Rev. Stewart Houston, who took charge of the parish in 1866, also ministered to the congregations at Lowville and later St. Matthew-on-the-Plains in Aldershot. During his incumbency, more than $900 was raised by subscription to erect a parsonage, drive shed and to fence the cemetery, suggesting the church had a flourishing congregation. However, this appears to have lasted only briefly. During the next decade an interesting entry by many of the prominent parishioners appears in the Minute Book, confirming their commitment to Grace Church and suggesting that the 1870s were a period of unrest and trouble.
The records of St. Matthew’s in Aldershot tell of the splendid work accomplished by Rev. John Francis, the new minister in the church there, yet for some unknown reason, Grace Church did not prosper. It appears that during this time of trouble, a number of people on the subscription list, who had agreed to contribute to the erection of the parsonage in 1869, began attending the Methodist Church on Mill Street North. It was also the decade during which a small Anglican congregation existed on the 9th Concession Road in Carlisle which was attended by adherents in the northern part of the township.
Although this small congregation existed for only a short time and was never attached to Grace, there is a belief that the silver Communion Set on display in the Narthex came from Carlisle when the church was closed.
In November 1890, Rev. Robert Cordner was appointed to the joint charge of Waterdown and Aldershot.
Rev. Cordner was a devoted minister, and although revenues were sparse and attendance not large, the church survived. A comment in the records of the church provides an insight into the character and work of Rev. Cordner: “Those were poor days financially, but from dear, kind, faithful Mr. Cordner no complaint came.”His tireless devotion and faithful service made him beloved by his congregation and a beautiful stained glass window was installed in the church as a memorial.
A distant relative of the first incumbent of the parish, Rev. A. B. Higginson, succeeded Mr. Cordner in 1903. His tenure of office was all too short, for in the three years of his ministry in the village, he accomplished much in organizing a growing parish.
Rev. Higginson made a wonderful impression on the congregation, for just a few words in the Minutes convey the loss : “The Rector was young and musical and all were sorry when he moved on to a better parish.”
Sylvia Wray is the former archivist with the Flamborough Archives. She can be reached through the Archives at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was originally published in the Flamborough Review, 16 September 2010.