Churches - Burns Memorial Presbyterian
Location: 10 West Branch Road
Services: Every 2nd Sunday, 9:30 a.m.
Minister: Rev. Lara Scholey
Telephone: (902) 485-8716
Clerk of Session: Mrs. Ester Bain 485-8183
Elders: Mrs. Grace Hawboldt 485-6178
Mrs. Alice Langille 351-2347
Prior to 1825, Presbyterian services in West Branch were held in barns and in the beach grove in what was known as the "Harbourne" field. After a school house was built in 1825, services were held there under the auspices of the Church of Scotland. The first church was built in 1837, with services beginning in 1838, although the building was not completed until 1842.
In 1896, the Congregation joined the Presbyterian Church in Canada, and was combined with St. Georges Church, River John. In the vote on Church Union in 1925, the majority voted for Union. The Continuing Presbyterians (in West Branch) formed a congregation and were linked with Bethel Presbyterian Church, in Scotsburn. The Community Hall was used for services at first, but a decision was made in 1926 to build a church, 24' wide and 50' long, with a vestry and kitchen added. The building lot was donated by Robert A. Rae. On June 26, 1927, the new church was opened. It was called Burns Memorial after the young congregations first minister, the Rev. J. A. Stead Burns, who had died in 1926. "Immense Throngs Attended The Four Services In Connection With The Opening And Dedication of Burns Memorial Church."
Considerable sacrifice was involved on the part of the little congregation in building their church. For example, one man, Robert Fowler, regretted that he did not have a great deal of money to give, but that he did have a supply of clap-boards, which he would donate. The gift covered 75% of the exterior of the Church. Robert Rae was head carpenter, assisted by Alex W. Sutherland, and Robert Langille. With much volunteer labour, the Church was built at a total cost of $4014.26. At the first Anniversary Service in 1928 the congregation was debt-free.
In 2000 Louise ( Coventry) Langille named Burns Memorial as beneficiary in her estate. This gift gave the congregation the means to upgrade the building and property.
Renovations were completed in 2002. A foundation and furnace were installed. Water pipes were laid across the road to the West Branch Community Hall allowing for installation of a septic system and bathroom. The interior of the main body of the church is unchanged. The new windows, ramp, siding, entry doors and roof have been done to keep the historical integrity of the building.