Gravel Hill & 
	Monkland Churches

History of St. Andrew's, Monkland

The Growing Years

The Beginnings

The town of Monkland traces its beginnings back to 1885 (see plate above). In the early years, Presbyterians in Monkland worshipped at St. James' Presbyterian Church in Gravel Hill. As Monkland grew in population, so did the need for having local Presbyterian religious services.

When did the Monkland Presbyterian congregation actually start? That's hard to say:

  • The church building was built in 1909, but services were being held before then.
  • As early as 1906, weekly prayer meetings were held in either MacGillivray's or Truax's Hall.
So there is no doubt that Presbyterians were in the area, but whether they were formally constituted before 1909 as an actual congregation is unknown.

Rev. Hector N. MacLean (1905-1906)

The first Presbyterian minister serving the congregation was the Rev Hector N. MacLean.

For a time, he provided 3 sermons on Sunday, plus various prayer meetings and other services through the week. The workload was too much, particularly if pastoral care and other initiatives were needed. By the end of 1906, the Rev. MacLean gave up the work in Gravel Hill and Monkland so he could focus on Avonmore.

picture of the Rev.Hector N. MacLean

Rev. James Hastie (1906-1908/1907-1909)

In 1907(according to Herbert Hill's article on Monkland but 1906 according to the article on Gravel Hill), the Rev. James Hastie became the minister for both St. James at Gravel Hill and St. Andrew's at Monkland.

During his time there, the congregation continued to grow. The first communion service in Monkland was held March 3, 1907.. By the end of the year, 7 more members had been received into the congregation.

By 1909, a second track of the railway was built; the village of Monkland was flourishing; and the needed for a permanent place to worship was obvious. Land was bought from Hugh Lavine and William Kinnear.

Andrew Drysdale (1909-1911)

But it was the student minister, Andrew Drysdale, who took over from the Rev. Hastie, who was perhaps the most influential and the most remembered.

He took over in 1909. In March, a motion was passed for the congregation to ask the Presbytery for permission to build a church. Permission was given, and Mr. Drysdale canvassed the countryside for funds. Only a few months later, in August, 1909, the building was finished and dedicated. It was also debt-free. The church bell was donated by Mr. A.D. Cummings who died shortly before the church was dedicated; the bell tolled for the time for his funeral.

The dedication service was conducted by Rev. N.H. MacGillivray with Mr. Drysdale participating. As part of the dedication service, the church was named St. Andrew's in honour of Andrew Drysdale.

In 1911, Andrew Drysdale had graduated and moved on from the area.

For details about ministers, see our St. James' (Gravel Hill)'s history, pages.

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picture of the Andrew Drysdale

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