A Brief History Of Inverary United Church
The 1851 census quotes the religious affiliations of the 46 families living in this area as 21 Methodists (15 of them Episcopal, 6 of them Wesleyan), 13 Church of England, 8 Presbyterian, 3 Catholic and 1 Quaker. A Wesleyan Methodist Church was built at Latimer in 1855, and a Presbyterian Church at Sunbury about the same time.
In the 1850's this district was on the Waterloo (Cataraqui) circuit of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In January 1850 the quarterly meeting of the circuit resolved to build a church "in the vicinity of Storrington". On November 29th, 1855 William bond sold the trustees a quarter acre adjacent to the site of the new village of Inverary for 5 shillings. A stone church was built, reputedly by John Richards, a local stonemason.
Although an organ was installed in the church, and money raised for improvements to the church property and parsonage in 1874, the members of Inverary were determined to have a new church. The cornerstone of the present brick building was laid on September 4th, 1877. It is sealed, but is said to be inscribed with the names of the trustees: William Ferguson, William Lyon, George Perry, and Leverett Tolls. The ceremony was conducted by the presiding elder, Mr. Aylesworth, the bishop being absent. Apparently, and I quote: "the assembly of people was large and a strong voice was lent to the services; and the ladies provided a nice spread at dinner afterwards." The minister, Reverend Ferguson, participated in the building process and was said to have built the spire with his own hands. The dedication took place on January 6th, 1878 and in spite of the bad weather, the church, designed to seat about 200 people, was comfortably filled.
The church was closed for extensive remodeling at the turn of the century, and reopened in February 1900. Major repairs to save the steeple were made in 1958 and gas furnaces were installed in 1959. The church doors were replaced in 1960, and renovations and redecoration was undertaken in 1960 and 1973. In 1966 it was decided to build a new hall behind the church, known as the Christian Education Building. Over the past seven years work continues to keep the church in a good state of repair, including a new steel roof in 1993, further repairs to the steeple, a new carpet in the sanctuary, cushions on the pews, and in 1999 a new propane furnace. Recently we decided not to hide our light under a bushel but to use memorial donations to light the steeple and front of the church. The plaque in the entrance hall indicates that the lights were dedicated to the Glory of God on May 16, 1999.
In 1925 the congregation joined with Presbyterian and Congregational communities to form the United Church of Canada. Since that time this church has frequently been served by student ministers from Queen's Theological College with Dr. Waldo Smith as supervising minister. Realignment in 1968 led to the formation of the Storrington Pastoral Charge, retaining churches at Inverary and Battersea, but closing those at Latimer and Sunbury. The inaugural service was held in the Inverary Church on July 7, 1968.
Once again in 2002 the congregation entered into a complete restoration of the sanctuary which was completed on September 15th 2002. The wood panelling was covered with drywall, wainscotting added, a new cross installed, pews refinished by members, and the sanctuary completely repainted. This work was possible because of the enthusiasm of the members and a number of significant donations of money. A full house witnessed the rededication service on Sunday September 15th 2002.
During the summer of 2004 a major renovation of the church hall was undertaken and now it is said that we have one of the finest halls in the area. Thanks to those who contributed in any way to the success of this project.