St. John’s Anglican Church in Ida quietly recognized the 150th anniversary of the old church building on Sunday, July 2nd. On this day the congregation offered prayers of thanksgiving and serving a special birthday cake to attendees. Although the present church building was completed in the fall of 1866, it was formally opened on January 20th, 1867. The church wardens thought it appropriate to recognize this milestone alongside the 150th birthday of our nation.
A former rector, the Reverend Canon Walter Dyer, recorded much of the church’s history in a portion of the book This Green and Pleasant Land: Chronicles of Cavan Township, published in 1990 by the Millbrook-Cavan Historical Society.
In this historical record, the authors advise that the current brick building is the third to have been constructed on this site, the previous two wooden structures having been destroyed by fire. Rev. T. W. Allen served as the Minster from 1853 until 1905, when his son stepped in to take his place. The cost of the construction in 1866 totalled $8,000. The bell for the tower was delivered by horse and wagon from Toronto; a journey that took most of a week. An addition was added to the church which included the nave, a fine pipe organ and a beautiful stained glass window. Entitled “The Good Shepherd”, the window was donated by a family in memory of Rev. Samuel Armour, who was the second minister to serve this parish. In 1975, an education wing was added thanks to a legacy left by long time parishioner Blanche Moore. A tornado struck the building in 1985, leaving much damage to the church building and destroying the church hall across the road from the church. The proceeds of the insurance claim supplemented by a groundswell of community support allowed a replacement hall to be constructed adjacent to the education wing of the main building.
The church has long been known as “the church on the hill”, serving as a community fixture, and centre for family worship and outreach during these many years. Under the leadership of our current minister, Rev. Peter Mills, we continue to learn to follow Jesus, to make Him known and to serve Him in our community.
Congregation members deliberately chose a quiet celebration of their 150th anniversary because in 2019 they will have the opportunity to celebrate their 200th anniversary as a church community. In 1819, the Rev. Joseph Thompson held services at this site, which places this congregation as one of the oldest worshipping communities in the Diocese of Toronto. The church members are thankful to God for His continued grace in their lives, and for the many men and women of this community who have maintained and continued to maintain this structure which they hope will continue to serve as a centre of worship, teaching, hope and service for many years to come.
By Phil Winslow