The roots of Marchmont Baptist Church (MBC) extend back to 1877 when people in the Marchmont area met in their homes to hear Rev. William Lambert preach the gospel. Mr Jacob Powley, a Marchmont landowner, sold a parcel of land to a group of Marchmont Christians that were members of Orillia Baptist Church (now First Baptist Church) for $1.00. Sometime prior to 1888 (records destroyed in a house fire) a church was built on the land and services were held there with the Pastor from Orillia Baptist preaching. In October 1888, thirty one members of Orillia Baptist were granted letters of dismissal to become members of the church at Marchmont. The first regular business meeting of MBC was held November 13, 1888 and the first minister to accept the pastorate was John Trickey.
In 1896, Rev. J. Blatherwick became pastor until 1901. Rev. Blatherwick had the distinction of being cousin of Charles Dickens.
In 1918, MBC’s first missionary went out to Africa to serve under the Sudan Interior Mission. Hope Wallis, eldest daughter of Edmund & Isabelle Wallis, took nursing and then attended and graduated from Toronto Bible College. Hope’s deepest desire since childhood had been to become a missionary in Africa and those wishes were realized when she was sent to Minna, Nigeria. She served there from 1918 to 1926. After returning to Canada, she dearly wished to return, but her parents ill health and then her own prevented that from happening.
In 1923, the congregation numbered 61 and outgrew the church building. MBC decided to buy the old, abandoned Gospel Hall. Once the purchase had been accomplished, the building was moved over and adjoined to the back of the church. Apparently this was quite and exciting feat, especially for the young lads of the church who were allowed to help!
From the beginning, MBC had shared Pastors with East and West Oro who were hoping to some day form their own church. In 1927 that Pastor was Rev. A.T. Finlayson. Rev. Finlayson lived in Oro and traveled back and forth to MBC and was paid $10 a week. By 1930, times were extremely hard and the congregation at MBC could only afford to pay Rev. Finlayson $8 a week. Other issues arose and Rev. Finlayson and the people of East and West Oro withdrew from the Convention of Ontario and Quebec. To keep Marchmont from closing, Orillia Baptist helped by taking on MBC as a mission. For many years the pastor of Orillia Baptist would conduct Sunday afternoon services in Marchmont.
In June 1960, Don Corbett was called to assist Rev. R.F. LeDrew, Pastor of Orillia Baptist, or by now, First Baptist in Orillia, by taking over the duties of MBC as Pastor. By this time the old church was beginning to need extensive repairs. More room was needed and the old pews needed to be replaced. A building fund was started and a search for a site began. In 1962, Mr. and Mrs. E. Wassenaar and Mr. and Mrs. Hesselius offered to trade a lot (where MBC stands today) for the old church and lot near the North River. Their kind offer was gratefully accepted and on April 28, 1963, a sod turning ceremony was held to begin the new building. By January 12, 1964, the new building was complete and a dedication service was held. The parsonage was built in 1972.
On May 28, 1989, the people of MBC held their centennial celebrations. There were special services and speakers. Former Pastors spoke, each highlighting their own periods of service.
In 2013, an addition was added to the front of the church creating a larger foyer for fellowship, office space and an elevator for accessibility. For further information about Marchmont Baptist Church, a copy of “One Hundred Years and More in Marchmont Baptist Church, 1888-2007” by Laura Dobson can be borrowed from the church library.
~ ~ taken from “a Short History of Marchmont Baptist Church, 1888-2002” by Laura Dobson