Around the beginning of the 19th century, Reverend Christopher Milner from Sackville was devotedly traveling across Cumberland and Westmorland counties to establish churches for groups of Anglicans. Interestingly, there were more Anglicans in Shediac and the North Shore area than in the Bend. William Hannington, the first English settler in Shediac Cape, had been hosting worship services at his home. Reverend Milner encouraged him to build a church, and their shared dream was realized in 1821 when St. Martin-in-the-Woods was built, with services starting in 1823. Meanwhile, a few families in Moncton were constructing the Free Meeting House.
In 1826, Reverend John Inglis, Bishop of Nova Scotia, traveled throughout New Brunswick, consecrating around 44 Anglican churches that had been built by the growing population. In 1836, Reverend George Jarvis became the Rector of Shediac Cape, and in addition to his local duties, he ministered to Anglicans living at the Bend, including the Botsfords, Chandlers, and Taylors.
In 1847, Reverend William Boyer reached the Bend en route to take charge of the mission station at Molus River in the parish of Richibucto, Kent County. He befriended Dr. Guimaron, a 67-year-old family doctor who had been traveling the area for years. Dr. Guimaron informed Reverend Boyer of the thriving shipbuilding industry and various commercial opportunities at the Bend, suggesting it would be an excellent mission field. With the bishop’s permission, Reverend Boyer relocated to the Bend. In 1848, at the Free Meeting House, the Parish of Moncton was established, and Reverend Boyer became its first rector.
In 1850, Judge Bliss Botsford donated land at the corner of Queen and Church Streets for an Anglican church. As the first warden of St. George’s, Judge Botsford and his wife were actively involved in the church. On August 12th, 1852, the Anglicans held their first service at this new location, and the following year, the Right Reverend John Medley consecrated the building as St. George’s Anglican Church. Reverend Boyer left the parish in 1870 and was succeeded by Reverend William Walker.
In 1873, St. George’s Anglican Church was destroyed by fire, and until a new church was constructed, Anglicans gathered at Dunlap’s Hall, located at the corner of Pleasant and Main Streets. By Easter 1875, a new church was built, and worship services continued there until 1932 when it was decided to expand the church. During this period, the parish was overseen by Rectors E.W.S. Pentreath (1874-1882), Arthur Hoadley (1882-1886), James H. Talbot (1886-1889), E. Bertham Hooper (1889-1907), and J.J. Alexander (1932-1966), under whose leadership the third church was built on its current lot.
Ambrose Wheeler, the contractor who constructed the present church, insisted it be built of stone rather than brick, as specified by the architects, and he generously paid the difference in cost. The church opened on June 18, 1935, and the service was broadcast on CKCW Radio, marking the first such broadcast from a Moncton church.
Wheeler served as a warden at St. George’s for five years and was a vestry member for 27 years. Simultaneously, he held positions on the hospital board (eventually becoming chairman) and managed the Moncton Hawks, who later won the Allan Cup (National Championship).
The first two churches were built with a north-to-south orientation, while the new church was constructed with an east-to-west layout. This change was made possible when the rectory, located east of the second church, was demolished to accommodate the new design, under the guidance of Reverend J.J. Alexander. It is worth noting that the last four Rectors – Hooper, Sisam, Alexander, and Crowther – served the parish for a combined 101 years.
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