The Town of Glen Sutton
Glen Sutton is one of the most scenic areas in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. The name was suggested by J.M. Ferres. A post office was established under this name in 1861. Ferres, who started his career as a schoolteacher in Frelighsburg, passed through the Glen many times. He probably felt he was back in his native Scotland because of the many glens surrounded by mountains.
Despite its spectacular beauty, Glen Sutton did not attract large numbers of settlers because it was isolated from the rest of the Towship of Sutton by high mountains. Until 1846, there was little more than a footpath through a gorge leading to the larger communities on the other side of the mountain range.
The first settler, James Miller, found his nearest neighbour by canoe; this was Henry Ruiter. The Mississquoi River was the highway to Potton Township, which had several settlements near Henry Ruiter's homestead.
Paddling downstream one could reach the village of Richford in Vermont. The early itinerant preachers from Vermont used this method to come to Glen Sutton.
By 1858 Baptist and Methodist groups were holding meetings in the schoolhouse which had been built in 1823. It is possible they held the services in the public house, built in 1836 by George Kellog and Samuel Heath of Richford.
During the summer months of 1860, Rev. John Smith, incumbent of Grace Anglican Church, Sutton Flats, came to Glen Sutton and held services in the schoolhouse. It would appear that during the time between 1860 and 1877 when the church was opened, the Rev. Smith and students from the Montreal Diocesan Theological College held regular Sunday services.
At a Vestry Meeting on April 19th, 1876, wardens Noah D. Leavitt and Edwin J. Esty were appointed and a building committee of ten men was assembled.
In 1876 Rev. John Ker was appointed the first incumbent to the mission and began collecting funds to build a church. A site was chosen on land belonging to E.J. Esty.
In the Waterloo Observer, the following appeared:
...Sept. 29, 1876 Glen Sutton - New Church. This place is to have a new church (Episcopal). Several hundred dollars have been subscribed towards erecting it.
...March 9, 1877, Glen Sutton - Work will commence on the new church in the spring.
...April 17, 1877, Glen Sutton - Rev. J. Ker has been in Boston to raise money to build a church here. There is a fair prospect that it will be commenced before many weeks.
The same newspaper also reported that on May 4, the cornerstone of Calvary Church (its initial name) was laid and that the dimensions of the church would 30 ft. x 60 ft. It was to cost about $3,000.
Mrs. Ker, wife of the incumbent, did the honours and pronounced the stone "well and truely laid in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost". The Rev. John Ker delivered a lengthy address.
Dedication - November 20th, 1877
Bishop Oxenden gave a speech and said that the Episcopal Church of Glen Sutton would now bear the name of The Church of the Good Shepherd.
In the evening, the Bishop presided over a large missionary meeting held at the church. The Revs. Robinson, Evans, Mills, Davidson and Bancroft spoke, as did Archdeacon Lindsay and W. Lynch, MPP.
At the time, many farms were dotting the hillsides of the valley and the population of Glen Sutton had grown to support the minister and maintain the buildings.
The Rev. John Ker was replaced in 1881 by the Rev. Lummis. A parsonage was built in 1878 during these first years of the Church of the Good Shepherd.
The Rev. Lummis was then replaced by the Rev. Henry Meek, who was replaced by the Rev. Blunt. In 1882, the Rev. Lackey was incumbent and stayed for seven years.
During the next five years, the church was placed under the charge of the Mansonville parish and the incumbent, James Coffin.
From 1909 to 1923, the following ministers served in the parish: Stacey, Nicholson, Morris, Scrimgeur, Rippon and Hamilton.
From 1924 to 1927, the following student ministers served in the parish: F. Norman, S. Andrews, J.V. Temple and W.G. Macfarlane.
From 1928 until his death in 1931, the Rev. John Rattray was incumbent. He was followed by the Rev. John Dobson who was there until 1935. The last resident incumbent of the Church of the Good Shepherd, the Rev. D. W. MacDonald, served from 1936 to 1937.
The Church of the Good Shepherd rejoined the parish of Mansonville in 1937. The rectors who served this church until 1968 were: King, E.F. Macklin, G. Slaten, G.A. Tulk and R.B. Albiston. In 1968, the church again came under the auspices of Grace Church in Sutton and remains so to this day.
Newspaper reports indicate that the congregation of the Church of the Good Shepherd dedicated a lot of time to social functions and fund-raising activities.
Repairs to the Church and Re-Finishing - 1896
During the time that the Rev. Lackey was minister, repairs were needed. The north wall was reshingled, but the most important job at this time was the interior of the church. The plaster had become very shabby and was replaced by the beautiful woodwork you now see inside the church. New chancel furniture was built and the chancel floor covered with new carpet. The church was re-opened on October 2, 1896.
