The Old Church in Island Brook That Needs a Home





My mother’s side was related to the Millers in Island Brook Quebec deep in the townships and now the United Church located about a half hour east of Sherbrooke is slated to be demolished. It’s on my bucket list if I ever win money- but it might be too late.


Once a cornerstone of the tiny Eastern Township community, it’s been mostly unused since it stopped offering regular services in the 1980s. In 2014 the United Church decided to try and sell the building.

The asking price is a paltry $15,000, but so far, there have been no serious offers — probably because buying it means having to move the old church, which was built in 1870, to a new lot.


“I guess I’d rather see it come down than be turned into something I didn’t like but I think it’d be a sad day, to see it come down,” said Don Parsons, a member of the United Church congregation in the townships.

But making the old church difficult to buy was an intentional decision, made by members of the church in the early 90s.

Around that time, a nearby Catholic church was purchased, gutted, and turned into a garage with the steeple and crucifix still atop the building.

“Everyone felt that was disgraceful… or many people felt it was disgraceful. At that point, they said, ‘We’re not going to allow our United Church to go that way,'” said Parsons.

The United Church used to own the land where the chapel sat, but it ceded that land to the cemetery behind the church.

In doing so, members of the congregation knew that the church would need to be moved if purchased.

That move, they hoped, would dramatically decrease the likelihood that it would be purchased in a firesale.

Terry Howell has been acting as the informal caretaker of the building. He lives in Island Brook, Que., and was married in the church in the 70s.

He says he’d like to see the building demolished rather than sold to someone interested in repurposing it into something that could be construed as disrespectful.

“If someone wants to take a church and make a home out of it, fine,” he said.

“I don’t think they should make a disco or bar out of them.”

Parsons says they’re open to lowering the price of the building.

“No reasonable offer refused,” he said.

If I ever win the lotto and the church is still around– look for it in my yard– as I think it would be grand to have in memory of my old Irish ancestors.


So what happened to the church?

October 25, 2016

Andrew Lyon— We attended a service in the cemetery two weeks ago And the church is down. Lumber is stacked and I believe the building could be re-assembled elsewhere.



Related reading:

Before and After — Auld Kirk

Another Example of Local Random Acts of Kindness- Zion Memorial United Church

The Beckwith Baptist Church

Hallelujah and a Haircut —Faces of St. James 1976

What did Rector Elliot from St. James Bring Back from Cacouna?

The Emotional Crowded Houses– St. James

A Sneeze of a Tune from St. Andrew’s Church in Carleton Place

Let The Church Rise– A Little History of St. James Anglican Church

About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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