History of The Presbyterian Church in Orangeville

In 1837, Rev. Duncan McMillan, a pioneer clergyman from Caledon traveled Highway #10 preaching to families in their log cabins. Some of the families in whose homes he held public worship were McMaster, Ireland, Campbell, Little and Henshaw. He would preach in Gaelic once a day.

The earliest Presbyterian Church in Orangeville was built in 1840 and named Bethel Church. Its location was in Alexandra Park behind the present Town Hall. In 1858 it was moved to a new site on the grounds of the current Orangeville post office. This church even had its own cemetery, the remains of which were moved to Forest Lawn cemetery in 1881. Rev. Alexander Lewis ministered in this congregation from 1837 – 1858. Rev. Edmund McKay followed in ministry from 1858-1884.

A second Presbyterian Congregation formed in 1858 under the ministry of Rev. Alexander McFaul who travelled to Orangeville from the town of Charleston (new Caledon). This congregation built a church adjacent to Bethel Church in Alexandra Park in 1863. The church was called Zion Presbyterian. In October of 1877 this church was sadly consumed by fire. The cornerstone for a new structure was laid in August of 1878 at 247 Broadway. The congregation of Bethel Church joined with that of Zion Church in 1880 as part of the formation of the Presbyterian Church in Canada which began in 1875. In 1880 this enw unified congregation was named St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. The new church still stands on Broadway now under the name of Westminster United Church.

In 1925 the formation of the United Church of Canada left Orangeville without a Presbyterian congregation. A small group of continuing Presbyterians gathered themselves together in 1927 and began holding worship services at 205 Broadway in the building known formerly as Sweetwater General Store. Student ministers conducted worship for this small gathering until 1939 when Rev. Lindsay Simpson spearheaded the building of a church on 6 John Street. A lovely stone church was built with a cut stone from an abandoned building on the edge of Orangeville. The official opening was on May 1st, 1941.The new church was named Tweedsmuir Memorial Presbyterian Church, after Lord Tweedsmuir, the Governor General of Canada. In 1959, a church addition and Christian Education wing were completed. The builder of both the original church and the addition was Jim Henry Sr. a founding member and elder of the congretation.

The ministers of Tweedsmuir since its formation have been Rev. Lindsay Simpson, 1939-1941, Rev. Jim Burgess, 1942-1945, Rev. John Nute, 1946-1964, Rev. Denis Gibson, 1964-1968, Rev. Edwin Nelson, 1968-1974, Rev. Willis Young, 1975-1985, Rev. David Murphy, 1986-1989, Rev. Sidney Chang, 1990-1995, Rev. Harvey Self 1996-present and Rev. Allyson Voo 1998-2001.