The Islands: Amherst Island: Churches: St. Bartholomew's Church

Christ Church
Amherst Island

Click on photo for larger version
Current St. Bartholomew's-formerly Christ Church
Submitted by St. Bartholomews

Christ Church was the 2nd Anglican church on the island
Erected: 1877
Closed: 1967
Was then a cottage
Sold 1987 to become St. Bartholomew's Roman Catholic Church
1987 old Christ church consecrated as St. Bartholomew's
Located 12525 Front Road
Amherst Island, ON

Now the new St. Bartholomew's RC Church

Click on photo for larger version
From article sent by St. Bartholomew Ch.:
Christ Church, Emerald
This Church was built mainly by the efforts of the Fowlers and the Howards in 1872-this date probably in correct.
Mr. Christie was the minister at the time but took very little interest in its' bulding. The people were not agreed that there should be a second church, thinking that the one where Mr. McFern now lives was enough for the Island. Those not agreeing gave nothing or very little towards the cost. A service and a Sunday-school class had been held in teh Court House some Sunday afternoons in the summer by Mr. Christie and Mr. Short (a predecessor), and the idea seemed to be that a church in that part was needed for those who could not get to the old church when there was never more than one service in the morning on Sundays.
That the building was well worth while was proven by the good congregations from the start, mainly made up of ones whoe very rarely ever got to the old church.
Daniel Fowler was the leader and was untiring in his efforts towards its' construction. He was the designer of its' exterior and interior and the contribution of perhaps half its' cost. He was almost daily on the job when it was being constructed. The Howards, Squire George Howe and Charles Howard, were among the larger contributors. The site was given my Mr. McGinnis. the Longmores did the brick work and plastering. The Elsons, Josh and his father and brother, did the carpentry work.
For a number of years after its' openeing only evening or afternoon services were granted it by its' clergyman- morning services being always in the old church. Some living within sight of it still continued to worship where they had hitherto and did not enter in.

Submitted 2004 by St. Barthomew's Church:


In 1976, St. Bartholomew’s Catholic Church on Amherst Island was closed. This old country church building had been a landmark on the Front Road for more than a hundred years. The building was leased as a summer home and almost all ecclesiastical architectural features were removed. The building was painted barn red and for a number of years seemed deserted.
One Sunday afternoon in July 1986, this stark, barnlike building was struck by lightening and went up in flames. The fire department eventually put out the fire and for the rest of the summer the charred bare bones were left.
The two front doors were still intact and Elsie Densem liked them as well as their hardware. She thought she might use them if she repaired her barn. She called the Archdiocesan office in Kingston and asked if she could keep the doors. Dr. Cummings, the Chancellor of the Diocese, came out to island one evening and met Elsie, accompanied by Don Tubbs, at the old church site and examined the ruin. They said Elsie could have the doors for a nominal fee and anything else she cared to salvage, but that the remaining building was a safety hazard and must be razed. He contracted with Don Tubbs to do this, and by the end of September 1986, the last vestiges of St. Bartholomew’s Church were removed.
During the same summer, 1986, Laurene Kilpatrick had been trying to re-establish Catholic Church services on the island. She had spoken to Father Don Clement of Blessed Sacrament Church and he was willing to consider a mission if the people really wanted it. She posted a notice at Glenn’s store asking for signatures of people who would attend a Catholic service on the island. Armed with thirty-six names, she went back to Father Clement, who, after consulting with the bishop, willingly offered to provide Sunday services on Amherst Island. He offered to come over himself as often as he could but in the beginning Mike Mastrianni, a deacon from Blessed Sacrament Parish and Sister Mary Monica Hammond, a special minister of Christian Instruction, directed the services on most Sundays. Services were held in the City Council Office from October 1986 to December 1987.
Throughout the summer of 1987 the congregation considered the problem of finding a permanent church. Laurene Kilpatrick had asked the owners of the former Christ Church if they would consider selling their property, now used as their summer home. They were not interested in selling at that time. Other possibilities proved to be exorbitantly expensive. Then, at the end of the summer, Mr. and Mrs. B. J. Frost changed their mind and offered to sell the old Christ Church building in Emerald if it would be used for church services. The congregation was astonished and delighted at this turn of events. Legal details were completed and title was transferred on December 2, 1987.
The first religious service held by the Catholic community was Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, 1987. During the spring and summer that followed, the church was restored and redecorated. Carmelle Horst scraped and sanded all the dark wood. Dennis McGinn did the structural repairs and painted the ceiling and upper walls.
On September 11, 1987, the new St. Bartholomew’s Church was consecrated by Archbishop Frances Spence of Kingston, in the presence of an overflowing congregation made up of many wellwishers as well as the Catholic community. Many of those present had worshipped in this building in their childhood and earlier years.

