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Memorial  United Church - Portugal Cove/Bell Island

History of the Memorial United Church - Portugal Cove/Bell Island

History of the Memorial United Church
Portugal Cove/Bell Island



With a Chapel on Bell Island known as the Jackson United Church The roots of the present Memorial United Church congregation of Portugal Cove can be traced back as early as 1791 when the Rev. William Black, from Nova Scotia, held a well documented and intensely emotional revival in Conception Bay to booster the work earlier began by Rev. Lawrence Coughlan. By 1791 a well-worn path could be found between St. John's and Portugal Cove, primarily for the purpose of a mail route between St. John's and communities in Conception Bay and Trinity Bay. This path William Black traveled in 1791 on his way to Hr. Grace, stopping at Portugal Cove to hold what was probably the first Methodist Worship Service.

Some time after Methodism took hold in St. John's, in the early part of the 19th century, a Methodist church was constructed in the Cove. By the turn of the 20th century and the opening of the mines on Bell Island, the same minister served both Bell Island and Portugal Cove. In the early 1920's the old Methodist church was torn down and a new one built on the same spot. The church was officially opened on Wednesday, September 17, 1924. Under the new leadership of Rev. Wayne Cole, then a student minister, the present day Memorial Church was completed and officially opened on Sunday, June 9, 1985. The congregation has grown to 160 families. A new manse was built in Portugal Cove in 1978 and the Bell Island congregation of 70 families is served from Portugal Cove. Bell Island was originally served from the Topsail United Church from 1895 to 1900. All records are maintained at the Memorial United Church in Portugal Cove.

Information and Records for the Memorial United Church
Portugal Cove/Bell Island

Memorial United Church 1859 Portugal Cove Road Portugal Cove-St. Philips, NL

Telephone and Fax #:
(Office)(709) 895-6525 (Office)
Fax #: (709) 895-0625

e-mail address:
Ian March-MacCuish and Faith March-MacCuish

Home page:
none available

Clergy: Pastor:
Rev. Rev Karen Thorne
(709) 895-2625
Portugal Cove

Mrytle King
Bell Island
(709) 488-3013


Records available:

Pouch Cove     Baptisms    (1873-1917)   Box 1
Portugal Cove Marriages (1881-1914) Box 1
Burials (1903-1916) Box 1

Topsail: Baptisms (1886-1973) Box 1 Reel # 42 (1884-1973)
Marriages (1886-1982) Box 2 Reel # 42 (1882, 1886-1982)
Burials (1886-1958) Box 1 Reel # 42 (1886-1958)
Burials (1960-1984) Box 1 Reel # 42 (1960-1984)

Records prior to this would have been lost in the Great Fire of St. John's or at the United Church Archives

These are the following Vital Statistics Volumes (DPHW) available at PANL only:
Place:			Topsail
Parish:			Topsail
Religion:		Methodist

Baptisms:		1884-1901	Vol 33		Reel No. C
Marriages:		1882-1901	Vol 33		Reel No. C


Place:			Portugal Cove
Parish:			Pouch Cove
Religion:		Methodist

Baptisms:		1882-1891	Vol 32		Reel No. B
Marriages:		1879-1891	Vol 32		Reel No. B

These are the All Newfoundland Births - Vital Statistics Division microfilm available for this parish at the PANL for the period from 1891 to1926 for baptisms and from 1891 to 1922 for marriages.

The death records for this parish start from 1886 onwards There are also microfilms at the PANL from the Vital Statistics Division from 1891 to 1949 for deaths.

Cemetery used:

United Church Cemetery located at the Front near the Memorial Monument.

A list of Ministers who served the parish of Bell Island (Most of them coming from the Portugal Cove Parish)

Rev. William Black		1791-
Rev. Wm. Rendall		1873-1882
Rev. Robert Bramfitt		1882-1884 	
Rev. R. Bond  April 1882 (fill in)
Rev. Jesse Heyfield		1884-1887	
Rev. T. James Sept 1883 (fill in)
Rev. John Reay			1887-1890
Rev. Solomon Matthews		1890-1893
Rev. Henry Hatcher		1893-1896
Rev. T.W. Atkinson		1896-1899
Rev. Jabez Hill			1899-1903
Rev. W. Hill			1903-1907
Rev. Edwin Moore		1907-1908
Rev. Solomon Matthews 		1908-1909
Rev. W.H. Norman		1909-1910	
Rev. Wm Dotchon         	July, 1910 and 
                        	Oct to May 1911; 
                        	July to Dec 1911; and 
                        	Jan 1912 to Jan 1914
Rev. A.F. Barnford		July to Aug 1910; 
                    		Oct to Nov 1910; and 
                    		Jan 1911 to June 1911
Rev. Joseph Noseworthy		Aug 1910-Sept 1910
Rev. J.V. Westlake		Sept 1911 to Nov 1911; and 
                    		Feb 1912 to May 1912
Rev. John Wm. Baggs		May 1912
Isaac King (Layman)		June 1912
Rev. Wm. J. Arms		Nov 1912 to May 1913
Rev. W. Henry Browing		1914-1916
Isaac King (Layman)		April 1917

Layreader W.D. Rose		(1946-
Rev. W.E. Cockram		(1946-
Rev. Wayne Cole			(1985-
Rev. Ian Marche-McCuish		(       - 2000)

These ministers covered the areas of Bell Island, Pouch Cove, Portugal Cove, Bauline, Biscayan Cove and Cape St. Francis

(There seems to be no one available at the Manse's to get the information on the Ministers who served, so if there is anyone out there who has privy to such information, we would appreciate receiving it from you - thank you).

Thanks to Lloyd King of Bell Island for all his wonderful knowledge of the church and for sending me the photo.



Contributed by: Barbara McGrath (July 2000)

Page Revised: July 2002 (Don Tate)

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