Sunday, January 6, 2013

Abandonment Issues: Beaver Creek Free Methodist Church

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Upon completing construction of the Victoria Methodist Church on a desolate back road between Havelock and Cordova Mines in 1893, the Methodists continued to push east and grow their flock with yet another new congregation.

To fully appreciate this post, check out the Victoria Methodist Church post before continuing.

In 1895, east of the on again, off again gold mining community of Cordova Mines, the crew had constructed the Beaver Creek Free Methodist Church, and it opened its doors to the local farming community. Again, as was customary with the locations chosen by the Methodists constructing in Ontario throughout the mid to late 1800s, the church stood alone, apart from other structures, on a desolate back road, at a distance to the nearby communities.

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The similarities did not end with the locations themselves, that was just the beginning. The churches were constructed with a very similar blueprint and identical building materials, much like the manner that Tim Hortons is spreading across Ontario these days. Although Tim Hortons has about a dozen different models that they construct given the space and market requirements of a given location, the strategy is a modern day mirror of that used by the Methodists well over a century ago. Tim Hortons however, operates at a much more feverish pace, and constructs their structures deep in the heart of communities, as opposed to a desolate back road on the outskirts. Also, the driving force of Tim Hortons expansion is the almighty dollar, as opposed to the almighty Lord. This analogy doesn't stop at Tim Hortons of course: Timmies could be replaced in this analogy with much of the current day construction of fast food chains and big box stores and cookie cutter residential neighbourhoods sandwiched between these cookie cutter fast food chains and big box stores.

But I digress, back to the church and the similarities: the hand painted sign above the doors bearing the churches name, the same white painted horizontal exterior boards, three tall arching windows along both sides of the church, the wood stove standing just inside the door, the same faded mint green interior paint job, and the same gorgeous cedar pews, although here void of the cast iron arms and legs.

It was all very déjà vu.

The similarities didn't end there either, the property itself also followed the blueprint: the same twelve paces from the roadside to the entrance, the same size plot of land with headstones and grave markers stretching westward from the rear of the church.

It was all very déjà vu.

Beyond the construction, the similarities continued, as was to to be expected, as both churches are in remarkable condition and still contain many of their original contents: the hymn books and holy bibles, the felt bottomed collection plates, the organs, the Jesus memorabilia and the framed depictions of the last supper, and so on, even down to a light peppering of mouse poop on the floor.

It was all very déjà vu.

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As I have said before, I am by no means a religious man. But there is a feeling that overcomes me whilst exploring churches that is unique and powerful, and cannot be explained.

If you feel so inclined to continue exploring churches alongside me, venture into these two churches on opposite ends of the abandonment spectrum. First, the beautiful Knox United Church in Peterborough is not abandoned, but recently closed its doors to the dwindling congregation and is in search of a buyer, whilst still actively renting space to community groups. For Knox, the future is unknown, hence my desire to document it as it was upon its closure. Secondly, the Gelert Anglican Church in the ghost town of Gelert offers a polar opposite experience, buried in the forest roadside in an advanced state of decay.

Thanks again for stopping by stranger, see you at the next spot.

click here to check out all of jerm & ninja IX's ABANDONMENT ISSUES

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Do you feel that you are starting to believe in God, Jerm?

Jerm IX said...

No.

Anonymous said...

This church is actually still in use a few weeks of the year and is kept up.

Anonymous said...

Hi ! I just discovered your BlogSpot and it's really cool. Just a little note about the Beaver Creek Free Methodist Church... we use it still for church services. It has to be used at least once a year, for some reason that has to do with the law. Anyway, the new Free Methodist Church building is in the town of Marmora and the old building is still maintained and used by the congregation of the Marmora church. The piano is out of tune, so Dad takes his accordion.

Jerm IX said...

Wow. Please pass along contact info. I have a few questions for you!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tour of the Rockwood Asylum. I work at the new hospital site and have wondered what it looks like inside. The old timers have told many a story, and now it's easier to picture. This building presents a particularly foreboding sight from lake Ontario.Your other explorations are interesting too. Great photography. Montreal probably had some awesome spots...