Wentworth Baptist church celebrating 175 years of service on Sunday

Dave Mathieson
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Sunday's celebration is fast approaching, and Faye Langille (left) and Shirley MacDiarmid took a break amid the bright fall colours in Wentworth before heading back inside and preparing the Wentworth United Baptist Church for the 175-year anniversary.

WENTWORTH - It hasn't always been a big congregation, but it has stood the test of time.

The Wentworth United Baptist Church first congregated in 1838, and the church celebrates its 175 anniversary with a service on Sunday at 4 p.m.

"My father was baptized here and my grandparents always went to this church," said Shirley MacDiarmid, who is on the 175 anniversary organizing committee.

MacDiarmid attends the church now and also attended the church when she was a little girl.

"I lived in Oxford for 30 years and didn't come here often during that time," she added

MacDiarmid was also married in the church in 1964.

Faye Langille is also on the anniversary organizing committee.

"I lived in Truro growing up but my grandparents lived here and I would visit on weekends and go to church with them," she said.

Harry Crouse, who is part of the cleaning and decoration committee getting the church ready for Sunday's celebration, also has a family history with the church. His wife's father, Alex Crouse, was the minister in the church from 1928 to 1931.

Some of their favourite features of the church is the old windows and the ceiling.

"The ceiling nearly fell down a few years ago but it was pulled back up," said MacDiarmid. "We had the structural part checked by an engineer and he said it's fine."

The church added a steel roof in 2012, and in Sept. 2013 and new coat of paint was applied to the building.

The first Baptist church in Wentworth was first referred to as the Wallace River Meeting House, with the change to Wentworth being made about 1850.

A fire swept through Wentworth in the 1850s and the church was moved down the street from its original setting.

Today the church has a congregation of about 15 people and shares their pastor, Darryl Dykens, with Baptist churches in Westchester, New Annan and Millvale.

The first pastor, in 1838, was David Harris.

Many of the last names of pastors and families first associated with the church are familiar to people living in Cumberland County today, such as Higgins, Embree, Belyea, Simpson, Payzant, Weatherby, Clark, Crowe, Chute, Lynds, Carter, Stevens and Ritchie.

Langille did some digging into the history of the church and found the congregation first met on Oct. 13, 1838.

There was singing and prayer and 11 people came forward and related what the Lord had done for their souls.

The next day seven were baptized in the presence of a large assembly.

Records show that close to 300 people attended the 100th anniversary of the church in 1938.

The Stellarton Male Choir were in attendance and it was reported that 250 people were inside the church and another 50 outside.

MacDiarmid and Langille invite people to come out on Sunday.

"We hope to have a good turnout," said MacDiarmid.

Musical guests will be singers Errol and Maureen Patriquin of Fredericton.


Organizations: Wentworth United Baptist Church, Wallace River Meeting House

Geographic location: Oxford, Truro, Westchester Millvale Cumberland County Fredericton

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