"We are living in an ever-changing world, in which we strive to be a visible sign of God's presence and love."
First United Church, Bathurst, Mission Statement
First United Church has historical roots in two congregations: St. Luke’s Presbyterian (Church of Scotland),1829, and Trinity Methodist Church, 1830. The Trinity Methodist sanctuary was built in 1832 and St. Luke’s Presbyterian in 1839.
A former St. Luke’s sanctuary was destroyed by fire in 1915. It was replaced by a new building two years later in close proximity to Trinity in what is now known as the city’s downtown core. It is interesting to note that this construction coincided, within a five-year period, with the incorporation of the Town of Bathurst and the construction of the local pulp and paper mill.
Trinity Methodist church was remodelled in 1916 after being rebuilt in earlier years.
Following official church union in 1925, the two congregations maintained separate identities until 1941 when merger created First United Church. Worship services were held in St. Luke’s United while Trinity United became the centre for Sunday School, midweek groups, funerals and other service functions.
In 1947 the Donald Eddy Memorial Hall was built on a separate site to provide much-needed facilities for education and recreation.
By November 15, 1998 the original church structures were demolished and a new $1.4 million building, attached to the hall, was dedicated as First United Church. This new building is now debt-free.
The original edifices were testimony to the faith of their founding congregations; just as the new First United Church building is an affirmation of the faith and vision of the present church membership. That faith is incorporated in the mission statement for the pastoral charge.
First United Church and its predecessors have sponsored a number of youth entering full-time ministry service. This list includes the late Dr. Ralph Chalmers who was chair of systematic theology at both Pine Hill Divinity Hall in Halifax and St. Andrew’s College in Saskatoon. Others entering ministry service include Rev. J. Clair Johnson, Rev. Roy DeMarsh, Rev. Heber Kean, Rev. Helene Manning and Marion Ronalds, who received professional training as a teacher, nurse and Christian Education worker before embarking upon full-time church service.
The longest-serving ordained minister at First United was Rev. Dr. E. Russell Woodside who served from 1949 to 1963.
Our most recent ministry personnel include Rev. Jim Forbes and Rev. Carolyn Palmer, Rev. William MacLeod, Rev. Keith Adams and Rev. Blair Lewis.