The Rowed family donated a house and twelve acres of land for the site of a permanent church building. With a gift of money sent by "The Mother Church of Ireland" and by combining their talents and resources, these early settlers built a beautiful little church with their timber, their stone and their physical labour. The land that the church and rectory stand on still has a number of "Acacia" trees, also known as Black Locust. The original rectory site was also called "The Acacias" because of these trees.
The church was opened for worship in 1854, with no pews or pulpit. The congregation sat on pine boards placed on blocks of wood. The minister stood on a raised board and used a rough wooden desk. When pews were added, the desk was replaced with a butternut wood pulpit. We see that as the community prospered so did the church building.
In 1861, the church was consecrated by the Bishop Strachan. It was freed from debt and a gallery was added. Between 1875 and 1883 the chancel and bell tower were constructed. On three occasions over a period of seventy-seven years, the Victory Bells from Christ Church were sounded by Harry Bennett. Harry helped his father, Charlie; ring the bells to celebrate the end of World War I, in 1918. In 1945, Harry and his father rang the Victory Bells again for World War II. In 1994, the bell tower was restored. On the 50th anniversary of V.E. Day, May 8, 1995, Harry and his son rich rang the bells in remembrance.
Around the church were very old gravestones, a memorial of early days when the churchyards were traditionally the burial ground. In 1984, the A.C.W. underwrote the expense of the restoration of the burial vault on the church grounds and returned it to its original state. The gravestones have been moved to the cemetery.
The first rectory was the house that came with the twelve acres of land. It burned and a new one was built on the hill in 1871. In 1954, to provide the church's ministers with more comfortable accommodations, a new rectory was established adjacent to the church. It was freed from debt in less than three years, a great accomplishment by the parishioners.
In 1919, the parish hall had been built on Doxsee Street. It was a busy place until it was sold in 1970. The Arthur Jenkins' Memorial Hall, attached to the church, was begun in 1971 and consecrated in 1972 by the Bishop Snell.
In 1983, a memorial organ was purchased and installed, a wonderful accompaniment for the music of the choir and congregation. The campaign to provide a new memorial organ was so successful it was accomplished that same year. The altar was moved out from the wall, in keeping with the trend of other churches at that time. The purpose was to place people around the Lord's Table. Pew cushions were donated in memory of a former parishioner. A signboard to welcome visitors and tell them of the service times was erected.
The A.C.W. began catering to the Diners' Dinners, thus providing a service to the community. At the same time, the men of the congregation started the annual Shrove Tuesday pancake supper. Doug Harpur became the first lay reader at Christ Church. He was later joined by Jim Baker. When the Rev. Hall left in November 1987, Doug and Jim worked with the Rev. Lloyd Howard, a retired clergyman living in Peterborough, and were able to keep the church on an even keel until the Rev. George Daley was named Incumbent in April of 1988.
In the late nineteen-eighties and early nineteen-nineties, the number of lay readers increased. Several members of the congregation went to Cursillo and the Cursillo movement took root in this parish. Logos courses were also introduced during this time. A variety show, under the direction of Bette Harpur, was presented to mark the 135th anniversary.
The B.A.S. (Book of Alternative Services) was gradually introduced in the late nineteen-eighties, and was used at least once a month. Over the years its use increased and by 2004 we were using it for at least two services a month.
A sound system was installed, which has been a great help to many of our older congregation, allowing them to be more a part of the service. An historical plaque was erected on the church grounds that reads:
Christ Church Campbellford the Original deed of land to Bishop Strachan dated 29th January 1855, states
that the church is called 'Christ's Church' and that 'The said church is now erected thereon'.
November 1854 was the date of the opening of the church for worship, but the ministrations of Anglican clergy had been going in this area from 1835, the founding year of Anglican worship and witness in this area of Seymour Township. Erected by the rector, wardens, and congregation of Christ Church, Campbellford, Ont. with the assistance of the Ministry of Culture and Communication.
The A.C.W. had the church painted, and installed an air-conditioner in Jenkins' Hall. Two parishioners were honoured: Bruce Elmhirst for serving 50 years in the choir, and Ethel Higginson on her retirement after 35 years as the church secretary.
During the nineties the growth of the Sunday school was phenomenal. The Youth group had begun having Seder supers during Holy Week. Through the efforts of our organist, Ken Laird, a keyboard has been purchased for use in the church. In May 1993, the 50th anniversary of canon Moffatt's ordination was celebrated.
As we entered our 140th anniversary year (1994), a program of restoration and plans for enlarging the parish hall were started: The roof of the church was re-shingled, the church office moved from the rectory in to the church hall, and the bell tower repaired. The Arthur Jenkins' Hall was expanded to accommodate a new kitchen and handicapped equipped washrooms. A parking lot at the rear of the hall and ramped access have made our facility more accessible. The Bishop Douglas Blackwell dedicated the extension on March 17, 1996. One of his comments on that day was, "now you need to expand in the other direction, ' meaning toward the rectory, parallel to the church.
In November 1996, we started the final phase of the hall expansion. This building provides three Sunday school rooms, a Nursery, an Adult Fellowship room, where the choir can robe on Sunday, and offices for the Incumbent and church secretary. The parking lot has also been enlarged. In 1996, there were renovations in the church, also. New pews were installed in the Nave and the best of the old ones were put in the balcony, and the wainscoting and floor of the Nave were painted. The Right Rev. Douglas Blackwell, Bishop of Trent-Durham, dedicated the addition to Jenkins' Hall, on September 13th, 1998.
During the spring of 1999, extensive and much needed repairs were done to the rectory. A new furnace, windows, painting and repair work, as well as cleaning up of the grounds were accomplished in preparation for our new Incumbent.
In 1999, we were blessed with a very active and dedicated Youth group. Two of their greatest accomplishments were trips to Cuba to share the Faith and to work. Christ Church sponsored two Alpha courses in the late nineteen-nineties, which helped to strengthen the faith of both the newcomers and the regular flock.
2005 marked the 150th anniversary of the church building, and our parish community is still following in the paths of the early settlers, contributing their time, talents, and money to strengthen, support, broaden and affirm the life of Christ church, Anglican, in the town of Campbellford.
The beauty and historical significance of the endowment that we have inherited from those pioneers "in the Faith" is acknowledged and recognized. This legacy will endure.
A SHORT STORY
(Adapted from "A Short History of Anglican Witness in Seymour Township & Campbellford")
Early settlers of the Anglican Faith, in what is described as "the backwoods of the interior of Canada West," had no church building and only occasional visits from travelling missionaries. They travelled on foot and by horse to meet in farm homes, mills, and barns, wherever church services could be held. The earliest known account is of services held on June 7th, 1835 in Seymour Township.