Catherine P. McMullen

Submitted 2004 by St. Barthomew's Church:
Newpaper Article:


First St. Bartholomew’s closed 12 years ago but “the Holy Ghost got busy” and parish revived.
By Jack Rafter
The 25 to 30 Roman Catholic families of Amherst Island will no longer have to travel to the mainland to attend Sunday mass - they now have a newly dedicated St. Bartholomew’s church.
The church is located in the hamlet of Emerald on the island’s North Shore Road.
The new house of worship was officially signed, sealed and delivered when Kingston Archbishop, F. J. Spence dedicated it in a non-celebrated mass earlier this month. Joining him in the mass and blessing were Vicar General Rev. T. J. Raby and St. Bartholomew’s pastor, Rev. Don Clement. Island resident Grace Eves presented the bishop with the deed to the church.
Also joining in the dedication ceremonies were extraordinary ministers Mike Mastrianni and Terry Bender. Altar boy for the event was Michael Kincaid.
The name of the new church seemed a natural - it was the name of the former Roman Catholic church on the island.
St. Bartholomew, also known as Nathaniel, was one of the 12 apostles of Jesus. As patron of the new church, he will pick up right where he left off when the first St. Bartholomew’s on the island closed a decade ago. That building, located east of the new site, had been rented out for some years as a residence; about two years ago, it was destroyed by fire.
The new Catholic church has a history of its own. Built 112 years ago by the Anglican Diocese of Ontario, it served several generations of Anglicans as Christ Church until it closed some 20 years ago. More recently, the building was used as a cottage. The Catholic archdiocese purchased it last year.
Clement paid special tribute to local carpenter Dennis McGinn who did a great deal of the work needed to put the building in its present spanking new condition.
Spence said in his sermon that a church, whether it is a tiny frame structure or a giant Gothic cathedral, is always a special place because it is designated as a house of worship.
“It’s chief goals are spiritual, it is a gathering place of worshippers where the word of God is explained.”
A church is itself is a prayer, he said, and each of its members may be seen as parts of it. Each member can be a window reflecting Christianity, an aisle leading the way to a Christian life, an altar making sacrifices to God, or a pulpit witnessing the good news of the gospel, he said.
“Pope John Paul has said that houses of God are as indispensable as air,” Spence said.
Parishioner Robert McMullen said he had been keeping an eye on what had been happening in the parish for the past 18 months. Clement has celebrated Sunday mass monthly and either Mastrianni or Bender has conducted services of worship and Holy Communion on the intervening Sundays. During this time, the community laid the groundwork and carried out the numerous preparations needed in opening a new parish church. Everything obviously came together, McMullen said, quite probably with some divine intervention. “The Holy Ghost got busy,” he said.
Special guests, Rev. Ken Blaber and Lindsay McIntyre brought blessings and congratulations from the local Anglican and Presbyterian communities respectively. Island Reeve Norman Allison, who is a retired Presbyterian minister, also attended the event.
Clement saluted the many who contributed to the creation of the new parish, including the enormous contribution of Sister Monica Hammond of the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph. Among others cited for their help and organizational skills were Grace Eves and her family, the Feradays, Kilpatricks, Kincaids, the Koenders, the Russell McGinns, McMullens, Matthews and the Horths. Parishioner Lauren Kilpatrick said in an interview that she was the “instigator” of the idea of re-opening the church. After not practicing her faith for many years, she began, about two years ago, to attend mass at St. Linus Church in Bath and at Blessed Sacrament Church in Amherstview. Her trips from the island to church - particularly with two children to take - sometimes became four hour marathons with ferry rides at either end.
“I guess I saw the need for a church here,” she said. “So one Sunday I asked Father Clement about it. He said I should try to find out if others were interested, so I put up a poster in the store in Stella (the bigger village on the island). We got about 36 signatures. Then we held services in the Township Hall for quite awhile before we got the church.”
Kilpatrick said God must have answered one of her prayers in making the building available. The owner initially declined to sell, but a few months after her first inquiry, he “called me up, out of the blue, to say he’d changed his mind.”
She also had high praise for Carmelle Horth who performed the beautiful interior woodwork including the scraping of the former surfaces and their re-sanding.
The dedication day congregation of almost 100 gathered for an outdoor potluck dinner at the home of Ray and Zelma Koenders following the service.
The schedule of dates for the monthly Sunday masses - which start at 1 p.m. - is still being determined. Services of worship will be held on the other Sundays.

Photo of new St. Bartholomew's (formerly Christ Church)
-thanks to Maureen Deacon


Following are the names of those who have served as ministers at Christ Church, Emerald and St. Alban’s, Stella
Rev. John Langhorn, Bath 1793-1836
Rev. W.Agar Adamson 1841-1844
Rev. John Rothwell 1845-1865
Rev. William Short 1865-1869
Rev. Conway Cartwright 1869-1874
Rev. J. J. Christie 1875-1877
Rev. Canon Roberts 1878-1891
Rev. Sterne Tighe 1891-1896
Students 1896-1903
Rev. F. Wilkinson 1903-1906
Rev. J.E. Lindsay 1906-1909
Rev. J.E. Dixon 1909-1924
Rev. W.O. Ware 1924-1926
Rev. Thomas Leach 1926-1937
Rev. H. C. Secker 1937-1941
Rev. C.C. Brazil 1941-1943
Rev. H. C. Secker 1943-1946
Rev. A. P. Scott 1946-1947
Rev. W. B. Williston 1947-1961
Rev. Norman Rutter 1961-1965
Rev. Dennis Powell 1965-1967

This information from Jean Tugwell Jan 14 1980 –submitted by St. Bartholomew’s Church.

If you have any information on the priests of this church please email me!

I am looking for name, dates of birth, death, ordination and when they served the church. Also photos, and anything else interesting during their pastorate.

Church Links

- Amherst Island churches page from Amherst Island site-includes photo

- See Chapter VIII of Tales of Amherst Island By H.C. Burleigh, 1980


Many Thanks to St. Bartholomew's Church who sent me a large package of write ups, articles etc to add to this site.

The Islands: Amherst Island: Churches: Christ Church

Return to The Islands Main Page
Copyright (©) 2000-2004 Jennifer Hoeltzel. All rights reserved.
Send comments or suggestions regarding this site to the webmaster:

Jen Wylie nee Hoeltzel