Burton Church

Burton Church

Edward Burpee, one of the early settlers from New England who relocated to the Saint John River Valley in 1763, pre-loyalist era, established his residence in a house later owned by Eugene and Ethel Burpee. Some of the land he possessed was dedicated to a cemetery, and later, his son, Moses C. Burpee, generously donated a piece of it for the construction of a church.

Many of Burton’s first inhabitants, including Edward Burpee, originated from pre-loyalist and puritan ancestry. Despite lacking a dedicated church building for a considerable time, their faith was undeterred. They joined others across the river for public worship and likely held prayer meetings and religious teachings in private residences, similar to their neighbors across the river.

The first documented instance of a Methodist Church in Burton dates back to November 7th, 1848, when a meeting was convened to discuss the construction of a “Methodist Meeting-house.”

The meeting’s consensus was to construct the building on land adjacent to the cemetery. Moses C. Burpee generously offered the required land, later transferring the deed to the Trustee Board, which included James Gordon, John McGowan, William Thompson, and John Phinney. Additionally, an agreement was reached to solicit subscriptions for the building’s construction.

A subsequent meeting on November 22, 1848, detailed the building’s dimensions as 28 X 36 feet, with 15 ft. posts. A building committee was formed, comprising Moses C. Burpee, William Thompson, William McGowan, William Kilpatrick, and George N. Gordon. They agreed to the provision of materials and labor, with the expectation that the lumber would be delivered by the end of April. Jacob Barker pledged that the foundation would be complete by May 15th, 1849.burton church 1

Across the river, a Congregational Church was established soon after the 1763 settlers’ arrival. Their first resident minister was Rev. Seth Noble. Rev. William Black, a pioneering minister visiting Sheffield, organized the first Methodist Class – meeting in 1792, and a Methodist Church was established there in 1818. Several Burton residents were affiliated with the Sheffield Methodists much before the Burton “meeting house” was built. Once the Burton structure was finished, the new congregation expressed their hardship in crossing the river for worship in Sheffield in a letter to the Methodist Conference in Woodstock in 1852. The letter also announced the completion of a well-built chapel in Burton, requesting a young minister’s assignment to Burton, with additional duties at Gagetown and Oromocto under Sheffield’s minister’s oversight. The scarcity of ministers caused a delay in fulfilling this request, but a circuit was finally established in 1854 with Burton as the lead, and Rev. George S. Milligan, M.A., a young, erudite Scotsman, as minister. In 1858, Gagetown became the circuit’s head, with Burton subsequently aligning with either the Gagetown congregation or the Oromocto church. Thanks to a continuous chain of committed local workers and ministers, the flame of faith has remained ablaze, bringing blessings to the entire community.

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On May 6, 2012, a congregational meeting at Pine Grove established that the number of services at the church would be adjusted due to low regular attendance (five to seven). The congregation agreed that “Combined services for Pine Grove Church will be held in July and for Christmas Eve communion”. The church elders retained the option to schedule additional services, such as weddings, baptisms, funerals, etc., as necessary. Subsequently, the focus turned towards investigating the consolidation and merging of church finances. The financial arrangement for 2013 was maintained as previously, but the finances for 2014 were separated from Oromocto, with the same treasurer managing them. Pine Grove preserved its own budgetary structure, its representative in the Presbytery, and its Trustees. However, other committees started to become integrated.

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Subsequent renovations and enhancements to the Pine Grove Church included purchasing additional cemetery land, installing electric heating and a ceiling fan, removing the chimney, adding new insulation, applying vinyl siding, roofing, and new cemetery fencing, constructing a ramp and steps for the physically challenged, installing an electric organ, procuring seasonal communion tablecloths, and a pulpit book rest. Memorial donations included new pews, a wooden cross behind the pulpit, a baptismal font, antependia (church seasonal pulpit hangings), green hymnals, and Voices United and More Voices United hymnbooks.

On May 6, 2012, a congregational meeting at Pine Grove established that the number of services at the church would be adjusted due to low regular attendance (five to seven). The congregation agreed that “Combined services for Pine Grove Church will be held in July and for Christmas Eve communion”. The church elders retained the option to schedule additional services, such as weddings, baptisms, funerals, etc., as necessary. Subsequently, the focus turned towards investigating the consolidation and merging of church finances. The financial arrangement for 2013 was maintained as previously, but the finances for 2014 were separated from Oromocto, with the same treasurer managing them. Pine Grove preserved its own budgetary structure, its representative in the Presbytery, and its Trustees. However, other committees started to become integrated.

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