Calvary (North Sydney) Baptist Church
A Baptist congregation in North Sydney dates to 1825; soon after their formation they constructed a small meeting house style building, a common style among Baptists in early to mid-nineteenth century Atlantic Canada. This style is often characterized by its small and rather plain facility, with no steeple, and gothic or neo-classical embellishments. The front entrance was often on the gable end, with either two entrances one on the left and right sides of the front façade; one meant for the men and the other for women, or a centrally placed doorway. This building has a single entrance centrally placed on the gable end, and had rather classical embellishments, common for the time.
This church congregation has a strong tie with John Hull, who was the first Baptist minister to come from the Eastern section of the province. In the late summer of 1825, Rev. Joseph Dimock had arrived in Upper North Sydney, Cape Breton to find John Hull, then a Congregationalist evangelist, ministering from time to time in a little union meetinghouse. Dimock organized a meeting on October 15, 1825, at which Hull and his congregation agreed to join the Baptist denomination as a unified church. This was the first Baptist church on the island of Cape Breton. The first official act of the church was to grant a license to John Hull to preach. In May 1826 he was sent to the Baptist Association then in session at Wilmot for ordination, returning to Cape Breton in August 1827. He remained in the church about a year, after which very little is known of his activities. Hull died at the age of thirty-one while on a preaching trip to Livermore Falls, Maine.
For many years the Calvary Baptist Church also led services in remote surrounding communities, called “preaching stations,” such as the one the church held at the Mitchell Island Union Church, for Baptist settlers who were unable to make the trip to North Sydney for services.
This congregation replaced their building in 1914, with a large and more commodious structure. This building is typical in terms of style for its time; it is a prime example and architectural movement congregations were making in the first part of the twentieth century from a symmetrical design with the steeple centrally placed on the gable end, in a style that was usually Gothic or Greek Revival, to a church that was more Classical in design with an asymmetrical design. This church is typical of other churches of its time and style. Inside it features ornate plasterwork, curved back wooden pews, and a large pipe organ behind the pulpit. The church still maintains much of its original woodwork and architectural embellishments. One of the most eye-catching features of this church is the open-cage belfry, and large bell which can be seen from the property. Along with this feature the church has large ornate stained-glass windows, on all sides.
Information provided by the church and Acadia Archives.