Rural Moore Township - Knox, Moore Presbyterian Church

Black and white photo of white church

In 1881, Mr. Alex White held a meeting in his home to make arrangements for the building of a church. A portion of land was deeded for the building site from Mr. James Anderson. The church was built in 1882 by Mr. John Dodds, largely through the efforts of Rev. McKutcheon, who was to be the first minister. 

On May 14, 1882 the church was opened for worship. Rev. James McKutcheon conducted the opening service. Mr. Struthers was the first elder and Mr. W. J. Courtney served as precentor. The first Communion Roll in the 1880's contained 35 names. Sunday collections in 1886 ranged from a low of 40¢ in October, November and most of December, to a high of 76¢ on Dec. 26.

Rev. McKutcheon was well loved by his congregation. They followed the Scottish traditions during worship services (sitting for singing of psalms and paraphrases and standing for prayer). No musical instruments were allowed in the church. Rev. McKutcheon was strongly opposed to the use of an organ during worship at Knox. After his death on December 1, 1889, an organ was purchased. William James Courtney and Miss Nina White (Mrs. Joseph Hackney Sr.) led the congregation in singing.

Rev. McKutcheon made such a lasting impression on the church that forty years later, on Sept. 20th 1929, the session unveiled a picture in his honour. That picture hung in the church on the west wall. Miss Margaret Brown donated the picture. The unveiling service was held on October 1, 1929 and was performed by Mr. Charles Nisbet, an elder. 

A congregational meeting was held on Jan. 28, 1889. The Board of Managers gave a report. They decided to lower the stove pipes. To accomplish this task, four iron hooks and two elbows were necessary, at a cost of $1.25. The Board also decided to place zinc under the stove as a guard against fire. This was done at a cost of 64 cents.

In Rev. McKutcheon's day the church was quite Mission-minded. They contributed heavily to the Mission for the evangelization of the French. Knox also gave funds to The Home Mission Fields, the Foreign Mission Fields and the Points aux Tremble Schools. 

Rev. Alexander Urquhart was inducted into the Knox charge in September 1890. During the summer of 1894, the church burned completely to the ground under mysterious circumstances. The fire started on a Sunday about the time that Sunday School met. Rumour states that some children placed a firecracker in a knothole and a smoldering piece set the Church on fire. 

After the fire began, men carried out the pulpit, the organ, the Bible and even managed to tear out the pews and save them. The fire could not be put out and the building was destroyed. Six hundred and eighty-eight dollars and twenty-five cents was collected from the London Mutual Insurance Company. 

After the fire, the congregation met in the Temperance Hall. The organ was used until the 1920's. 

In 1895 a building committee was formed. The plan for the new church was drawn up by Mr. Alexander McKay. In 1896, the new church was built by James Gauld and George Taylor. On October 25, 1896 Rev. Dr. Thompson, pastor of St. Andrew’s Church, Sarnia, opened the new church. 

During 1898, the Rev. W.D. Bell was inducted to the charge in Mooretown. Each congregation paid $175 annually to the minister. He was given three weeks holidays each year. 

Rev. A. M. Shannon was inducted in 1920. A basement was put under the church and a small addition was added to the north during Rev. Shannon's pastorate. The debt was paid in 1936.  Mr. Peter Shaw of Brigden completed the work. Re-opening ceremonies were held on Sept. 22, 1922.

In 1925, the congregation voted 23 to 19 in favour of remaining a Presbyterian church rather than becoming part of the United Church. 

Rev. Thomas Dodds accepted a call to the Church in 1927 and ministered at Knox until 1935, when he was forced to resign due to ill health. Rev. W. Ross Adams arrived in 1937 and remained until 1939. This was the beginning of a difficult time for Knox. Short ministries followed. The summer of 1939 brought Rev. Neil Smith and Rev. Fisher came in 1942. He remained until 1946. Rev. George Killen, a very strict man of the old school, arrived in 1948 and retired in 1950. The church saw various ministers come and go in the following years. 

During the thirty years of short pastorates the congregation slowly declined. This reflected somewhat the decline in the rural community. In May 1971, Rev. John Cruickshank came to Knox. Many new families entered the church and previous families returned. The average worship attendance in 1981 was fifty. Rev. Cruickshank still conducted worship into 1985.

In 2007 Knox Moore Presbyterian Church celebrated its 125th anniversary.  Following a service, the church hosted a barbeque and games, as well as a reunion of the Sunday School alumni.

In 2020, Knox Moore Presbyterian still has a place as one of two Presbyterian Churches in the former Moore Township area.  There continues to be a faithful choir, regular Sunday School meetings and other activities held regularly in the church.