Our History

(5) In his letters, Rev. Weagant referred to the fact that the Book of Common Prayer had been used when services were held in English by both of his Lutheran predecessors, Rev. Schwerdtfeger and Rev. Meyers. He continued to insist that all English services held at the church use the Book of Common Prayer and became incensed when Rev. Hayunga would not use the Book of Common Prayer. Hayunga and his supporters, on the other hand, became adamant that the Church and its property belonged to the Lutherans and should be returned to them. By 1826 accusations and counter-accusations, petitions and counter-petitions were flying back and forth between the local parties, the Anglican Bishop and the Government of Upper Canada over which group rightfully owned the glebe property, the church and the parsonage. It was not the first time that the title to the glebe property came into question. For a time there was a struggle between the Anglicans and the Presbyterians of Osnabruck, a tension which harkened back to the days when the Lutherans and Presbyterians shared the glebe until the death of Rev. Broeffle. In fact, no one had clear title to the property as no land grant had ever been ceded.

In 1827 both the Anglicans and Lutherans petitioned The Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, Sir Peregrine Maitland, for a solution to the impasse. Neither these documents nor the resolution have been found but correspondence indicates that the two groups were instructed to find a way to share the property equitably and amicably. The Anglicans offered to the Lutherans to either buy or sell all the rights to the property either party might have for the sum of 200 pounds. The Lutherans rejected the offer maintaining their right to the entire property. As the rhetoric escalated the Bishop obviously felt that something else had to be done. First, an Assistant Curate was sent to assist Rev. Weagant as he was now ageing and in failing health. In 1830, The Rev. Frederick Mack arrived to help with the work in Osnabruck and Williamsburg. How long he remained is uncertain. In 1832, the Bishop sent another Assistant Curate, The Rev. John Gerbrand Beek Lindsay.

A petition from the Protestant Episcopal Congregation (Anglican) of the Township of Williamsburg to Sir John Colborne, Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, was responded to on October 20, 1832. The Legislative Council felt that the compromise offered by the Anglicans but rejected by the Lutherans in 1828 was equitable. The judgement required the glebe to be divided in two with the Anglicans keeping the part with the church, parsonage and buildings for their sole use and benefit. The Lutherans were to have an equal share of the land. The rationale for the decision was the observation that a “great majority of the congregation voluntarily applied to the late Bishop of Quebec to be received with their clergyman into the bosom of the Church of England.”

By March 1833, the Churchwardens were agreeing with the Bishop that it was time for the ailing Rev. Weagant to step down in favour of Rev. Lindsay. It seemed the only way to reconcile with the Lutherans. In 1833, the Church of England obtained legal title to the church and its surrounding glebe property which the Anglicans had held since 1811. Weagant was reputed by some to be “a strong, forceful character, well suited to deal with the troublesome affairs of the time.”