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Welcome to Fletcher Church's unoffical web site

Fletcher Church
Presbyterian / United

{A member of the Association of Covenanting Congregations within the United Church of Canada}

Minister: The Rev. Dr. Henry Marissen, B.A., M.Div., D.Min. Ś 519-689-7285 or E-mail to 'The Manse'
Clerk of Session: Betty Vince
Chair of Officials: Elwin Vince
Organist: Joan Arner


Merlin-Fletcher Pastoral Charge

Fletcher Church

Historical Background
of the Fletcher Church
Activities & Memories of Congregation & Community

E-mail addresses

29 May 1998 - Looks like there is to be a hot time in the Village this evening. A Church bulletin last Sunday said: Generation Xodus - Following the service there will be a Bonfire at Skippy's for all Young Adults. See you there!

27 August 1997 - The grain elevator at Fletcher was closed in early 1997. In recent days 'Total Demolition' has been taking place. Now with the buildings down and the silos just a pile of rubble, another business is gone. I don't know the date it began, but seem to recall hearing that originally the farmers put their wagons near the railway cars and shovelled the grain [? could such be true ?]. By the 1950's Gordon H. Montgomery had a thriving business. Farmers came from far and wide. Wagon loads of grain, waiting for unloading, lined the laneway, the townline, and down the 6th Concession of Raleigh! Additional history and memories welcomed. E-mail


13 March 1998 - A St. Patrick's theme pot luck supper hosted by Glenda & Malcolm Fletcher and Joan & Donald Arner followed by a display of souvenirs from their September 1997 trip to Ireland and by a slide show by Joan.

13 Feb. 1998 - A Valentine's pot luck supper followed by a humourous auction of wrapped items was hosted by Linda & Elwin Vince. The auction provided an opportunity for last-minute shopping by husbands.

6 March 1997 - A magnificent new piece of furnishing this day has been installed in the kitchen of the Fletcher Church, having been crafted by Custom Interior's Dale Skipper and by Donald Arner and Mike Skipper who assisted under his tutelage.

Feb. 1997 - The Cross in the Quire of the Church was made and placed by Charles Arner, Wilfred Monk, and Ivan Stevenson in February 1967. Now, 30 years later, it has had a change in appearance and had lighting added. Work by Donald Arner and by Dale Skipper of Custom Interior.

Historical Background
of the Fletcher Church

November 4, 1998 marks the 115th anniversary of the Fletcher Church though the congregational roots date back to 1845.

In 1845 John Oswald and his family came from Scotland to Hamilton and thence to Tilbury East. Being an Elder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland and acquainted with Rev. McGale of Hamilton, he corresponded with Rev. McGale and told of the lack of a Presbyterian Church in the area. As a result of this correspondence the first Presbyterian Church of the area was formed at Valetta, Ontario.

The first services were held in the home of Angus Grant of Tilbury East. A log church was built in 1849 and in 1861 a new church was erected. The present church at Valetta was built in 1903. It is interesting to note that uniformly the Presbyterian Church believed in vocal music only, no instruments being allowed.

In the year 1861 the union of the Secession and Free Church took place, making Presbyterianism stronger. During the winter of 1875 under the ministry of Rev. William Forrest, assisted by Rev. F. Smith of Amherstburg, a great revival of religion too place, and many young people were added to the congregation. Due to overcrowding, church pews were assigned to each family to assure each family a place for Sunday worship.

In 1879 Rev. John Logie became minister and the new manse was built. At that time services were also held at a school near Fletcher. On 25 April 1882 a petition by Mr. F. B. Stewart and others called for a congregational meeting to appoint trustees and hold property for building a branch church. This request was agreed to on 15 October 1882. At a meeting the following trustees were appointed: Alexander Stevenson, Murray F. Gardiner, Matthew Campbell, George Struthers and David Fletcher.

On land belonging to Mr. W. C. Fletcher the branch church was built at Fletcher in 1883, at a cost of about $2400 and with much volunteer labour. Opening services were held on Sunday 4áNovember 1883. Rev. A. McColl of Chatham was the guest speaker. It is interesting to note that the church property was not bought and the deed not signed until 4 November 1890.

