A Brief History of Highland Hills United Church

Formerly known as Minden United Church until September 2018.  In 1865 the first Church was built in Minden. It is of interest to note that the Anglicans used the Methodist Church for weddings and for worship and that the union with the Presbyterian Church came about many years before the nation-wide union in 1925. In 1925, church membership was 102, Sunday School enrollment was 37, and membership in mid-week youth groups was 25.

The dedication of the current United Church in Minden was held on January 17, 1926. A half hour before the time of service, the bell (donated by Magistrate and Mrs. G.A. Jordan) was rung for the first time by Mr. Robert Taylor, a Presbyterian and Mr. G.A. Rogers, a Methodist. Many gifts were received that day, the pulpit, chair and communion table were donated in memory of Thomas and Victoria Stinson. The ladies donated pews, carpet, and chairs for the basement. The C.G.I.T. a pulpit Bible and light. The Sunday School, the cornerstone and a light.

In 1932, the Minden Charge was combined with the Carnarvon Pastoral Charge to form the Minden-Carnarvon Pastoral Charge. In September 1936, a special service was conducted by Rev. Clayton when the church mortgage was burned. The congregation increased numerically as well as spiritually, and in the ministry of Rev. J. MacLean Fleming, the congregation became self-supporting.

In 1958 under Rev. Hugh MacDonald, it was decided to build a $50,000 addition, which would nearly double the size of the building. The dedication of this addition was held on Sunday, May 24, 1959, and it was with great joy the congregation held a service to burn this mortgage on May 24, 1963. In 1959 church membership was 207, Sunday School enrollment of 154, and membership in mid-week youth groups was 125.

Memorials and Gifts to Minden United Church since 1985 – 1985 – Choir Pew donated by Dick and Laura Kirkwood – 1986 – Our beautiful Stained Glass Window given by Norma Snell Barron in loving memory of her parents, sister and husband – Memorial Plaque donated in memory of Evelyn Austin by her family – 1992 – Side lights in sanctuary donated by the Windover family – 1992 – Front Door presented by Evelyn and Loyne Cox in memory of their parents – 2004 – A New Pulpit donated by Mal and Joy Bain dedicated to the memory of their parents.

In the last few years, several major changes have taken place at Minden United Church. Externally a handicapped ramp was built at the front of the church, an overhang was installed over the main door and all of the exposed woodwork is now covered with aluminum. Internal upgrades include a new furnace, emergency lighting, and the church office has up-to-date furniture and equipment. New carpeting has been installed in the sanctuary and the choir loft has been renovated so that the pulpit, piano, and organ are all on one level surface, accessible by new steps constructed across the width of the loft. The labour for this recent renovation was provided by a few men of the congregation led by Fred Pratt. Our kitchen has a new exhaust fan system courtesy of our United Church Women.

We pray that we may be worthy of the heritage that is ours and that we may hand on to the coming generations a firm foundation of Christian love and faith upon which they may build the Church of their day.

A Brief History of Maple Lake United Church

On December 1, 1900, the amalgamated Methodist congregations of Pine Lake (West Guilford) and Maple Lake met to consider the advisability of building a church at the burying ground at Clarke’s Corners. Meetings were held at each of the school houses, and a sum of $250 in cash and work had been subscribed. The new building was to seat 150 people. A driving shed to accommodate at least five teams were also proposed and Mr. Foley was authorized to borrow money to finance the material purchases “Before the sleighing should go.”

Fifty men, many with teams, hauled lumber from the Stevens Mill at Boshkung and lumber and materials from Haliburton. Labour was directed by Mr. R. Gordon who contracted the work and received $115 for 12 weeks’ work. December 1901 saw the main building completed and ready to be furnished by a very anxious and appreciative congregation, who raised the necessary finances by pledges, social teas, honey socials and volunteer work. In May 1902 a new organ arrived. Subsequently, a pulpit was purchased from a Lindsay Sunday School, and a “honey social” on December 21, 1909, realized $27. At this time there was no basement and the church was heated by a wood stove. Henry Sawyer, who lived nearby would get the fire started prior to the arrival of the congregation. We are so grateful to the many loyal people who dedicated much in the intervening years from 1902 to the present.

