Eastport Peninsula:
Religious Affiliations

The population of the Eastport Peninsula until recently was not only remarkably uniform due primarily to its common ancestry and familial relationships, but it was also largely homogeneous in its cultural attributes of dialect, tradition and religion, imprints of its English Wessex origins. Most of the Wessex immigrants who came to Newfoundland adhered to the Church of England (Anglican) but some were Wesleyans (or Methodists). Many early settlers in Bonavista Bay were also converted to Methodism by missionaries stationed at Bonavista. While Methodism was established at Barrow Harbour and subsequently, through migration, at Happy Adventure, Salvage and the rest of the peninsula remained overwhelmingly Anglican in its religious affiliation.

St. Stephen's Church St. Stephen's Church, Salvage, 1981.
Built from 1858 to 1862, St. Stephen's is the oldest structure on the Peninsula and one of the oldest Anglican churches in Newfoundland.

Photo by Gordon Handcock, ©1981. Reproduced by permission of Gordon Handcock.
(39 kb)

Indeed the peninsula can be very closely identified with what was and is the Anglican (formerly Church of England) Parish (formerly Mission) of Salvage. This parish at one time included Flat Islands, Gooseberry Islands, Sailors Island and Long Island along with Barrow Harbour, Broomclose (Harbour) and Little Harbour; and also Bloody Bay (Angle Brook). The Anglican churches at Salvage, Eastport (serving also Sandy Cove and Happy Adventure), Burnside, St. Chad's and Sandringham and the United Church at Happy Adventure (the United Church successor and heir of Methodism) symbolize the religious traditions of generations.

St. Alban's Anglican Church, Burnside, 1986.
While Methodism was established at Barrow Harbour and Happy Adventure, Salvage and the rest of the peninsula remained overwhelmingly Anglican in its religious affiliation.

Photo by Gordon Handcock, ©1986. Reproduced by permission of Gordon Handcock.
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St. Alban's Anglican Church

In each community until the modern era, public education and social life was organized exclusively by the churches and their associated organizations such as the Orange lodges and the Society of United Fishermen.

Orange Lodge Orange Lodge, Salvage, 1986.
The former Orange Lodge (now the Ocean Breeze Lounge), one of many heritage structures in Salvage.

Photo by Gordon Handcock, ©1986. Reproduced by permission of Gordon Handcock.
(43 kb)

The church was not just an institution of spiritual significance and moral direction but also the central organization of culture and community life.

© 2002, Gordon Handcock


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