About Us

old churchOne Hundred and Fifty nine years of continuing religious service in the community is something to be respected and a challenge to the present day members of Durham Baptist Church to fulfill their responsibilities as they were by the leaders of the previous generations.

The Durham Baptist Church was organized with twelve members early in 1853 (some records show this to have happened in 1852) by Rev. Alexander Stewart, whose likeness is depicted in the stain glass window located on the north wall of the Church.  The members met in homes for five or six years until they purchased a building on Albert Street which they moved to the corner of Lambton and Elgin Streets.  This building remained in use until 1902, when under the guidance of Rev. W.L. Newton, it was decided to erect a new brick building, so this building was moved to the back of the lot.

At this time (1902) the church had a membership of seventy-five and they laboured well in the stainglasserection of their splendid edifice that is a credit to their faith and zeal.  Many hours of volunteer labour went into the construction of this building.  Something of a distinction is the large mural baptistery painting which is very pleasing to the eye.  Rev. & Mrs. Newton were good leaders, talented and highly respected during their nine years in Durham (1901-1910.)  Their pictures displayed on the wall in the Pastor’s vestry.  Mrs. Newton capably designed the Durham Baptist Church and later had the house built on the remaining part of the lot to the west side.  She apparently financed the residence and had hopes that when they left Durham, the Church would purchase it for the parsonage.  Unfortunately the  Church didn’t have the finances to do so and it was purchased by Mr. Robert Burnett.

The Church remained without a parsonage until 1929 when Rev. James T. Priest and family of two sons and four daughters arrived.  It was during the early part of Rev. Priest’s pastorate, which lasted for approximately twelve years, that the parsonage was erected on the south side of the Church.  It was under his capable leadership he had Glenelg Centre and Durham people combine their efforts to erect this home.  It appears the financial cost was approximately $4,460.30.  The mortgage was completely paid off in 1949.

The Priest family were quite musical and were a great asset to the welfare of the Church.  The Church was quite active during these years and in 1930 showed a membership of 89 members, with corresponding Sunday School and Young People’s.  During the Depression years of 1930 – 1933 there were times when the Treasurer didn’t have sufficient money to pay salary and other bills, but the farmers from Glenelg Centre helped by supplying the minister with bags of potatoes and other vegetables, roasts of meat and fowl.  One lady member told me her husband worked at Durham Furniture Factory 3 days a week which amounted to 30 hours and received $0.22/hour.  Try raising a family of farm children on that income, no government welfare in those days.

Things carried on rather routinely during the Forties, Fifties and Sixties with several different Ministers, membership transfers in and out and numerous baptisms.

Durham Baptist Church • Corner of Lambton St. E. and Elgin St. • Durham, Ontario, Canada • N0G 1R0 • 519-369-6396 • durhambaptist@gmail.com