St. Andrew’s United Church, Hodge’s Cove

The following information was transcribed from an information sheet we believe was written for the official opening of St. Andrew’s United Church, Hodge’s Cove, 1988


Welcome to St. Andrew’s United Church


Look around St. Andrew’s United Church in Hodge’s Cove, Newfoundland and you can see the modern stylings of electronic chimes, carpet, fresh paint, siding, oil heat and plumbing. This may not seem so significant today, but how it got this way is truly a feat.

“God provides” is a common quote among Christians, and the United Church in Hodge’s Cove has proven this idea. The faith in God felt by a handful of settlers determined our fate today as we look around at all God’s provided over 200 years of history. This is a muted account of how they did it.

With the arrival of permanent settlers in the early 1800’s, spiritual needs soon followed. Money was not readily available and life was hard, but the people were tenacious and deeply devout. Prayer meetings were held at homes, everyone crowding around a pot-bellied stove for heat, Bibles opened near the lantern, discussing pertinent scriptures. If they were lucky enough, they would have among them an organist who would warm his fingers at the stove before belting out time-honored hymns while a makeshift clergyman (usually a senior member of the group with much knowledge) would lead prayers and discuss what it means to be a good person. All this accomplished by people who didn’t enjoy luxuries of handbooks and manuals, sound systems, money to spend or even the ability to read.

As the population grew and funds increased, the first Methodist (later changed to United) Church was built on a tract of land next to the area where the second United Church now stands. Every man, woman and child who was able, put everything they had into building this building dedicated to God. Many of the builders were Jacob Smith, Joseph Baker, Thomas Stringer, Albert Churchill and master builder Isaac John Smith. Through all the obstacles the church was completed thanks to hard work, generosity, determination and God’s favor.

This original church (also used as a schoolhouse) was later towed up the road to where Hubert and Florence Green live today. Fall 1926 saw a new era when the “new” United Church (no longer called Methodist) was built in almost the same spot where the original church was built. Once again the congregation rallied together, and once again God provided the means to construct the much-needed building. The church officially opened its doors in 1932 and continued to serve the area for 58 years. For many of these years Thomas Baker held the position of Lay Reader for the congregation. But as the years passed, the building was succumbing to the effects of time and there was much talk about when to close its doors.

Talk soon turned to the decision to build a new church in May 1985. Although Hodge’s Cove was not wealthy in monetary terms, spiritually they were wealthy beyond anyone’s dreams, much like their ancestors. Entering into the uncertain future of procuring land, obtaining building materials as well as abiding by the never-ending laws and rules demanded by government and insurances, the congregation reached out to God. Many prayers went out asking once again for God’s intervention to provide, even when the situation seemed overwhelming. And once again, He provided. Through the generosity and spirit of the locals. The sod turning ceremony took place June 1986 and within two years their prayers were answered … and then some. Skilled trades people gave freely of their time and knowledge, people donated money and items, the UCW held more fundraisers than anyone could imagine, even the artesian well was donated. History was repeating itself again. Prayers were said and God responded. What a proud and humbling time for the congregation. St. Andrew’s opened its door October 1988 – completely debt-free. Quite a feat!

Still seen at St. Andrew’s today is the bell that was used at the previous church. This bell was bought in 1952 and discontinued in 1996 with the introduction of electronic chimes. Imagine how many of our ancestors were called to church by the ringing of that bell.

Also taken from the old church was the organ. The organ (now in the church hall downstairs) was purchased second-hand in the 1930’s. It is still used today for functions held in the hall. Also notable about the organ is that a 9-year-old Hannah Jane (Baker) Smith played this organ. Hannah Jane loved the instrument. She began to play for the church in 1944 and continued for over 60 years! Although she has since passed, anyone who looks at the old organ can’t avoid thinking fondly of Hannah Jane who was one of the most integral members of our congregation.

Many groups have survived the transition as well. The UCW, who worked tirelessly to see this building happen, continue their efforts to oversee fellowship and functionality of the church. We have Sunday school, lay readers, sexton, choirs, specialty committees and priceless volunteers, all donating their time, talents and tithes each and every year.

Our congregation has also welcomed new members from Long Beach. They have become an important part of our church, holding positions of leadership and becoming part of our family.

Putting it all in perspective, the inconveniences and labors of today seem petty in comparison to those of the past. Our beginnings came from a much more humble setting than we enjoy today. We should all take a lesson from our ancestors; if they can accomplish that much with so little, how much can we get done with all that we have. We just need to look to the Lord and let go of what is not His.




This transcription may contain human errors. As always, confirm this information as you would any other source material.