KAWARTHAS: The Trent side Baptist Church, in Fenelon Falls, will celebrate its 160th anniversary on September 30th.
The church was originally founded in 1857, and operated out of the Blythe Farm house, until it was later moved to Fenelon Falls.
In 1862, the congregation was divided into two works, both worshiping as the Baptist Church but at two different locations. There was the Bobcaygeon Regular Baptist Church and Fenelon Falls Regular Baptist Church, two congregations sharing the same pastor from 1862 to 1888 and later with the Scotch Line Baptist Church from 1876 to 1888.
The minister would preach the morning service in Fenelon Falls, then travel to Scotch Line for a service in the afternoon, and end the day by giving an evening service in Bobcaygeon.
Transportation back then was most commonly done by horse and buggy, trekking through all types of harsh weather and rough road conditions.
On January 26th, 1907 under the leadership of Pastor A. Cooke, a new church was created on Colborne Street.
In the early 1920’s, the house provided for the church’s pastor was torn down and a new house was constructed on the same site.
The church’s appearance changed during the 1960s and 1970s when three additions were added to the church, creating a Christian education space, a nursery, indoor washrooms, and a larger foyer.
The current pastor at Trentside Baptist Church, Mark Scott said, during his 36 years with the church, he has watched it flourish.
“When I look back, to when I first came here in 1981, we were averaging 120 people on a Sunday morning. Now we can be well up in the 200s,” Pastor Mark said.
He added, around 400 people belong to the church and it gets busy during the summer time.
“Right now in the summer time, it’s always crowded because we live in cottage country, and, we get a lot of visitors through the summer on Sundays,” Pastor Mark said.
The church is always open to accepting new members and the church community is very welcoming to newcomers.
“There is a genuine welcoming for anybody who is new. Our church is quite outgoing that way,” Pastor Mark said.
He enjoys the sense of community the church has provided to Fenelon Falls.
“Fenelon is a small town, so it’s a different environment then a city church. People know each other really well, both in and out of the church,” Pastor Mark said. “They are really excited to see each other on Sunday morning.”
The church’s focus is on upholding the bible’s teachings, and providing a positive worship experience on Sundays.
“The worship experience on Sunday has changed a lot over the years, from a piano organ to a full band, with a mix of old hymns and new songs,” Pastor Mark said. “Our building is really good for acoustics so our congregation really loves to sing within it”
Moving forward, Pastor Mark would like to develop better discipleship ministries in the church, as well as look at expanding the building.
He said, “We need to look at right sizing our buildings, and look at how we can provide more space for people to attend.”
Anyone, interested in attending a service at the Trentside Baptist Church, can drop in to the Fenelon Falls church, located on 80 Coulbourne Street, on Sundays, at 9:00 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.
Those interested in attending a service, who live closer to Bobcaygeon, can attend the Trentside Baptist Church in Bobcaygeon, on 25 King Street West, at 10:00 a.m. on Sundays.
Pastor Mark encourages everyone in the area to come out and receive God’s blessings.