The Ladies’ Aid (1901-1925), Women’s Association (1925-1962) and the United Church Women (1962-present), as they have been called at different times, have always been very active in the life of the church. Mrs. Middleton was instrumental in forming the first Ladies’ Aid of Maple Lake United Church. Rev. Zufelt (1932 – 1935) led a service in honour of the local men who went to serve and lost their lives in WW #1. He presented the children of Stanhope School with a flag and picture of a Fighter plane for contributing the most war-saving effort for the whole County. The children sang and almost 100 people gathered at this occasion.

The interior of the church was renovated in the 1950’s. Much of the revenue for this came from radio donations due to the interest given by Rev. Smythe of Summerhill Church of Toronto. He presented our plight to the listening public during his devotional spot on the radio at that time. The response was most heartening and appreciated. In 1958, a basement was added to the church. Karl Barry trucked the cement blocks from Lindsay. Shortly thereafter, new siding and a new roof were added. A kitchen was completed in the 60’s, with cupboards built by M. Cooper and dishes and silverware furnished by the UCW. This decade also saw a furnace installed, and the removal of the old wood stove.

In the 1980 – 90’s blue choir gowns were supplied by Bill and Myra Marshall, and Dale and Wanda Anthes were instrumental in acquiring padded seat covers for the pews and generously donated new hymn books for the choir. The Lord’s Prayer, in an exquisite piece of lace handwork, was donated by the Horsley family and now hangs in our sanctuary. The first stained glass window was donated by Robert Lewis in memory of his wife Doreen. A newer, larger organ was acquired for the sanctuary. The biggest recent project has been the enlargement of our kitchen.

In September 2001 the people of Maple Lake United Church celebrated their 100th Anniversary, with many special guests, services, and events. One of the events was a special celebration with the three churches in the charge invited, and 100 balloons were set free into the air. Also, a new stained glass window was donated to the church by Karl Barry and family, in memory of Eileen Barry. Two other stained glass windows dedicated at this time are from Merrill and Merrie Barry.

A Brief History of Zion United Church

On January 24, 1891, the adherents of the mission known as the “Brown appointment” unanimously agreed that a church should be built at Carnarvon and that it be located at the corner of the Peterson and Halls Lake road. The land was donated by Mr. A. Warner. It was to be 24′ x 30′ with 12′ walls. Several “bees” were held to cut the logs and move them to a sawmill at Buck Slide. The foundation timbers were hewn square with a broadaxe. Numerous teas and concerts were held to raise money for the construction.

The naming of the church was a matter of considerable debate and it was finally agreed that the place of worship be known as “Zion” being a charge of Lindsay district of the Methodist Church. In 1921 the Methodists and Presbyterians united in our area and Zion became part of the Minden Charge. In 1925, it became Minden, Carnarvon and Maple Lake charge upon the formation of the United Church of Canada. In 2002 the name of the charge was changed to Highland Hills Pastoral Charge.

A stone basement was put under the church in 1934 to make more room for Sunday School and community gatherings. Unfortunately, an electric storm started a fire in the church in 1952 and considerable damage was done to the south end of the church. At this time, a new spire and entrance were added. Sunday School was a very vital part of the church and as more room was needed, it was decided in 1961 to build a Christian Education Building 32′ x 70′. It was dedicated in December, 1962 with most of the labour being donated by the men of the congregation. The ladies raised the money through various projects to pay the cost of the building.

The “Zion Spire” is a regular publication that has been put together diligently for many years. It was started by Evelyn Coleman and continues with the commitment and hard work carried on by others.

Recent additions and changes to the church are: – Two Stained Glass Windows have been donated by the Russell and Harrison families commemorating their gardens. – New Carpeting and Pew Cushions have been added – The Choir Loft has been renovated – New Choir Gowns were purchased in 2000 – “Voices United” hymn books were purchased by each church on the charge. Many of them were purchased by individuals in memory of a loved one. – Kitchen is constantly being updated – New electric piano has been acquired

With many fundraising events organized by the congregation and the U.C.W. over the years, Zion United Church, with the help of the community, have continued to meet and exceed their financial obligations.

Our church is quite active with well sized congregations during the winter months and usually overflowing during the summer. Haliburton County has become a tourist area and more and more people are coming from the city to enjoy our lakes and rivers. We cherish our many visitors and their support. Many people retire in the area and many of them have brought strength, inspiration and their talents to us all. We look to the future with confidence and hope.