top of page

The wedding family photo from Prophet/Brown wedding.  1896

Atherley United Church

History 1895 - Present

- The property was purchased on November 12, 1894 from Georgina Reeve (Mrs. George Reeve of Orillia).  The trustees who arranged the purchase were: Silas Prophet, Duncan McPhee, Joshua McPhee, William Whitney, Henry Whitney, George Whitney, John Allewell, and Francis Gaddye.  The purchase of the land was $115.00

- The land was to be used for erection of a Church and other buildings to permit Sunday school. To have and to hold said parcel of land and premises and use by the said trustees and their successors in the same trust forever.

We shall be forever grateful to those loyal men, who in the name of Jesus Christ built this place of worship and to all who have beautified it and hallowed it with their prayers and praises.

- Mr. Francis Gaddye laid the corner stone. The carpenters were Henry Whitney and his sons, while other pioneer families had their parts in the construction. Mr. Fran Toole, who is a brother-in-law of Mr. George Moase, was the architect. He made and carved the first pulpit. Mr William Prophet, as a young man  bought and drew the stone from Longford.

- The first minister in 1895 was the Reverend J.S. McMullin; his salary was $550.00

- The first Organist of the Church was Miss Emily Whitney (payne) followed  by Loretta Stone, Etta Allewell Irwin, Mary James (Allewell), Edith Symington (Jackson), Isobel Whitney (Thompson), Mrs. James Meacher (Helen Hewitt), Frances Whitney (Page) (Daughter of Grace Whitney), Jesse Elder, James Lewis ( a grandson of Silas Prophet), Steve Lewis (son of James Lewis), Audrey Lightheart, Ruth Ellen Shapiro, and Adrienne Davies.

- The first bride and groom married in the Church were Miss Susan Prophet and Mr. Edwin Brown on June 30, 1896 They were presented with a bible which today is much treasured by their family.

- The first superintendent was Mr. Hill followed by Duncan McPhee, William Whitney, Ira Gaddye, Lawrence Whitney, Edgar Whitney, George Ross, James Mitchell, Mrs. Louis English, Mrs. H Featherston, Lois Lebarr, Elva Moase, Donna Payie, Julie Scott, Linda Davidson, Vivian Burgin, Helene Allen.

- The ladies aid was organized following the Church's opening. The first president was Mrs. Albert Duffet. This organization accomplished much and continued to function until they were renamed as the United Church Women in 1962

Atherley Church like many rural churches has had its share of sending forth into the world men and women whose ideals are set and lives were changed by their connections with the church. 

- Feb 18, 1895 the taxes on the manse were $9.45 and Aug 4 1895 the pastor's salary was increased to $600 and Udney was added to the circuit

Page from log book dated July 15, 1895

- May 14, 1914 Lawrence Whitney elected as Sunday school Superintendent.

- One of the first Sunday school teachers was Mrs. Charles Myers.

Children have been inspired, comforted, and the love the love of god has been revealed by faithful teachers.

- Members of the Church were 239

- Feb 6, 1930 the official board met with representatives from Brechin. The following were present.  From Udney: St. John Robertson, Newman, Mundie, W. Barnes. and H. Barnes.  From Atherley: H. Ross, W. Ross, W. Allewell, and E. Whitney. From Fairvalley: E. Elder, and J. Read. From Brechin: D. Windatt, Calder, Newman, Harris, Taylor, Lamb, and Campbell. It was a unanimous vote that Brechin join the Udney, Atherley, and Fairvalley circuit. To be known as Brechin Udney Circuit.  The ministers salary was to be $3000.  The union finally came into service in July of 1933 with the understanding that the parsonage be at Brechin until such a time Udney is financially able to build one there and that they concur with Atherley restarting services for 6 months commencing May 1 and Nov 1.

- April of 1935 Mrs. H. Read became caretaker of the church

Atherley Church photo from 1933

- Jan 1937 there were 66 members of the Sunday school

- Jan 20, 1937 Mrs. G Atwell was appointed organist with Helen Hewitt as assistant.

- Jan 20, 1939 A garden party was held with Mr. Cecil Payne's orchestra providing music

- In 1950 Miss Jessie Elder was appointed pianist with Mrs. Helen Meacher (Hewitt) as assistant.

- It was decided in 1952 to change to an electric organ from the piano.  The organ purchased was paid in full Dec. 30, 1953 at a total cost of $990.00. It was dedicated to the memory of the war veterans in Nov. 1954

- During the year of 1953 there was a repainting of the interior at a total cost of $300.00

- Also around this time it was decided to enlarge the kitchen and install a new oil furnace. A committee formed for this purpose decided to approach old members, interested persons and former residents of Atherley with a view to getting financial support for the undertaking. Committee of of 3 Stewards: Edgar Speiran, G. Moase, and William Doolittle, assisted by 4 Trustees: Arnold Cook, Angus Lewis, Art Vyse, Lorne Adams with Edagar Whitney as Chairman of the committee. These men were able to accomplish this job over the next few months.

- In 1957 the Ty Ro Group was formed under the leadership of Clarence Doolittle with a total of 12 boys.  They met each Tuesday in the Sunday School room and their meetings consisted of worship, study and recreation.

- The Mission Band was formed in 1959 under the leadership of Mrs. Louise Duncan. Junior choir formed under the leadership of Mrs. Grace Duncan

- The first women to be appointed Treasurer and Steward was Miss. Sylvia Howard in 1960.

- In 1961 It was decided to renovate the kitchen and washroom and install a water pump, hot water heater, septic system, etc.  On a motion by Dr. Jamieson seconded by Harry Featherston.

- The Women's Auxiliary and W.M.S became the United Church Women's in 1962

- In 1964 hardwood flooring was installed in the Sunday School room at a cost of  $500.00. Also there were 69 enrolled in Sunday School

- Mrs Louise Duncan was appointed Treasurer in 1967 and the Atherley United Church Women's made up and sold cookbooks

- Around 1978 the Sunday School room was all rewired and brought up to fire regulation standards and the stained glass had a plexi glass covering installed for protection.

- During 1988 the Atherley Sports Centre Assoc. paid to have the Church steeple repaired and covered in cedar and later had it covered in aluminum

- Mar. 1992 the washroom was renovated due to a generous offer of an anonymous donor.

- Holly Desroches (Meacher) was appointed Treasurer in 2004.  Mrs. Louise Duncan was Treasurer from 1967-2004.  A motion was made to have the kitchen renovated-painting, new flooring, and enlarging pass-through windows. Anew stove was purchased through fundraising.

- There was a quilt display held in 2006 featuring family quilts handed down from generation to generation. For example a quilt was made in the 1800's. The women of the church and community made a quilt in the church hall and later it was raffled.

- In 2007 The Sunday School room/hall was painted by Bess Dixon and new curtains were made for the windows.

Front Row: (L-R) Grace Whitney, LIla Lewis

Back Row:  (L-R) Edna Tinsley, Helen Meacher, Louise Duncan

- 1908 a hurricane knocked off the steeple and changed the look of the church

Donated in the loving memory of Charles Westley Symington

bottom of page