Tidnish church to celebrate 125 years

Church of the Good Shepherd built during construction of Chignecto Ship Railway

Published on July 11, 2017

Church historian Marg E. Smith and Rev. Will Ferrey look over historic photographs of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Tidnish. The church will celebrate its 125th birthday with a special service there Sunday at 11 a.m. followed by a barbecue.

©Darrell Cole - Amherst News

AMHERST – A Cumberland County church will be celebrated Sunday for its part in Nova Scotia’s history.

The Church of the Good Shepherd Anglican Church will celebrate its 125th birthday with a special service featuring the Diocesan Bishop of the Diocese of Nova Scotia the Right Rev. Ron Cutler. The service begins at 11 a.m. at the church located in Tidnish.
The service will conclude with a barbecue and cake on the lawn.
“It’s a nice church to hold a service, it’s a pretty special place,” Christ Church priest Rev. Will Ferrey said. “When you think about its history it’s pretty remarkable. It’s really nice to be able to open up the church for the summer and offer services there.”
The church was built during construction of the Chignecto Marine Ship Railway project that commenced in 1888 as the dream of engineer Henry Ketchum.
“It was thought there should be a church for the workers who were working on the ship railway project,” Christ Church historian Marg E. Smith said. “There was a church at the Fort Lawrence end and this church was built at the Tidnish end.”
The foundation for the new church was laid July 13, 1892 on land donated by Father of Confederation R.B. Dickey, who was in the Senate at the time, and the first recorded service there was Aug. 21, 1892 with lay reader H.I. Lynds from Joggins officiating.
The church was consecrated Oct. 25, 1892 and following Ketchum’s sudden death in Amherst in September 1896 a bell and tower were bequeathed to the church provided they were in place within six months.
While the ship railway project would later collapse when funding dried up, the church remained in the community and has remained active, especially during the summer months when Christ Church hosts weekly services there beginning in late June with its parish picnic.
“The church is still active,” Rev. Ferrey said. “There are a number of full-time residents in the area who come to the services regularly in the summer and we also hold several other services during the year.”
The age of the church results in several challenges, one of which is a lack of heat and indoor washroom facilities.
“You have to keep your services short,” Smith said. “There aren’t too many lengthy sermons.”
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