Our History

(4) England. This, Weagant records, the congregation unanimously accepted. Weagant then wrote to the Bishop, who, in turn, agreed and asked that the congregation forward to him a letter indicating its support. The congregation was informed publicly in church of the Bishop’s response. The congregation eagerly responded to the Bishop, according to Weagant, especially since it would relieve them of the responsibility of raising much of his stipend. A letter to the Bishop was drawn up and signed by seven leading members of the congregations of Williamsburg and Osnabruck. With this letter in hand, Weagant went to Quebec and was ordained a Deacon by Bishop Jacob Mountain on October 18, 1812. He was ordained a Priest on February 24, 1814.

On November 11, 1811 Bishop Mountain signed the document receiving the congregation and their pastor into the Anglican Communion. The name of the church was changed to St. George’s Anglican Church. (Weagant seems to suggest that the Church had been called St. George’s Lutheran Church previously.) Naturally, not all the Lutherans were happy with this change. However, Weagant said that the congregations strongly supported the move and that only one person objected. Those chosen to be Vestrymen were John Crysler, Esq.; Henry Merkle, Esq.; Jacob Weegar, Esq., Captain H. Merkle, Lieutenant J. Merkle, Christian Hanes, Andrew Snider, Samuel Schwerdtfeger and Rev. J.G. Weagant. It was also agreed that the Book of Common Prayer and the Holy Bible would be the only books used in the church.

During the Battle of Crysler’s Farm in the War of 1812, the church was used as a hospital to shelter wounded men, and hence became known as the “Battle Abbey of Upper Canada.” The New Brunswick Regiment, the 104th, famous for their “dash” through deep winter snow from New Brunswick to aid Sir Isaac Brock’s army at Niagara, arrived in time to participate in the battle of Crysler’s Farm, and was bivouacked in and about the Church.

A sometimes bitter dispute over the ownership of the church building continued from 1811 until 1833 between those who were now Anglicans and those who remained Lutherans. Weagant maintained that the glebe with its buildings became now the property of the Church of England. In 1814, the Lutherans invited Rev. Meyers to return. At first, Weagant refused to allow the Lutherans permission to use the Church for worship but eventually, a compromise was reached and they were allowed to use it every second Sunday when there were no Anglican services. In 1821, Meyers also became an Anglican and brought the congregation in Matilda with him into the Anglican Communion.

Over time, some of those who originally supported Weagant’s move to Anglicanism became disillusioned and an “opposition party” came into being. After being without a pastor for several years, the Lutherans called the Rev. Herman Hayunga to be their pastor. To say that Weagant and Hayunga developed an antipathy for each other is somewhat of an understatement from the sample of correspondence available for modern perusal.