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Fortune United Church

Fortune United Church, formerly Methodist, was the first religion established in the community. Its humble beginnings, before the arrival of a clergy, indicates the importance of religious faith in the lives of the early settlers.

John Lake, a Methodist, conducted services in his home from 1801-1811, in the absence of a minister. Rev. Richard Knight, the first Missionary to be stationed in Fortune Bay, took over the Grand Bank circuit, which included Fortune, in 1817. Rev. Knight performed the first marriage in Fortune, between Mary A. Buffett and William Bennett, on 18 February 1817.

Residents of Fortune donated the sum of seventy pounds (British) to build the first chapel in 1824. It measured 23 feet long by 17-1/2 feet wide. Thirty-one members were enrolled in the local Methodist Society by 1831 and the congregation was still growing. What was later called 'the first revival in Fortune' occurred in this chapel in 1848 under the Rev. Thomas Fox. Work on the second chapel began in 1844. It was dedicated in 1849 and enlarged in 1855.

With the arrival of James N. Haddon, teacher, in 1869, the Methodist Church in Fortune enjoyed excellent leadership in music and singing. Few churches could compete with the Fortune congregational singing and Mr. Haddon's organ music.

In 1877 Rev. Jabez Hill became the first clergy to serve Fortune as a separate circuit. During the morning service of 15 November 1877, the third chapel was dedicated, measuring 50 feet wide by 90 feet long and with a seating capacity of 800.

Rev. Hill also got work started on the first parsonage, which was first occupied by Rev. R.W. Freeman in 1879. The second Manse was opened on 16 May 1961 and is still in use.

Work began on the fourth church in 1908 under the leadership of Rev. William Swann. A memorial window in this church, dedicated on 9 March 1911, was in honour of his wife, Mrs. Jane Swann. This church was in use when the Methodist became part of the United Church of Canada in 1925.

On 9 May 1965, a sod-turning ceremony was held to start the fifth, and present, church. Demolition of the old church began on 14 July and excavation for the basement of the new one began 13 days later. The cornerstone was laid on 28 November by Mr. Freeman Lake and Rev. N.B. Hodder, President of Conference. On 22 May 1966 the church was officially opened by Rev. Heber G. Colbourne, Minister of the Fortune Church at that time.

Cemetery Transcriptions: Section A, Section B, Section C, Section D, Section E, Section F, Secton G

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Manse
Old Cemetery
New Cemetery
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New Cemetery

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