In Kentville, the first place of worship of any denomination was a Methodist chapel built in 1821 (east side of Prospect Ave near where the Anglican church is now). Itinerant ministers served as travelling preachers there. With the founding of Acadia University, their Baptist ministry students offered services there too. The church then moved to the corner of Academy Street with hopes that it would become a Union Church with many denominations worshipping there together. It maintained a Methodist heritage but burned down in 1860. A new Methodist church was dedicated on March 7, 1897.
A Congregational church building was erected at Chipman’s Corner in Cornwallis in 1762 and served to 1874. Toward the end of the 18th century, the church at Chipman’s Corner was used more by Presbyterians in the area.
With the passing years, the Presbyterian congregations of Canard, Kentville and Lakeville developed from the Chipman’s Corner Presbyterian Congregation.
The Presbyterian Congregation at Chipman’s Corner experienced a division in 1859, so a new Presbyterian Church was erected in Kentville.
St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church was dedicated on May 22, 1859. The church at Chipman’s Corner was torn down in 1874.
In 1911, this Presbyterian Church and lot were sold to the Royal Bank. Arrangements were made for the Presbyterians to worship in the Methodist Church until they had a new church building. The Presbyterians worshipped in St. Stephen Methodist Church from 1912-1915.
The cornerstone of the new Presbyterian Church was laid on July 8, 1914. It was built of unhewn red quartzite, mingled with white quartz, obtained nearby, with grey free stone trimmings. The new St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church was opened January 17, 1915.
The Methodists and Presbyterians of Kentville united in 1923 and continued to use the Presbyterian Church building after the formation of The United Church of Canada in 1925. The former St. Stephen’s Methodist church was used as a hall but later sold.
Renovations were made after a disastrous fire in 1940, and later renovations included installing an elevator and kitchen and bathroom modifications. Many members of the congregation generously assisted in these improvements over the years.
Stained glass windows, donated by a number of families in the 1960’s and 1970’s, beautified the church.
A History of St. Paul & St. Stephen was prepared by Horace B. Dickey, Q.C. in 1975. This page from the Maritime Conference Archives provides additional information. We have also included the St. P. & St. S. Oral History for Decomm. Service Aug. 17, 2014 given by the Rev. Krista Anderson during the Decommissioning Service as it provides interesting vignettes and memories.