By Ruth Williamson
In 1971 Mr. Byron Dobson very willingly set aside an attractive piece of property on White Pine Road for a new church. Mr. Ron Capper chaired a committee in April 1973 to head up this work. It was further decided to appoint a student pastor to do visitation work, in order that a Sunday School might be started that year. The Rev. James Alley served excellently in this work.
From 1965 to 1974 the Rev. David Garner had a long and fruitful ministry with the Riverview United Baptist Church, with reduction of the church debt, increase in membership, and an active program of outreach.
In September 1974, the Rev. Hugh McNally began his ministry. The budget has doubled, the mortgage liquidated, and a cassette tape ministry for sick and shut-ins has been instituted.
"Project Philip" has been started as a program for personal evangelism, an "Undershepherd" program has been set up to care for the pastoral needs of the church family, and a new structure of five boards and a church council have been organized.
Church offices have been moved to the Stewart property at 301 Philip Road, and membership of the parish at the end of 1978 was 312 of whom 265 were resident and 47 non-resident.
In April 1976 Miss Christine MacDormand was appointed full time minister of Christian Education, and has proved to be a very versatile individual, competent in music, teaching, organizing children's work and assisting the Pastor. Mrs. Ruth MacNeill was appointed Church secretary in 1975.
One final and current construction note - late in 1984 a couple of parishioners drove south to the state of North Carolina and hauled back with them on the return trip (with the help of a trailer unit) a new fibreglass lighted steeple unit.
In January of 1985 this crowning touch was hoisted to the top of the church tower and firmly fixed into place, a fine addition to the exterior appearance of the structure. The parking area was also increased and a new foyer built.
There are three choirs: Senior, Youth and Junior Groups. Mrs. Ruth Williamson has served as our organist and director of music since May 1962. Her predecessor was Mrs. Alice (Trites) Longmuir, and have both rendered wonderful service to the church. In the fall of 1975 Miss MacDormand and Mr. Walter Leaman began teaching training classes to meet the need for better-trained leaders.
Evangelical Teacher Training Association courses were introduced in the fall of 1978, which led to preliminary and advanced certificates. To this date two courses have been taught by Miss MacDormand and Miss Lauretta Leaman with 30 teachers completing the courses.
The following members were granted preaching licenses: Mr. Robert Cameron, Mr. Willard Warnock, Miss Christine MacDormand and Mr. Michael Trites. Mr. Trites studied for the ministry and has begun a pastorate in the Montague area of Prince Edward Island.
A number of missionaries have gone out from the church to serve overseas. These are: Sandra (MacNeil) McWilliams, serving in Bolivia from 1973-75; Rev. David and Cathie Philips, with their two daughters Elizabeth and Jennifer, overseas from 1977; Willard and Beverly Warnock, with their two sons, Timmie and Freddie, are studying Spanish before going to Bolivia; Gary and Laura Selig, with their daughter Krista, studied French in France before moving on to Zaire, Africa.
Other church activities: prayer meetings are held each week on Wednesday evenings: family Sunday School is composed of Nursery and Junior Church, beginning in 1960, and a Beginner's Church was added in 1975; the Mission Band meets once a month during Junior Church time; the Miriam Ross Guild was organized in 1951 and has met regularly ever since that time; the Catherine McGorman Women's Missionary Society was organized in 1965 and the Shirley Freckleton Women's Missionary Society in the same year, both meet regularly once a month.
Youth Work: CGIT and Trail Rangers were meeting in the school in 1954; an Explorer's Group met for some time in the Coverdale Hall; in 1967 the Christian Service Brigade program was adopted for boys and in 1970 the Pioneer Girls' Program organized for girls; the Baptist Youth Fellowship has been active for many years and in 1976 a College and career Fellowship was started.
At present ten groups of Neighbourhood Bible Studies meet regularly in homes for spiritual growth and Evangelism through the study of God's Word.
Two Training Workshops have been held under Project Philip and several members present the lessons.
"Back yards" Bible Clubs have been a part of the summer outreach ministry for the past three years. In 1978 nine clubs were held and 1,355 homes were visited in the Riverview area.
Vacation Bible Schools have been conducted from time to time in the summer or during spring vacations. In 1977 this church participated in a T.V. Vacation Bible School produced by the United Baptist Churches of Moncton and Saint John areas.
Our Ministers have been:
Licentiate Ray Mabee, during 1954
Rev. E.R. MacWilliam, 1954-1955
Rev. George D. Brydon, 1955-1957
Rev. Roy Bell, interim 1957
Rev. Seth Crowell, 1957-60
Rev. W.S. Barker*, 1960-64
Rev. W.G. Killam, interim 1964-65
Rev. David Garner, 1965-1974
Rev. James Tetley, interim 1974
Rev. Hugh McNally, 1974-1980
Dr. Robert Wilson, interim 1980-81
Rev. Robert Labounty, 1981 to date.
*Rev. W.S. Barker was the first minister called to the Riverview Pastorate. Prior to 1960, the minister of the Gunningsville Church shared the Pastorate.