Presbyterian Church activity began in Wiarton around 1875. Services were first held in the school and supplied in the summer with theological students as a mission of the Owen Sound Presbytery. The first building was erected in 1875, on the west side of Gould Street where the original Manse now stands. The following year we were officially established as a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. In 1880 Elders were elected and ordained, and three years later, the Rev. E.N.B. Millard became first Minister inducted into the parish.

From the beginning St. Paul's has been ecumenically minded. In 1891 Presbyterians and Congregationalists (who had been in the area since 1859) combined to form what the Wiarton Echo referred to as the "United Church.” This union produced our present church building, the cornerstone of which was laid October 1st, 1891.

By 1898, a group of dedicated ladies formed a group called "Pastor's Aid." It was later renamed the "Busy Bees." They promoted and helped raise funds for mortgage payments, the congregation's share of the cost of the pipe organ (This organ, installed 1906, has been recognized with historic organ citations from both the Royal Canadian College of organists and the (U.S.) Organ Historical Society; see OHS St. Paul's.), as well as many necessities and niceties for the new church, along with attending to providing care, concern and "good works" within the church and the community. Later, the group's name was changed to "Ladies' Aid." Today their work continues under the name, "Service Club."

Information regarding worship is, unfortunately, sparse in the Church records. A few details are noted, however. Communion Services were held four times annually with a Preparation Service the Thursday evening prior to Communion and a Service of Thanksgiving on the Monday afterward. By 1917 the Preparatory Service had been moved to Friday and the Thanksgiving on Monday dropped. A common glass was shared at the Sacrament until some time after 1911 when individual glasses became popular.

In 1911 the issue of Church Union with the Methodists first arose. A vote was taken in February of 1912, and union approved by a majority of more than two to one. The question was raised again in 1915 but this time was defeated by fourteen votes. At the final vote in 1924, union was again rejected and so St. Paul's remained on the Presbyterian side of the 1925 division.

The longest serving minister at St. Paul's was the Rev. George Millar, who came with his family from Ireland. He served for fourteen years, from 1957 until his death in 1971. (The Minister's Study is called the Millar Room in honour of him and his wife.)

In 1978 the parish's first woman Elder was elected and ordained. The first woman Minister was appointed in 1982.

The people of St. Paul's celebrated their 130th Anniversary in September, 2009. The work of St. Paul's Church in Wiarton continues.


History cannot be contained by the printed page. Like the Gospel, it is written "not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, and not on stone tablets but on human hearts." (St. Paul: 1 Cor. 3:3)