Middle Musquodoboit Pastoral Charge is two churches located in the heart of the Musquodoboit Valley. Long one of Nova Scotia's agricultural heartlands, Middle Musquodoboit and its neighbouring community, Elmsvale, sit on the banks of the idyllic Musquodoboit River.
People from Elmsvale, Murchyville, Brookvale, Glenmore, South Section, and Chaswood all gather each Sunday at either Middleton United or Riverside United to celebrate the unique ties between the communities and worship God.
Riverside and Middleton have worked together as a two-point charge since the United Church formed. Prior to that, Middleton United was a Presybyterian church dating back to 1814. Riverside United was constructed in 1887 to serve communities between Middle and Upper Musquodoboit.
This arrangement, like so much else in the Valley, draws on a long tradition of shared service and community. That fellowship has allowed two small but thriving congregations to continue their work to this day. Middle Musquodoboit is a bustling, self-sufficient small town and the churches are integral in providing residents with fellowship, care, and love.
Since its founding, Middle Musquodoboit Pastoral Charge has been committed to diversity--indeed, Middleton United is named after Jessie Middleton, who raised most of the money to furnish the church. Like many rural charges, the church relies on the varied backgrounds, talents, and hard work of the people called by God to care for each other.
The Middle Musquodoboit Pastoral Charge has long enjoyed the presence and service of both ministers and lay people who are growing spiritually. Defying stereotypes about rural communities, Middle Musquodoboit is a community eager for new theology and new knowledge and eager to share in that with the broader United Church of Canada. Worship here is stimulating, intersecting social and religious issues with biblical teachings. The church's role is to follow in God's footsteps but also to lead the larger community in dealing with changing times and changing values.
The senior population in Middle Musquodoboit brings a tremendous amount of wisdom and experience to the work of the church. Both the ministers and lay volunteers in Middle Musquodoboit Pastoral Charge have made it part of their work to bring service and sanctuary to those living in the local seniors' homes and hospital.
Over the years, leadership here has been synonymous with resilience. At times, the charge has operated without a full-time minister. The work of Rev. Emerita Marjorie Cornelius continues to inspire others and keep the church together. Recently, Middle Musquodoboit Pastoral Charge has entered into cooperative ministry with Lower Musquodoboit Pastoral Charge and Rev. Dr. Linda Yates, but the unique leadership of Middle Musquodoboit Pastoral Charge continues to guide the church and community into the future.
All major church dates are celebrated in the charge, with special emphasis on the final Sunday in Advent, when a candlelight vigil is held in the town square.
Each summer, a Valley-wide service is held in the provincial park between Middle Musquodoboit and Elmsvale. This is always a highlight, as worship on the riverside imbues the Word with additional presence and meaning. Other large services are held on Christmas Eve and Easter Sunday and always draw a large crowd.
Middle Musquodoboit, as the largest town in the Valley, is home to a variety of other organizations and faith groups, many of whom collaborate directly with our church. On Remembrance Day, an interfaith service is held at the cenotaph outside Middleton United, bringing together all the churches, local scouting troops, and the many, many residents who have proudly served their country.
Regular services at Middleton United are held in the church basement to save on heating costs. On special occasions, the full sanctuary and chancel are opened. Middleton United is also the only church in Musquodoboit with streaming capability, allowing it to hold more than 500 people for large church events. (The church hall at Middleton United is available for rental--please contact the office.)
Please note that Sunday School is NOT held when the rotating service is at Riverside United.
Activities and Fellowship
Middle Musquodoboit Pastoral Charge has an active outreach mission in partnership between both its own two congregations and with local business and cultural organizations.
Community groups routinely use the fully finished basement at Middleton United for meetings and events. It can hold approximately a hundred people, has several separate rooms, and a fully accessible basement with washrooms. The church always has a presence at the Halifax County Exhibition each August and benefits from Scouting groups participating in some services.
A thriving chapter of the United Church Women meets on a regular basis, and hosts an annual turkey supper and used clothing drive. It is also available to cater funeral and wedding receptions and provides welcome baskets to newcomers in the community.
A Meals on Wheels program operates out of the church basement to serve hot meals to shut-ins and the elderly during the fall and winter months.
Riverside United often joins with Higginsville United from the Upper Musquodoboit Pastoral Charge to share some services and host local events. Both churches, as well as Middleton United and the Lower Musquodoboit churches, share in the Arimathea Funeral Co-operative, which fills an important need for many families in the Valley.
You can find Middle Musquodoboit on Facebook as "Middle Musquodoboit Pastoral Charge"
Supporting people to find their own light and share it with others. As a community of faith we strive to:
Hold one another and the people of the Musquodoboit Valley with love. Encourage openness and awareness of the needs of the people of the Musquodoboit Valley and beyond. Educate ourselves and others as we try to meet these needs. Encourage our children to become responsible citizens, respectful of our history as a people of God, confident in themselves and us. Live with respect in creation. Recognize that faith and a relationship with God are personal convictions enhanced through discussion and interaction with others. We may not always agree and when compromise is reached, we recognize this as a sign of growth. Find the spark. Kindle the light. Share it lovingly.
Roll of Ministers
Rev. Dr. Linda Yates: 2014 - Present
Rev. Marjorie Cornelius: 2013 - 2014
Rev. Annika Sangster, D.M.: 2009 - 2013
Rev. Marjory Cornelius: 2001 - 2009
Rev. Stephen Iverson: 1999 - 2001
Rev. Emily Kierstead, D.M.: 1993 - 1999
Rev. John Roy: 1990 - 1992
Rev. Donald McLennan: 1982 - 1989