Churches - West Branch United Church
Location: West Branch Road
Services: Sunday 9:30 a.m.
The present church building was erected in 1888. Work began in the Spring and was completed in the Fall under contractor John MacDonald of Truro. The Rev. Donald MacLean of Earltown and Rev. Robert MacCunn of River John conducted opening services. At that service there was a choir of 24 and a congregation that overflowed the church which has a seating capacity of 700. The cost of the building was $4,400.00 which was raised by the sale of seats. This enabled the church to open debt free. In 1931 the church was renovated at a cost of $1,500.00 and divided the church into Sanctuary and Hall.
In 1896 the established church in West Branch was Presbyterian and joined with St. George's in River John under the ministry of R.J. Grant until 1898.
In 1925 this congregation entered the United Church of Canada and affiliated with the Salem United Church in River John. Rev. J.A. Forbes was the first of 21 ministers to serve this congregation, which is presently under the direction of Rev. Dr. Kenneth MacLeod
Dates of recognition:
1889 - First baptism in the church. Grace Ann Murray
1908 - Organ first used in church
1909 - Envelope system implemented
1922 - Dedication service for Rev. George Murray who sailed to Trinidad
1923 - Last Gaelic service held
1960 - Service to dedicate new Wurlitzer organ in memory of George A. MacKay
1962 - Carillon dedication by Mrs. Margaret Baillie in memory of her parents
1995 - Cantor organ bought. Made in Holland it is computerized.
During the years 1925 to the present there have only been three dedicated church organists. Mrs. Thomas Gunn, Mrs. Clifford MacKay and the present organist, Murdock Sutherland.