The Ladies Aid, which later became the Ladies Guild, sponsored food sales, masquerade dances and chicken pie suppers.
One such event, reported in the Sherbrooke Daily Record, was held on May 26, 1927, under the auspices of the Ladies Aid at the home of Marion Esty. It became evident that if the social functions were to continue, a parish hall was needed.
A Parish Hall
The men in the congregation decided to move a logging camp house and renovate it. The Sherbrooke Daily Record reported the official opening as follows:
November 24, 1934: The people of the Church of the Good Shepherd officially opened a new parish hall with an impressive program. It is 57 ft. in length and 26 ft. wide. Built in a maple grove near the highway at the bottom of the hill, its site is at once picturesque and convenient. While there is much to be done on the outside, the inside has been beautifully decorated.
Later, in the winter of 1982, the parishioners were shocked to find that the parish hall had been almost completely demolished by the weight of heavy snow on the roof. After considering the cost of repairs, the church committee decided to tear the building down. The congregations received $250 for the material which was salvaged.
The church celebrated its Centennial on October 16, 1960. It had been 100 years since the Rev. John Smith had started the mission in Glen Sutton. The wardens at the time of the Centennial were Grover Larocque and Francis Haggerty.
A letter was sent out to the congregation which recalled the consecration of the church in 1877 by Bishop Oxenden. The letter invited everyone to the Centennial Service where Bishop John Dixon would confirm several new members.
It also invited people to make memorial donations to the church. They received a hymn board, a lectern bible and a communion paten. The letter also asked for financial help to make the following improvements to the buildings:
- Replacing the two wood stoves with an oil furnace.
- Painting the church and hall roofs.
- Repairs to the windows
- Tiling of the floors
- Replace the carpet
The letter was signed by the incumbent the Rev. G.A. Tulk and by the wardens of the church.
In 1968, the Church of the Good Shepherd was transferred to the charge of the Parish of Sutton under the leadership of the Rev. M. Brett, incumbent of Grace Church. Services were held at 9 am on Sundays. The Rev. Brett retired in 1972 and the Rev. Roy Darcus replaced him, staying only two years. The Rev. George Long came to the parish of Sutton in 1976. During that time services were changed to 7 pm on Sundays. A junior choir was organized - it started with 19 young people and grew to 34 people.
Several repairs were undertaken and the oil furnace was replaced by an electric one. The Rev. George Long left the parish in 1986 to be chaplain of Ste. Anne's Military Hospital. The Rev. Grahame Thompson was rector of the Parish of Sutton from 1986 to 1990. In 1987, the old brick chimney was torn down for safety reasons. After examining its foundation, the church decided to raise funds to repair the foundation and the west wall.
A letter was sent to the parishioners, both past and present, and $3,000 was raised. In addition, the Diocese of Montreal contributed contributed $2.000. The rear entrance to the basement was removed and a new section of wall installed. A porch was added to the front of the church to protect the doors from the elements. Additional donations permitted the overhaul of the pump organ.
The Rev. Timothy Smart became the incumbent of the parish in December of 1990.
Further renovations were undertaken to repair the pews, refinish the wood floor and kneelers, and the stain glass windows were releaded.
On the evening of September 19, 1991, an ecumenical service was held with the Rev. Tim Smart and Father Francois Tanguay of the Roman Catholic Church of Glen Sutton officiating. Dora Parker played the organ, as she has been doing for several years. The choir of Grace Church came to lead in the singing.
The newly finished floor of the church was dedicated in memory of Gordon "Tiny" Logan. At the same time a beautiful copper plate on the wall and bookcase were dedicated.
When the Church of the Good Shepherd was built in 1877, there was a steeple of some height which could be seen on the horizon, giving the building a majestic appearance. However, the steeple was removed in 1971 because it posed a danger to the community if it were to fall.
In January of 1999, the few remaining parishioners of the Church of the Good Shepherd voted to sell the church building. It was a difficult decision to make but it seemed that the time had come to give up the "family home". It had served its purpose well over the years, but we realized that for everything "there is a season, a time to be born and a time to die". We wanted to have a wonderful eucharistic celebration to remember all the important events that took place in and through our little church. On Pentecost Sunday, May 23rd, 1999, we held a final service at which some tears were shed, memories offered, and thanksgiving given to God for all that we had enjoyed in this place.
The new owner, Mr. Miklos Takacs, an accomplished musician, played the last hymn on the old pump organ, and our voices swelled to fill our beloved wooden church one last time......
Although, the building is no longer being used as a church, the new owner hopes to use it as a music studio and a place where people can come to enjoy musical concerts. In this way, our little wooden church, can still be enjoyed by those who have an attachment to it, and by those who have yet to discover its charm and holy atmosphere.
Copyright: Church of the Good Shepherd
Last modified: June 1st, 1999
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