Prince Edward South Pastoral Charge
"Where you will find Spirit-filled worship; Christ centered hospitality and the love of God shared generously."
Three little Church gems in the County

History

A very high percentages of these settlers and those who followed them were dedicated Christians belonging to several Methodist denominations.

One of these, the Wesleyan Methodist Church, had 23 classes or "appointments" in the "Milford Circuit" by 1857, and was only one of several Methodist denominations active in the area during the following decades of rapid growth and relative prosperity. Meetings were held in held in chapels, schoolhouses and homes, including the founding congregations for at least nine churches: Cressy, Bongards, Black Creek, Milford (Mt. Tabor), South Bay, Long Point (Carman), Cherry Valley/East Lake, Salmon Point, and West Lake. Other appointments of the time included Dulmage SH, Soup Harbour, Platts, Spensers SH, Pine Grove, Green Bush, Walmsleys, Mt Carmel, Woodrows Corner, Rock SH, Clapps SH, Stone Mills, Cummings, and Rankins. These were served by two "circuit rider" ministers and twenty volunteer "Travelling Preachers," "Local Preachers," "Class Leaders," and "Exhorters."

Several stages of church unions in the 19th-century culminated in 1925 with the union of four denominations including the Methodists and most Presbyterians to form the United Church of Canada. At that time there were many separate congregations organized into three or four circuits centred on Cressy/Glenora; Milford/South Bay; and Cherry Valley/East Lake/Salmon Point. (The precise organization of circuits varies frequently, often including larger populations centres in Picton and Bloomfield).

Union resulted in far too many churches to be supported by a rapidly declining rural population. The former Carman Methodist Episcopal Church on Point Traverse (Long Point) at Babylon and Whattams road held its last services in 1926, and was demolished in 1941. In 1967 the church hierarchy decided to close many more churches and merge the remainder into pastoral charges. Of those formerly part of two distinct multi-point charges-Milford and Cherry Valley-The Milford (Mt Tabor), Union (Point Traverse), and Black River churches were closed, retaining only South Bay, and the Salmon Point and Point Petre churches were closed, retaining only Cherry Valley.

In the decades that have followed, despite the sharp decline in family farms resulting in fewer young families participating in church life, their doors remain open and their attitudes hopeful, drawing upon deep roots, tenacity, and a strong commitment to community-building, such that both churches and much beloved and well-supported by many neighbours who are not active members.