HistoryA Brief History of Harmony Community Church Since 1885
The Origins in Revivial
The time surrounding the establishment of Harmony Church was one of revival in the Ottawa Valley. Especially strong were the Methodist Camp Meetings that were seeing great moves of God’s Holy Spirit causing conviction of sin and resulting in changed lives. One such life was R.C. Horner who was converted in 1872 at a Methodist Camp Meeting and entered the Ministry in 1882. Around the same time as Horner’s entrance into the ministry the fruits of ministry in the surrounding area of Winchester promoted the formation of Methodist “Class meetings” these meetings of new converts would gather to study the Word of God and to testify of His ongoing goodness. Often where a successful Class meeting began a “preaching point” would soon be established and a circuit minister would come around to minister to the growing flock in an area. One such meeting turned into a preaching point in Ormond with the meetings taking place in a local Orange Lodge Hall in 1884. In the Year 1885, hard working pioneers finding the long trek by horse, to Winchester every Sunday a difficult journey (The Methodist Church having been built there in 1883). They agreed that the time had arrived to have their own place of Worship, north of Winchester. Although inspired by the strong Baptist Church, it was soon apparent the community was about to preach the type of Christianity they so ably preached. And everyone offered assistance. A local farmer named Alexander Wood (a Baptist) agreed to donate a piece of land from his farm, large enough for the Church and horse sheds to be built at the intersection of then Mountain and Winchester township boundaries at Ormond Rd. Although not a highway at the time it has later become a main highway for the area. Early records indicate that although on Sundays the combination carpenter-farmers when their separate ways some to the Methodist and Presbyterian churches and others to the Baptist and Catholic places of worship, during the week they toiled as one happy family at the little Church building project that was their combined labour of love. When the Church was completed and it came time to name the building it has been said that Roger Brisbois, a French Roman Catholic, shielding his eyes from the setting sun made the proposal happily agreed upon by all present, that because the Church was the result of diverse faiths and languages working together in perfect harmony that they should call it Harmony Church. All agreed and as a result the surrounding community became known as “Harmony Corner”. Local people gathered for their first worship service in the simply wood framed building with pot belly stove and Methodist rail separating pews from platform. They opened with the hymn “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ name” thus worship began with the Power of the Name of Jesus Christ being exalted.
Church Union and Division
The year that class meetings began north of Winchester, the Methodist Churches in Canada began major changes. A movement to bring Union to Protestant churches resulted in the Merger of several Methodist denominations in 1884. The new amalgamated Canadian Methodist Church sought further union with other denominations and had to deal with “radical” revivalists such as Rev. Horner. The Ottawa Valley was a hot bed of revival and powerful manifestations of the Holy Spirit in what was called “the Holiness Movement” and those touched by the message resisted the liberalization of the Methodist church. Despite changes in the Canadian Methodist denomination, which led to the ouster of Rev. R. C . Horner in 1895 and a split in Methodism that resulted in the start of many new Churches in the area (such as Winchester and Inkerman Wesleyan Methodist Churches and Metcalfe & Chesterville Holiness Churches) Harmony remained part of the main denomination until 1925 when further Church Union brought it into the United Church of Canada. As a United Church the strong Sunday School and worship services at this time were usually held in the afternoons on Sunday as this was a two point charge with the one minister preaching both Winchester and Harmony. Under this format Harmony continued to be a faithful witness to the community for many years.
During the 1970’s congregations of the smaller rural Churches were being closed and amalgamated into the larger town churches. Many of the smaller churches in Dundas County such as VanCamp, Mountain, Elma, Grantly, Dundela, Colquhoun, Grantly and Rieds Mills were forced to close and several of them torn down. The congregation at Harmony was slated for the same fate in March 1976, however the faithful were reluctant to loose the local Church that had now served their families for generations. Following several meetings they decided to continue worshiping at Harmony and take their church away from the denomination that had abandoned them. The Deed was acquired and the new congregation was renamed Harmony Community Church. With Highway improvements and expansion the road was redirected behind the Church with a curve, making travel between Winchester and Ottawa more accessible. Pine trees were planted in the land dissected by the Highway to beautify the new curve. The newly independent church had the opportunity to purchase the adjacent land from the highway department and the old roadway from the township. The end result was moving the Church further back against the trees and the addition of a foyer and much needed basement for Sunday School rooms. In March 1980 the Church and its new renovations were officially dedicated to the glory of God. Two years latter an addition of office and nursery were added to the south end of the Church. The Charismatic movement in the 1970’s and 80’s was sweeping the world and came to the hungry members of Harmony Church. The message of the Holy Spirit’s power and manifestations was similar to the initial message preached by 18th century revivalist in the days when Harmony was first established. Difficult days as an independent congregation that saw the Church rise and fall in attendance resulted in the tiny membership seeking an affiliation with a denomination to help the church in issues of accountability, missions and in finding Pastors. The result was negotiations with the Missionary Church of Canada. The Missionary Church’s foundations stem from the Methodist revival movement amongst the Mennonites. On December 29th, 1987 the congregation voted to join the Missionary church (formerly Mennonite Brethren in Christ) and became full members in September 1989. In July of 1993 The Missionary Church and Evangelical Church (Evangelical United Brethren E.U.B – German Methodist) merged to form the Evangelical Missionary Church of Canada. Despite the Church’s present affiliation Harmony continues to function as an interdenominational Church in keeping with our roots.
