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'Kirk on the Hill' to celebrate 200 years in Pictou County

St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in New Glasgow is celebrating it's 200th anniversary this year.
St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in New Glasgow is celebrating it's 200th anniversary this year. - Adam MacInnis

Members and adherents of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in New Glasgow – known locally as the “Kirk on the Hill” – are celebrating the 200th anniversary of the founding of the congregation. 

The history of St. Andrew’s starts at McLennan’s Mountain Church in 1817 with the arrival from Scotland of Rev. Donald Alan Fraser, a Church of Scotland minister who became the first minister of the church. In 1819 a separate body was formed and a church was built at Fraser’s Mountain. Seventeen years later, the church was lifted off its original stone foundation and rolled down the hill to its new commanding location overlooking the growing community of New Glasgow. 

St. Andrew’s Church was the first church building erected in New Glasgow and the first Sunday School in the town was established there. The present church building has been reported to be located on one of the finest and most commanding locations in this province, where all roads lead directly to and from all directions – east, west, south and north. At night the steeple is a beacon of light in the town.

The history of St. Andrew’s is one deeply rooted in the Pictou County area. The congregation at St. Andrew’s is the mother church of St. John’s Stellarton, now united with Sharon-St. John; St. Phillip’s now St. Paul, Westville of the United Church, Sutherland’s River, Pictou Landing, Thorburn and new St. Andrew’s, the latter embodies with James church at what is now First Presbyterian Church, New Glasgow. 

St. Andrew’s has supported many community programs to help the disadvantaged over the years; programs such as Pictou County Food Bank, Pictou County Fuel Fund, New Glasgow Schools Breakfast Program, Helping Hands Ministry, Viola’s Place, Shepherd’s Lunch Room and Roots for Youth. Additionally, the church’s music programs help young singers mature and grow. The church also provides space for the music festival when required.

To mark the bicentennial, the congregation has participated in a year-long celebration of Christian leadership in New Glasgow and the surrounding area community. The official date for anniversary services is Oct. 20, where former minister Rev. Richard Sand, now retired in British Columbia, will be the guest speaker for the morning service. In the evening, the church organist and choir director, Sandra Johnson, will lead in a service of “Music from the ages – the last 200 years.”

Still ahead the congregation has invited family and friends to a Church Family Dinner at the Plymouth Fire Hall taking place on Oct. 11. Tickets for the events are available from the bicentennial committee co-chair, Kathy Bubar, or any member of the committee. 

On Oct. 19, as is the tradition at the Kirk, a pancake breakfast will again be held. In addition there is a pantry table. An added feature this year will be a Scavenger Hunt Quiz. Confirmed events for the fall celebration include a “Broadway and Beyond” concert on Nov. 23. It promises to be another outstanding musical event.

The present minister at St. Andrew’s, the Rev. Dr. Joon Ki Kim, Ba, M.Div., Th.M., Ph.D. continues the original line of ministry of the congregation. Dr. Kim was born in South Korea, while the first ministers came from Scotland. Some of the first ministers spoke Gaelic and English while the present minster speaks Korean and English. The similarities continue – the first ministers were accomplished singers as is Rev. Kim.
 

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