In January of 1872, the first worship service of the congregation that was to become Mark Street United Church was held in the Ashburnham Town Hall. This service was the result of preparatory work of Mr. Thomas Smiley and Mr. William Wand who felt it was important for people in the Village to have a church of their own. At this time Ashburnham was a separate community from Peterborough, across the river to the east. The congregation grew, and a building was erected on Mark Street, half a block south of the present building, on the east side. It was opened for worship in September 1872.
This first building was enlarged in 1897, with a basement added for Sunday School use, and the east end extended to make provision for a choir loft.
In 1925, the congregation decided a new building was necessary. The cornerstone of the present sanctuary was laid in 1928, and the first service held in the new building in March, 1929. The cost was $42,000 and carried a mortgage of $28,000 into the depression.
As the numbers and activity level of the congregation increased, it was the happy task of the church to embark on a building program. The lot west of the church building was purchased in 1957, and the present Christian Education Centre erected and dedicated in January 1958. The cost was $83,000, a debt which was retired in nine years.
In 1995, the building was altered again with the addition of a larger lobby, an elevator, more washrooms, and many other improvements, at a cost of approximately $200,000. The building is wheelchair accessible, and there are aids for people with hearing or visual challenges.
In April, 2000, our Celtic garden was completed and dedicated. Nestled in an alcove at the side of the building, it provides a place for rest, relaxation and meditation. The garden, with its Celtic cross of inlaid stones, is also used for occasional special services like the Easter Sunday“Communion in the Garden”. The garden was constructed in memory of Rev. Norman and Mildred Kelley and given by their family.
In July 2004, the flood which devastated the city of Peterborough also did extensive damage to parts of the building. Through the incredible dedication of many people, with gifts of time, talent and money, we have a state-of-the-art “new-old” building with which to continue our service to Christ into the 21st century.
On 8 June 2014, the Reverend Dr. Robert J. Root retired after 33 years of service to the people of Mark Street United Church. Anam Cara. In September of that year we were jointed by Rev. Eilert Frerichs, our new Intentional Interim Minister.
Harder to measure than bricks and mortar is the significance of the church in the lives of those who have come to it for spiritual guidance. We give thanks for the ways in which God’s Spirit has strengthened and enriched us.