Hay Bay Church Service Outside

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The annual pilgrimage service to Old Hay Bay Church is held outdoors.

Weather permitting, this year’s service will be held on the east lawn of the church for a traditional Methodist-style camp meeting.

Keepers will be on hand to show the history of the Methodist religion, the United Empire Loyalists who established homes and farms in the area and general local history.

The church was built just eight years after the Loyalists arrived in the area.

It is the oldest Methodist church in Canada, built on farmland owned by Paul Huff just eight years after the Loyalists arrived.

It was Upper Canada’s first “meeting house”.

Board chair Elaine Farley told Quinte News they all came together to help build it.

“Were from mixed cultures, mixed religions, but they came together under the Methodist Church and built what was at the time a very large structure.”

Farley added: “They closed Hay Bay. It was sold, became a barn. Sold to local farmer.
It was not until 1910 that the Methodist Church of Canada was able to redeem it, realizing that it was an important historic site, a very special site where many, many people had travelled, not only their ancestors , but also people kept coming to church even when it was a barn to see her. And when the council in the early 1920s decided to hold a service, they called it a pilgrimage service because so many descendants came back.

“We had it outdoors last year due to COVID restrictions, but there were so many people saying what a wonderful experience it was to visit the church and then have the service there. ‘outside.”

She explained: “We are currently working on some of the interior upgrades. We have cabinets, display cases, which will be made this summer to go to the back of the church so that we can better secure some of our artifacts and make them available to people. We plan to install a new fence around the cemetery. We made some improvements to the chalet while it was closed as it was the easiest time”

The annual service will be held on Sunday, August 28, at 3:00 p.m., on the east lawn of the church, weather permitting.

The guest speaker is Dr. William (Bill) Smith and the service will be led by the Reverend Phil Hobbs.

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