Stewart United Church, Whycocomagh

Stewart United Church, WhycocomaghThe Stewart Church, Whycocomagh dates from 1893. It received its name in honour of Rev. Murdock Stewart. A native of Scotland, Rev. Stewart arrived in Cape Breton as a missionary and shortly after accepted a call to the West Bay area where he remained for twenty years. In 1868, Rev. Stewart received a call to serve the Whycocomagh congregation,where he served until his retirement in 1882.

In the original property deed, the structure was officially named the Whycocomagh Village Presbyterian Church. For many years it was one of two churches for the congregation, the other being the MacLean Church in Churchview. It was in the MacLean Church that morning service was held because it had no artificial lighting. Therefore, the evening service was held in the village church where lanterns were used, in 1939 the Stewart Church was wired for electricity.

From its inception, the "Village Church", as it was called by many, was deeply rooted in the Scottish tradition. In the early years, services were conducted in Gaelic and English. When Rev. Stewart initiated the Sunday School, classes were in Gaelic. However, by the late 1950's, services were conducted in English only.

The original wooden structure of the church was built during the ministry of Rev. John Rose. In 1893, on its official opening, a bell and organ were purchased. With few alterations, the basic interior features remain the same. Considerable care and attention over the years has enabled the Church to be recently designated a Municipal Heritage Property.

Stewart United Church, WhycocomaghTwo dates are of major significance in the history of the Stewart Church. In 1925, with the formation of the United Church of Canada, the "Village Church" officially became Stewart United.
1960 was a pivotal year as welI. It was with the burning of the MacLean Church in this year that the Stewart United became a focal point of worship for the congregation. Rev. Donald Sutherland, who was minister at that time marked his 30th Anniversary in 1990.

In 1993. the Stewart United Church celebrated its centennial. Celebrations of this event were organized and were a hugh success, including the publication of an updated history of the congregation.
As we prepared for the Centennial Celebrations as a congregation, we looked with appreciation at the work of our forefathers. They built well, with a sense of beauty. May we in our day build upon the foundation which others have securely laid.