St. David’s Congregation had its beginning in the homes of the early settlers. In 1817, Rev. Donald Allan Fraser from Scotland arrived in Pictou to establish Kirk Congregations in the County and in 1822, his ministry was extended to include Toney River where the Cape John Congregation was organized.
From its beginning, this Congregation was associated with St. John’s Kirk, Scotsburn and lasted until 1907.
The first Church was built around 1934 with Rev. Roderick MacAulay as its minister and was destroyed in a forest fire in 1852. The present church was begun in 1853, completed in 1854 and continues to serve the people here.
Rev. John Goodwin ministered here from 1864 until he resigned in 1868 to sail with his wife and three children to the Hebrides as the first Foreign Missionary to be sent out by the Kirk Synod to the Lower Provinces (a trip which lasted 6 months). This was the same place that the Presbyterian Church of Canada had sent Dr. John Geddie 22 years earlier. The climate proved unfavourable to Rev. Goodwin’s health so they returned in 1878 and settled on P.E.I. to carry on his ministry there.
Among other ministers who served was Rev. James William Fraser from 1870-1907 for 37 years. In Rev. John Murray’s book “The Scotsburn Congregation, It’s History, Professional Men, Etc.”, he wrote that Rev. Fraser was a good preacher, a diligent pastor, a wise counselor and his long pastorate was one of harmony and peace.
In 1908, Cape John church entered the Presbyterian Church of Canada and joined with Melville Church, Caribou River and this union lasted till 1925. In 1913, our church name was changed to St. David’s, Cape John. In 1925, St. David’s, Cape John joined with St. George’s, River John. In 1929, our church became St. David’s Toney River.
Many improvements have been made through the years at St. David’s, making it possible to have various events.
A small cemetery, no longer used, is located at the back of the church and maintained by St. David’s. The earliest known burial is 1929.
So you can see there is a long tradition of Scottish Presbyterianism at St.David’s. As the community grew on the strength of newcomers to Canada, so did it also grow in spiritual strength in the service of God.
Welcome to our humble, simple church. We hope you will enjoy your encounter with God every time you come to visit.
Sunday morning worship is in the traditional style, but often includes a time for the young people to lead and participate.