(newspaper clipping provided by Mr. Allan Boone, Geary)
Geary Baptist Church - a History
by Eugene Campbell (page two of the Oromocto Monitor, Friday December 13, 1974)
Geary and area have been the scene of many lively religious revivals over the past hundred and fifty years. Perhaps the oldest organized church in the area is the Geary Baptist Church. It was first organized on the 11th of October, 1856, but it is thought that the Free Baptists had been preaching in the area since the 1830's. Geary Church was recognized in April of 1896 by Elder John Henderson.
The record book of the first church after re-organization - in the possession of Allan Boone of Geary - has the following inscription; "Having been brought as we humbly trust by Divine Grace to embrace the Lord Jesus Christ and accept Him as our Lord and Saviour and believing that the interest of His Kingdom requires our united effort, we do therefore give ourselves up to Him and agree with each other, to walk together in Him with Brotherly Love, seeking our duty to God and one another and to the world and in view of these, we adopt the following as our Church Covenant -
- We will exercise a mutual care as members one of another striving to keep the unity of the spirit in the bonds of peace to promote growth of the whole body in Christian knowledge, Holiness and comfort, and to labor together by prayer precept and example for the Salvation of sinners.
- We agree to exert our influence for the constant maintenance of the public and social worship of God and the ordinance of His House holding constant communion with each other.
The first permanent church for the area still stands. The lumber for the church was provided by people of the Geary and Lauvina area - and transported to the site by the local residents. No foundation was under the church in the beginning, only a rock wall. In 1950-51, when the highway was widened and the church was moved back, a new cement foundation was placed under the building. Rev. Mr. Murray supervised.
In 1903, the interior of the church was finished under the supervision of Harry Wood of French Lake, who took the contract for $600.00.
The church was dedicated on Sunday, the 25th of October, 1903 by the Reverend Joseph Noble, who at the time was in his 86th or 87th year.
The first funeral service held from the church was held for James Whitman Boone in 1904. The second one was for Thomas E. Smith in Sept. of 1904. The first wedding was that of Louise Till to Manson Smith in either 1913 or 1914. The second was Bertha Howe to John Meade on the 24th of December, 1914.
The first Deacons of the church in 1903 were Thomas Harper, and Samuel Boone. Fred Harper was the assistant Deacon. First Trustees were Fred A. Harper, Reuben J. Phillips and Thomas D. Smith.
An old wood stove was used from 1903 until the 1940's. When the basement was completed, a wood furnace was installed and later converted to oil. Music from 1905 to 1958 was by an old reed organ. The piano now used was purchased in 1950.
It is interesting to note that in the 1920's the entire income for a twelve month period was less than $100.00. The old record book shows collection for a Sunday Service would run as low as $1.43.
George A. Boone, Clerk of the Church, resigned his post on the 15th of February 1921 and was replaced soon after by Dorcas Smith. May 16th, 1910, on motion, the following officers were elected for the Sunday School: Manzer Howe, superintendent, and Dorcas Smith, assistant superintendent. George A. Boone, secretary-treasurer, and Eva Phillips, librarian. On the 2nd of October, 1921, Reuben Phillips, Fred Harper and Thomas Smith resigned as Church Trustees.
Names of the ministers who have served the Baptist Faith in Geary and Lauvina are: Rev. G.W. MacDonald, ordained in Oromocto on the 22nd of July, 1866, Rev. Joshua n. Barnes, Rev. Joseph Noble, Rev. Solomon Smith, Rev. J. Gravinor, Rev. E.B. Grey, Rev. William Kinghorn, Rev. Samuel J. Perry, Rev. J. Henderson, Rev. John H. Puddington, Rev. Mr. Vincent, Rev. Lorne W. Matheson and the present Minister, Hartley Britton. Puddington pastored in 1901-1902 - possibly 1903.
Clerks of the church since it was built were George Alonzo Boone, 1903-1921; Dorcas Smith 1921-1923; Mrs. Isabelle Howe, 1923-1958; Allan Boone, 1958-1970; and the present clerk, Mrs. Allie Carr.
The Women's Missionary Society was organized in 1936 by Miss Flora Clarke, an overseas Missionary. The Young Peoples Group, then known as the B.Y.P.U. was organized in the late 1930's or early 1940's.
The old horse shelter built during the pastorate of the Rev. David Patterson from 1909 to 1913 was torn down on the 17th of June 1956.
The people of Lauvina had a start on a church in the late 1870's or early 1880's. The frame was put up, and the pews were not installed, planks were used instead. There had never been any start on a church in Geary until the present building was began in 1902. The church was named Centerville and the name was used until the middle of the 1940's at which time it was changed because it was constantly getting mixed up with a pastorate in Carleton County.
Previous to 1903, the services held in Geary and Lauvina were held in the school house. Geary and Lauvina had always been in the Oromocto circuit until the 31st of August, 1959 - when the Oromocto field was divided and then Geary, French Lake and Waterville became a new field. The first minister of the new division was the Rev. H.W. Britton, who is now serving his second term. French Lake had originally been in the Rusagonis circuit. The earliest record of a pastor in Geary was in 1866. He was Rev. G.W. MacDonald, ordained in the Oromocto Church on the 22nd of July, 1866.
Today, the Geary, French Lake and Waterville Baptist churches are probably amongst the most active churches in Sunbury County. The work done by the church is most certainly felt far and wide - and more than appreciated by a large number of people.