
Rev. W. H. FitzSimons, 1960-1965
Dr. James D. Smart, 1965-1966
Rev. William FitzSimons, 1966-1972
Rev. Donald Hanley, 1973-1978
Rev. Frank DeVries, 1978-1985
Rev. Dennis Freeman, 1986-1992
Rev. Donald Madole, 1993-1996
Rev. Byron Grace, 1997 to present
Elders who served and gave guidance together with the ministers in promoting and administering the Scriptural progress of the churches for over 140 years.
-John McNabb, Nicol Campbell, Malcolm Montgomery, Alexander Campbell, Donald Calder, Angus McDougall, Duncan McNabb, John McKay, John Windatt, William Stewart, Donald Gilchrist, W. A. Barrett, Duncan McCuaig, Peter Windatt, Peter McDougall, A. D. Carson, James J. Fisher, Angus Gilchrist, Peter Gilchrist, Duncan McCuaig, Willaim Wallace, Harry Furniss, Clarence Hewitt, Grant Windatt, Archie Wither, Harvey Westcott, Ilene Hewitt, Jackie Brodie, Roberta Mitchell, Jim Westcott, Hilda Howard, Mary Currie, Bill McEachren, Ed Alexander, George Francis, Don Grant, Herb Furniss, Barry Grant, Jan Toebes.
The brass collection plates were donated by Lillie Windatt in memory of her husband Grant in 1979.
The leaf quilt on the back was crafted by the ladies of the church. The names embroidered are those who contributed to the new church roof 1985-86.
The church organ was donated by Dennis Campbell.
The Communion Table was presented as a memorial to the late Miss Jessie McBain, who during her lifetime, was a valued member of the church.
The purchase of the brass cross was suggested and began by Mrs. McCourt and was later purchased by the Women’s Association.
The Baptismal Font was presented by the session.
The cabinet holding the communion vessels was made by Harry Furniss from wood donated by Jim Westcott. It was dedicated by Rev. K. Hinkey in December 1992.
The hymn books were presented in memory of Nora Furniss.
The Holy Bible on the lectern was presented by Mrs. Webber, in memory of her husband John.
The lectern was presented by Mrs. Sid Fodden, in memory of her aunt Miss Margaret Gilchrist, an ardent member for many years.
The advent candle holder was made by Donald Westcott and presented in memory of his brother David Westcott and Elmer Calder.
The piano was “Dedicated to the Glory of God. In Loving Memory of Harry and Elizabeth Furniss by Herb and Audrey Furniss June 27, 1999”.