Hillcrest congregation was created in 1971 as part of the Montague Pastoral Charge, with the amalgamation of Valleyfield, Lower Montague and Trinity, Montague Churches.
The Valleyfield congregation dates back to 1843 when a Free Church of Scotland was established, later to become a Presbyterian Church, and in 1925 to become part of the United Church of Canada. This was a very active Church from which other Churches in the area grow. A highlight of its Church year was the “long communion”, with services from Thursday until Monday every July. Another unique feature of worship in Valleyfield was that service were bilingual until 1936, one service being in English followed by a service in Gaelic. The Church you are now in was built and dedicated in Valleyfield in 1909 at a cost of less than $5,000.
Presbyterian Ministers visited the Montague area about two hundred years ago, while the Methodist influence can be traced back to 1801, with the first congregation being formed in 1834 and the first Presbyterian minister being called in 1843. The former Trinity Church was built in 1876 and was originally the Presbyterian Church. This building was used by community organizations after 1971 until 1995 when the building was torn down and the property sold.
In 1925 the United Church of Canada was created when the Congregational, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches signed the Documents of Union, although many Presbyterian congregations broke away and continued in the Presbyterian tradition. Thus the United Churches in Lower Montague, Montague, and Valleyfield were established.
In the 1960’s there was a church-wide movement to amalgamate many congregations, and although not always popular, many Churches closed and charges amalgamated. Sturgeon was added to the Montague Pastoral Charge, Lower Montague closed and Valleyfield Pastoral Charge was amalgamated, with the Valleyfield congregation joining Montague, Orwell Head going to the new Vernon Charge and Belle River being added to Murray River Charge.
These changes were not always happy but changing times indicated the need for new beginnings. One of the “happy” changes was the decision to move this Church building from Valleyfield to Montague, a distance of six miles. The Trinity Church in Montague had outgrown its facilities while the Valleyfield Church was much larger and in excellent condition. This Church was cut into five sections, loaded on large trailers and hauled to this site, reassembled and enlarged and, on the last Sunday of October 1971, the first service was held in Hillcrest Untied Church.
Again, in 1984, this growing congregation felt the need for expansion and a major addition was undertaken on the North side of the building which provided more Sunday school classrooms in the basement, a larger choir loft, minister’s study, and two meeting rooms, the Shaffelburg Room- named for the first minister of Hillcrest, and the Amey Room, named for his successor.
In 1990, in preparation for a move from a solo to a team ministry another building project added a second Minister’s Office squaring out the building.
Today Hillcrest serves 380 families and provides a full range of programs for all age groups.