History of St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Churchill
The Parish was served from 1833 to 1842 by missionaries sent out from Toronto to minister to Anglicans in South Innisfil. At this time Churchill was known as Gimby’s Corners and services were held in homes. Rev. S.B. Ardagh traveled on horseback and had many missions. Because the territory was so immense, Rev. George Bourne and Rev. John Fletcher, along with Rev. Garnet Nugent were sent to assist him.
In 1848, Colonel Geroge Duggan gave the property on Lot 15, Concession 3 in Innisfil as a site for the first Anglican Church and adjoining cemetery. With the help of master carpenter William Lennox, the first church was built, a small frame structure with a choir gallery, altar, pulpit and lectern. It had 22 seats in the nave for the congregation. One of the original seats is still in St. Peter’s today. The Rev. Canon Edward Morgan was the first permanent minister at St. Peter's from 1856-1865.
When the congregation outgrew the church, a second church was built east of the old church. This was built between 1882-1883 and was consecrated on October 7, 1886. A Women’s Auxiliary was formed until the name changed to Anglican Church Women (ACW) on November 22, 1967. A G.A. (Girls’ Auxiliary) was formed and for many years was under the leadership of Mary Sloan and Betty Akers. A Junior Girl’s Auxiliary was also formed.
In the late 20’s and early 30’s all activities were held at the Orange Hall, later known as Churchill Community Hall. In 1943 land was purchased for a parking lot and by volunteer help, our first Parish Hall was built. In 1954 an electric organ was placed in the church.
In 1973, St. Peter’s celebrated its 125 anniversary and in September 1998, it celebrated its 150th.
In 1989, June 18th, under Rev. Glen Burgomaster, the Sesquicentennial event took place. On June 21, 1992, the Rt. Rev. Taylor Pryce dedicated the new Parish Hall. Rev. Carol Langley became our incumbent in 1992 from St. James Cathedral in Toronto. Rev. Stephen Kirkegaard and his wife Sandy, joined the Parish in 1996. Stephen’s new appointment was at St. Aidan’s in Toronto in 2003.
In 2004, Fr. Robert Mitchell and his wife Caroline came to the Parish of Churchill and Cookstown.
In 2008, Fr.Rob and Caroline took a new position at St. Thomas in Toronto. Canon Jeremy Van-Lane became our Interim priest while the Selection Committee searched and interviewed for a new Parish Priest.
In February of 2009, Fr. Matthew McMillan joined St. Peter's as the new incumbent for the Parish. In September of 2017, St. Mary’s in Richmond Hill, welcomed The Reverend Matthew McMillan as their new parish priest.
In Sept. 2017, Rev. Terry Bennett became the interim incumbent until a new incumbent can be found.
St. Peter’s continues to welcome all newcomers through its doors. If you are looking for a church home in this area, why not give us a try. The door is always open.
Two large binders were created by parishioner, George Leggett, about the history of St. Peter's and the ministers/pastors who were in charge. It was an enormous amount of work and we thank George for his dedication.
These are on display in the parish hall for those who wish to view them.