The Parish of St. John the Baptist, North Sydney, began in 1877 as a mission of the neighboring parish, Trinity, Sydney Mines. There have been three churches in North Sydney. The first became too small, the second church was destroyed by fire in 1959, and the present church was opened for worship in 1966. This church was consecrated in 1977, on the one hundredth anniversary of the parish.
The parish had its first resident priest in 1898 and sixteen priests have served the parish up to the present day. One priest, Archdeacon John Stead, served the parish for twenty-two years. Another rector, John Hackenley, went from our parish to become the diocesan bishop and later the Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada. Rev. J.T.Turner came to the parish to assist Rev. J. Stead from 1946 - 1947 and he returned as assistant rector in 1953. He later became rector and served for seventeen years. The painting over the altar done by local painter and parishioner William Rogers and a stained glass window were place as memorials to him by family and parishioners. Rev. Hayward Hodder, Rev. Sid Davies and Rev. Canon Rod Gillis are also past rectors. Rev. Canon Gordon Pyke who served as rector of the parish for eighteen years is retired but remains a part of the congregation and occasionally assists with worship. Rev Jack Wainwright was priest in charge, before the arrival of The Rev. Archdeacon Reg MacDonald who served from August 1999 to June of 2007. During this period he had assistance from Rev. Brenda Drake-MacDonald who worked one or two days a week with her focus on pastoral care and from Rev. Karen Quirk as non stipendiary clergy . We had a priest in charge the Rev. Dennis Hayward until the end of 2007. And our present pastoral team is the Rev. Gloria McClure Fraser and her husband, our part time assistant rector, the Rev. Carl Fraser.
At the present time our parish roll has about 350 families listed. The parish has 3 wardens, Debbie Strickland, Lawrence Mansfield and Cecil Day. The parish treasurer is Tony Hatcher. During its history, the church had a father and son, Charles and Bertie Hoyt who served as parish treasurers for a total of ninety-six years.
Six men and three women from this parish have become priests, namely Fred Moore, Horace MacLean, Jack Ivey, John Crowther, John Ford, Arthur Peters, former Bishop of the Diocese and who is a retired Archbishop, Lori Ramsey, Betty Harris, and Karen Quirk.
The lay leadership of the parish has always been strong. The parish has five lay readers who assist with Sunday services. The lay readers also assist the clergy by taking Home communion to the shut-ins of the parish. The parish has a senior choir, praise choir and junior choir. The organist and choir director David Murray grew up in this parish and has served us since 1977. Reid Moore assists with the directing of the choir. The parish Praise band share their music on the last Sunday of every month.
The young people of the parish are involved in such things as Sunday School, Life in the Eucharist, confirmation classes, and the Servers Guild. They also participate in diocesan activities such as Teens Encounter Christ. Rev. Carl Fraser is diocesan youth co-ordinator for the Cape Breton Region.
The Parish Council, Altar guild, Anglican Church Women, Married Couples Association, Mothers’ Union, Fellowship Group and Bible Study Group are other active organizations in the parish.
The program EFM (Education For Ministry) was started in the parish in the Fall of 2008.
There are church services held every Sunday at 8:00 am and 10:30am. There is also a mid-week service held on Wednesday at 9:30am. A time of fellowship and bible study takes place after this service. During the Lenten Season, a program open to the community consists of a video series, discussion and hymn sing. Following this lunch is served and a short talk is given by various guest speakers. The offering received for the lunch is for the work of the PWRDF.
Each year on Maundy Thursday a Seder Meal is observed. An annual quiet day is conducted during Holy Week. The Parish Anniversary is held each November. The parishes largest event is held each fall with a bazaar and turkey burger sale, and includes a silent auction.
The parish secretary is Reid Moore and he is assisted by several volunteer women of the parish who help with such things as folding bulletins and preparing parish mailings.
The original parish hall which has become too expensive to maintain has been closed and will be demolished when the funds become available. One of the greatest challenges that has taken place in the parish isn recent years is the renovation of the church basement, to enable it to become an adequate space to accommodate our parish activities. Rev. Archdeacon Reg MacDonald was instrumental in moving the parish away from the old parish hall and developing the basement of the church for our needs and as a result the parishioners honoured him by naming it the MacDonald Hall. The task was made possible by the financial support of our parishioners and volunteer labour by our men. It was dedicated in November 2005.
We have also put a new roof on the Church in 2007.