First Cornwallis Baptist Church

Upper Canard, Kings County, Nova Scotia

A Short History of First Cornwalls Baptist

A Long History of Serving God and Others

edward manningOne cannot understand the early history of First Cornwallis Baptist without understanding the story of the founding pastor, Rev. Edward Manning. Born in Ireland in 1766 Manning came to Nova Scotia shortly before the Great Nova Scotia Awakening which began in 1776 through the charismatic preaching of Henry Alline.  Even though he was not converted until April of 1789, and through the ministry of John Payzant, for the rest of his life Manning never forgot the vivid image of Alline, with tears flowing, begging him to flee the wrath to come.

Manning joined the Cornwallis New Light Congregational Church located near Jawbone Corner.  He soon felt the “call” to preach and was ordained as pastor of the church in October, 1795 when Payzant moved to Liverpool. The church was an uneasy alliance of “awakened” Congregationalists and Baptists. For the next few years Manning baptized adults and infants, by sprinkling or immersion, according to the wishes of those concerned, but by 1798 he was convinced of the Baptist position of believer’s baptism and was himself baptized by immersion by Rev. Thomas Chipman. Over time the difficulties of leading a church of both Baptists and Congregationalists became painfully obvious and in 1807 Manning, his wife, and seven followers left the Congregational church to form a separate Baptist church.

One man’s struggle with God soon became a vision share the Good News with all people starting in the valley and then literally around the globe. Within two years the little church grew to sixty-five members and then it doubled again by 1821. Between 1828 and 1878 the congregation planted five other churches: Berwick (1828), Billtown (1835), Pereaux (1861), Port Williams (1868), and Canning (1870). During this same time it was reported that about “twenty-five young men have gone out from this church to preach the Gospel.” Among those was Rev. Dr. Charles Tupper an early advocate for missions and higher education, and Rev. I. E. Bill a prominent pastor, educator, historian and author. 

In 1870 Hannah Maria Norris visited First Cornwallis and established one of the first Women’s Missionary Societies.  Among the missionaries coming out of the first century of the Cornwallis history were three of the famous serving seven sent to Burma in 1873 (Rufus & Mary Sanford and Flora Eaton) and Silas Tertius Rand who in 1849 was the first Baptist appointed to reach out to the first nations people of the Maritimes.

winifred and studentsIn the early the twentieth century church planting continued as First Cornwallis helped restart the congregation in Gibson Woods (1914) and began a new work in Centreville (1918). At the same time new pastors and missionaries continued to be nurtured and sent out. Include among these were several with the last name Eaton: Rev. Dr. Ross Eaton who served churches in eastern, central and western Canada; Rev. Dr. Frank Eaton who served churches in Nova Scotia for over forty four years; Dr. Perry Eaton, a medical missionary, Winifred Eaton, a teacher and educator and her sister Evelyn who served as a nurse. Combined these sisters gave over eighty years of service to India.

2011 mission teamAs the Church has now entered its third century of Christian witness, it continues to be a community devoted to serving God and others at home and abroad. In the past ten years First Cornwallis has been part of the training experience for ten ministry students, and not a year has passed without at least one mission team being sent out for short term service. These teams have included several youth trips within the Atlantic Provinces, along with family mission experiences within the Maritimes and to the inner city of Toronto.

In these past few years, the church has rediscovered the joy of sending people overseas through short term mission experiences. Lisa Lohnes traveled to India in 2010 where among other things, she visited the school in Tuni begun by Winifred Eaton ninety years earlier. In 2011 a team of seven youth and adults spent ten days serving in the Middle East. In 2012 four adults and youth spent March Break as part of a team working in downtown Toronto and in 2013 eight adults and youth spent two weeks in Bolivia serving with Canadian Baptist Ministries. At the same time the congregation continues to serve and give to the local community both in cooperation with other local churches, and through its own initiatives.


Re-Opening First Cornwallis Baptist Church

The Deacons Board is delighted to announce that First Cornwallis will be opening its doors to the public for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic started on October 11, 2020; Thanksgiving Sunday. Some of the ways in which our regular Sunday services ran prior to COVID-19 have changed and new safety measures are being taken.

To help you prepare and ease your worries about what is coming, the Deacons Board, in consultation with the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada and Nova Scotia Public Health, has prepared a COVID-19 Prevention Plan that will help us to worship together safely as we re-open.

Below is a quick summary of what you can expect:
  • Wearing a non-medical mask will be mandatory for anyone inside the church building at all times, unless they have a valid medical reason in accordance with regulations from Nova Scotia Public Health
  • Physical distancing must be adhered to while inside the church building
  • A pre-screening questionnaire will be given in the entryway of the church to ensure anyone worshipping with us is not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19
  • Visitors to our church will be asked to provide their name and contact information so they can be contacted in the event of a potential case of COVID-19 at the church
  • Offering will be collected at the entrance to the Sanctuary
  • The nursery will be closed until further notice
  • Communion will be discontinued until further notice
  • All high-contact surfaces in the church building will be disinfected before every service
  • There will be no hymnals, Bibles, or chorus books in the Sanctuary. All song lyrics and Scripture will be shown on the projector screen at the front of the Sanctuary
  • Congregational singing will only be allowed if they are wearing a non-medical mask
  • If there is a suspected potential case of COVID-19 in the church building, strict measures will be taken at that time to ensure everyone is kept as safe as possible

We hope that this helps you to understand what changes we have made to ensure that everyone worshipping with us is kept safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. For a full copy of our COVID-19 Prevention Plan, please CLICK HERE. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask a member of the Deacons Board. We hope to see you on October 11th. May God bless us and continue to watch over us during these difficult times.
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