The little country church

January 5, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Keith Schell

When I was very young, Mom and Dad decided they wanted me as the firstborn to have a proper Christian upbringing and started to investigate the various churches in our area to see which one we might want to attend.

Being country people themselves, my parents found a little out-of-town rural Church that suited their needs perfectly. It was situated on a small hill out in a part of the country where my Father had originally grown up. In fact, the Church itself used to be the very schoolhouse in which my Father was educated as a youth! It was bought by the United Church of Canada and converted into a church as the rural schools were being phased out and consolidated into more urban locations. After the purchase from the local schoolboard, it became known as the Lakeside United Church of Walker’s Point, Ontario.           
As word about the Church spread amongst the locals and the seasonal people, Sunday mornings back then became a beehive of activity as people from all over the area came out to attend the services at the little country Church on the hill. 

When winter came, the Sunday morning Church parking lot became quite a sight to behold. The countryside reverberated with the roar of snowmobiles from the many locals coming through the bush to get to church for morning services. Every Sunday morning the Church parking lot would be filled with cars, trucks, and most makes and models of snowmobiles imaginable for the time, a classic winter snapshot of the Christian heart of rural Canada.   

Some parishioners and seasonal people were dressed up nicely, but many local snowmobilers simply came to Church with regular clothes on under their skidoo suits and helmets or winter coats and insulated pants. Because it was a little country Church, it really didn’t matter if you dressed up fancy when you came to services, just so long as you came.

When services began, we kids would be herded into a side room to begin our bible lessons as the first hymn was being sung in the main section of the church. We would sing children’s Christian songs and take up a kid’s collection plate of money for the Church. Mom and Dad would always give me a little bit of money so I had something to put in the collection plate every Sunday. Then we would break off into classes based on our age.

My Sunday school teacher for all those years was a friend of the family and one of the finest Christian women you could ever want to meet. She and her husband were the tireless leaders of our little country Church for many years.

At the end of Sunday school class, our teacher would give us a little weekly colour newsprint handout known as ‘Pix’ (sometimes known as ‘Bible-in-Life Pix’), which contained bible stories in whole or in serialized parts, realistically illustrated in comic book form. The handout also included a Christian joke and puzzle page. Because the Sunday school would usually let out before the Church did, I would go out to the car when Sunday school ended and sit and read the ‘Pix’ handout until the rest of the church let out. (And that’s how I learned my bible as a kid.)

But sadly, all good things eventually must come to an end. As kids grow into adults, many eventually begin to drift away from where they grew up to start their own lives in new places. And because of this, over the decades the attendance at the little country Church on the hill began to grow smaller and smaller.  

And with that dwindling attendance, the Lakeside Church of Walker’s Point (as it came to be called after becoming interdenominational in an attempt to draw in more people) no longer became feasible and was forced to close its doors permanently after a final service on Sunday, October 8, 2016. (With my Mother and Brother in attendance, the last service at the church was recorded on video and has been posted on YouTube for any of the congregation who wants to reminisce. The property was eventually sold and I believe is now a private residence.)

And time marches on.     

And while the closing of the Church was certainly a loss to the community, I still take solace in the many fond memories and lifelong friendships I have from the countless good and decent people that came into my life when our family worshipped at the little country Church on the hill.   

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