In the Fletcher Church the Presbyterian Hymnal was first used in 1884, psalms and paraphrases having been used until that time. On 12 October 1884 the Lord's Supper was dispensed for the first time at the Fletcher Church.

In 1888 Rev. A. L. Manson, a student from Knox College, was ordained and inducted at Fletcher and during his ministry the Christian Endeavor movement was started and was very active. Through the years this group took on several names, the latest was the Fletcher Young Peoples' Union. Much of the debt on the manse was disposed of and the missionary spirit of the joint charge was such as to make it the second largest contributor in the Presbytery.

In 1889 church membership was signified by the introduction of church cards rather than tokens, and communion services alternated between Fletcher and Valetta.

In March 1889 a vote by ballot decided in favour of using an organ for services. Prior to this time a tuning fork was used and Mr. James Pirie had been precentor and music leader.

Mr. F. B. Stewart must have been involved in leading the musical portion of the services. When he left for Manitoba the Session records show a high regard for his years as an Elder, sixteen of them as Session Clerk. He taught the young folk to sing, worked in the Sunday School and in having the Fletcher Church established.

As far as can be determined Miss Bella Holmes was the first organist, followed by Mrs. Robert Moore Sr. and later by Miss E. M. Beattie.

November 30, 1899 saw the Induction of Rev. J. P. McQuarrie as minister, a position he held until 1920, a total of 21 years.

In March 1910 the envelope system of giving was introduced and proved very satisfractory. Mr. D. Murray Fletcher was envelope steward, a position he capably filled until December 1963. At that time Mrs. Charles Arner was appointed treasurer, which capacity she filled until August 1998. The position then was taken by Mrs. Malcolm Fletcher.

Renovations on Fletcher Church took place in 1924 and re-opening services were held 25áJanuary 1925. Rev. D. H. Marshall of Chatham was guest speaker. During the period of rebuilding the deed to the church property finally was registered. The cost of the renovation was $10994.34 as well as $3000 in volunteer labour. The building committee utilized the frame work of the old building instead of going on with plans for an entirely new church, which would have cost at least $20,000. The members of the committee were: J. H. Williams, D. Murray Fletcher, George Mancell, P. C. Stevenson, John Lecocq, George Laidlaw, William Moore, and David Fletcher.

Early in 1925 a vote was taken on church union and the Fletcher Presbyterian Church decided in favour of entering the United Church of Canada. These two congregations of Valetta and Fletcher, after an association of over forty years, were separated. This separation was made more poignant by the fact that the Valetta people had worked side by side with the Fletcher people to establish the Fletcher Church, both financially and with volunteer labour.

Rev. J. B. Townend tendered his resignation to Valetta and with its acceptance became Fletcher United Church's first minister.

Rev. Sidney Davison became minister at Fletcher in co-operation with Merlin United Church as a joint pastoral charge.

Further history, from 1925 to 1983, may be found in the Centennial History Booklet, of which copies are still available.

Also see Valetta Presbyterian Church's 150th Anniversary History Book.

Ministers of Fletcher Church (Presbyterian)

1879 - 1887 áRev. John Logie
1888 - 1899 áRev. A. L. Manson
1899 - 1920 áRev. J. P. McQuarrie
1921 - 1923 áRev. John Galloway
1923 - 1925 áRev. J. B. Townend
Ministers of Fletcher Church
1925 - 1927 áRev. Sidney Davison
1927 - 1931 áRev. Joseph Jones
1931 - 1935 áRev. George C. Mitchell
1935 - 1941 áRev. Harry B. Parnaby
1941 - 1949 áRev. Arthur E. Doan
1949 - 1951 áRev. W. Gray Rivers
1951 - 1958 áRev. A. S. Trueblood
1958 - 1959 áRev. E. A. Poulter, supply
1959 - 1963 áRev. L. H. Turner
1963 - 1967 áRev. Colin B. Grassie
1967 - 1968 áRev. O. R. Flindall, supply
1968 - 1972 áRev. W. E. Aldworth
1972 - 1979 áRev. H. E. J. Moorhouse
1979 - 1983 áRev. Bruce Guy
1983 - 1988 áRev. Harley Moore
1988 - 1990 áRev. Vernon Bell
1990 - 1996 áRev. Lloyd Coates
1996 - .... áRev. Henry Marissen


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This page first placed on the Web 10 February 1997.

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