Lakefield United Church has a rich history that reflects the diverse elements that came together to form the United Church of Canada.
The church has its roots in several historic congregations. The Methodist roots trace back to the days of a native peoples’ mission inspired by an Ojibwa Methodist Minister Peter Jones. As a result of his preaching the native people residing on the borders of Mud Lake [Chemong] received the gospel in 1827. By 1833 the Mud Lake Mission was part of the Rice Lake Circuit that changed its relationship several times until 1859 when Lakefield was mentioned for the first time. During 1859 – 1860, the Wesleyan Methodist Circuit continued to include Lakefield when David Hardie, a circuit rider, was minister. Early meetings occurred in homes and in the Douro 10 schoolhouse (corner of Queen and Concession streets). In 1862 the first Wesleyan Methodist church was built on land owned by Samuel and Sarah Sherin and opened for service on October 23rd.
The Presbyterian Church of Lakefield (Knox Presbyterian), a stone building faced with cut stone, was built in 1862 and opened for worship on Sunday January 25, 1863. On September 21, 1871 the first Bible Christian Church opened on the north east corner of Reid and Water Streets. It was a small white frame church 50 feet by 32 feet. On June 1, 1884, the Methodist Church was created by the amalgamation of the Methodist Church of Canada, the Primitive Methodist, Bible Christian, and Methodist Episcopal Churches of Canada. In the case of the Bible Christian Church, the Lakefield and Young’s Point Churches were conveyed to the Lakefield Circuit of the Methodist Church. In 1892, the former Bible Christian Church building was sold to the Roman Catholics and became St. Paul Roman Catholic Church.
Although the Methodist Church walls had been extended twice, the need for a new church building was recognized and a new one, built with hand-moulded blocks of Lakefield cement, was erected in 1908 and opened on January 17, 1909. This Lakefield Methodist Church became the Lakefield Regent Street United Church as part of church union on June 10, 1925. Knox Presbyterian Church voted for union and became Knox United Church until June 26, 1932 when it united with Regent Street and became one congregation at 47 Regent St. On May 9, 1933, the name Lakefield United Church was chosen by vote. The old Knox church building was demolished.
On October 28, 1962, a new Christian Education Centre building was dedicated and in 1968 the Chancel was renovated and a new Hallman pipe organ installed. During 1992 – 1993 an extensive renovation “Access Project” was completed to provide the Church with barrier free access. As part of ongoing upgrading efforts the Narthex was renovated in 2006 and in 2011 an extensive set of upgrades and alterations to the Sanctuary were completed prior to the 150th Anniversary celebration in 2012.
Following the 150th Anniversary motto “Honour the Past. Celebrate the Present. Embrace the Future”, on April 10th, 2016 the congregation approved a Transformation Project Team’s report to “CHANGE what we do to become an inclusive, contemporary, spiritual centre for the community of Lakefield”.
History of Lakefield United Church
Compiled by James A. Pendergest - An Illustrated Chronological Outline History of Lakefield United Church.