BANCROFT HISTORY – CHURCHES
St. Paul’s United Church
The Methodist church began its services in Bancroft in the 1870s. The first Methodist church building was started in 1870, with everyone belonging to the Methodist congregation helping with the construction. Along with other men, the ministers, Mr. A.B. Hames and his successor Mr. James Henderson, went into the woods to prepare timber for the frame. This first church took until 1875 to complete. The Methodist congregation grew steadily and needed a bigger church. St. Paul’s was constructed in 1897 on the same grounds.
The Presbyterian services started in Bancroft around the same time as the Methodist ones. By 1889 Bancroft’s Presbyterian congregation held their services in their own building, the Knox Presbyterian Church.
In 1918 Bancroft’s Methodist and Presbyterian congregations united. Seven years later the two churches would merge officially in all of Canada to form the United Church of Canada. Today it is the largest Protestant denomination in Canada with about three million members. In Bancroft the formerly Methodist St. Paul’s Church then became St. Paul’s United Church, which continues to serve its congregation to this day. In 1950 a new parsonage was constructed on James Street. In 1954 a large addition was built onto the church, and in 1959 the congregation bought the Bancroft Community Hall to be used as a church hall.
St. Paul’s United Church is located at 1 Hastings Street, Bancroft.
St. John’s Anglican Church
The Anglican congregation started forming in Bancroft in the 1880s, with their services being held in the Town Hall. However, in 1890, after much sacrifice of labour as well as donations, the Anglicans were then able to celebrate the consecration of their own church, St. John’s Anglican Church. The congregation also established a well maintained cemetery at the Eagles Nest. In 1948 a parish hall was constructed.
St. John’s Anglican Church is located at 21 Flint Street, Bancroft.
Our Lady of Mercy Roman Catholic Church
Although many Irish immigrants had settled in North Hastings, the Catholic congregation in Bancroft was for many decades served by priests from Maynooth. Around the turn of the twentieth century Bancroft’s Catholic community built its own church, equipped with a 300-pound bell, which can still be heard. Yet the town received the status of a parish only in 1935, along with its first resident parish priest, Father L.J. Kennedy, who would serve the community for twenty-two years. The Catholic congregation grew significantly in the 50s and 60s during the mining boom in the area. In 1960 a large new church, Our Lady of Mercy, was completed. The Bancroft parish also owns and maintains two cemeteries.
Our Lady of Mercy Roman Catholic Church is located at 196 Bridge St. West, Bancroft.
Bancroft Pentecostal Tabernacle
The first church home of the Pentecostals, whose history in the Bancroft area goes back to two visiting evangelists in the 1920s, was a building that was moved from Whitney. A new building, called the Bancroft Pentecostal Tabernacle, was constructed in 1948.
The Bancroft Pentecostal Tabernacle is located at 311 Hastings St. North, Bancroft.
The Lakeview Gospel Hall
The first preachers of the Gospel, called “brethren” or “Christian brethren”, came to the Bancroft area in the 1880s. These evangelists went from house to house and presided at Christian meetings in homes. When the number of followers grew, larger rooms or halls had to be rented. In 1924 the brethren bought the old Presbyterian Church building, which served them for a few decades. Then in 1951, the congregation, growing steadily, constructed the present Gospel Hall.
The Lakeview Gospel Hall is located at 644 Maxwell Settlement Road, Bancroft.