Recent Growth and Expansion
In 1995 Pastor Bruce North, then church planting in the Maritimes, heard the Lord’s call to “return home” to the Ottawa valley. The result was the North family’s coming to the North Dundas area to pastor the little white Church called Harmony. Years earlier in Charismatic meetings in the Lanark area, when Pastor North was 18 years old and heading off to Bible College, it was prophesied that he would one day pastor the Church at Harmony. At the time Harmony was going through great turmoil as a congregation and a retired Baptist Pastor from Lanark was providing interim pastoral care. It was this Pastor who gave the prophecy over the then young preacher. The turn of the 21st century saw Harmony Church expand yet again with a new Sanctuary and fellowship hall to meet the needs of the growing congregation. This again was fulfillment of prophecy that had been given that the Church would expand into the surrounding bush to the West. God has consistently blessed the Congregation for its 120 year history and has kept it to its original purpose as a meeting place of people of all backgrounds and denominations who worship God in Harmony.
Harmony’s Past Pastoral Leadership
Harmony Methodist Church
1884/85 J.M.HAGAR 1884-1887 J.E.MAVETY 1887-1890 T.C.BROWN 1890-1893 G.C.HUXTABLE 1893-1895 FOSTER McAMMOND 1895-1897 F.C.REYNOLDS 1897-1900 S.J.HUGHES 1901-1904 DAVID WINTER 1904-1907 JOHN WEBSTER 1907-1911 F.H.SPROULE 1911-1915 J.H.MILLER 1915-1919 J.K.CURTIS 1919-1923 JOHN A. WADELL 1923-1925
Harmony United Church
1925 (In 1925 the Methodist Church of Canada, 2/3rds of the Presbyterian Church and the Congregational Church merged to form the United Church of Canada) JOHN A. WADELL 1925-1932 JOHN McKAY 1932-1935 W.S.ATCHISON 1935-1941 T.A.HALPENNY 1941-1944 N.J.THOMAS 1944-1951 T.N.MITCHELL 1951-1957 ANGUS J. MacDONALD 1957-1973 GERVIS BLACK 1973-1974 M. MAXTED 1974-1976
Harmony Community Church
(Independent Nov. 28 th , 1976) MANSEL ATKINSON 1976-1979 DAN COVER 1979-1980 WALTER O’HALLORAN 1980-1982 ROBERT THOMPSON Aug 1982-1983 Intrim HARTLEY SMITH 1983-1984 ROBERT THOMPSON 1984 Interim MICHAEL HUGHES 1985-1988
Harmony Community Church
(affilliate of the Missionary Church of Canada 1988 and full member 1in 1990. In 1993 the Missionary Church of Canada merged with the Evangelical Church to form the EVANGELICAL MISSIONARY CHURCH OF CANADA) GLENN MENARD 1989-1991 LAURIE TAYLOR 1991-1993 DANIEL L. LARONDE 1991-1997 D.BRUCE NORTH 1995-1997 (Associate Pastor) D.BRUCE NORTH 1997- present
Trustees on Original Deed
1891 (September 11, 2PM) from 1885 the church was unregistered on land donated for the purpose by Alexander Wood. HENRY WYATT JOHN BORROWMAN HENRY W. ARMSTRONG HENRY CINNAMON ALFRED BERTRAND NELSON DOCKSTEADER FREDERICK MERKLEY JOHN LOUGH Officially purchased land from Alexander Wood for thirty Dollars witnessed by Thomas T. Armstrong (commissioner/land registrar)