During the winter of 1880-1881, a Mr. Alexander Marshall
arrived in Orillia from Scotland, preaching a plain and simple
message that Christ Jesus had died on the cross
for the sin of mankind, been buried and raised again
from the dead by the power of God.
Through faith in that finished work, anyone could have
eternal life, complete forgiveness of sins and peace with God.
Many believed that message, and were willing to gather simply in the Name of The Lord Jesus Christ according to the teaching of the
Word of God without any denominational affiliation.
The gospel meetings were originally held in a local YMCA building, then in the Kennedy building at the southwest corner
of Peter and Mississauga Streets in an upstairs hall.
In 1881, a baptism was held for eleven converts in the chilly waters
of Lake Couchiching near Cedar Island,
and on April 17th of that year, a small group of these believers, (nicknamed “Marshallites” after the preacher) met for the first time
in Quinn’s Hall to celebrate the “Lord’s Supper”
according to the request of the Lord Jesus Christ recorded
in Luke 22:19,20 and the practice of the early disciples in Acts 20:7.
During that year, over 200 believers were baptized in this area,
and other similar groups of Christians formed in local communities such as Foxmead, Warminister, and Severn Bridge.
Later, the group in Orillia gathered at the Shaftesbury Hall
on Mississauga Street, and a Mr. Robert Teifer also had
gospel meetings in another upstairs hall at 9 Andrew Street North, known as Dominion Hall. In September 1907, a gospel hall that had been built at 56 West Street North was opened, and this served as the gathering place for 71 years. Shortly after this, a division took place between the members of the group, and part of the company returned to Dominion Hall at 9 Andrew Street North.
During the Great Depression of the 1930s,
a small piece of property was aquired
a half block south at 30 Andrew Street South
and a new building was errected by that congregation
spite of the financial difficulties of the times.
The building was simply known as “Dominion Gospel Hall”
simply in memory of the previous place of gathering.
These Christians moved there in 1938,
and the group still gather there to this day.
The Christians that stayed at West Street Gospel Hall
changed the name to West Street Gospel Chapel in April 1960,
and remained there until 1978.
Due to the expansion and parking needs,
they built on highway 12 West at Fairgrounds Road, moved there,
and renamed the building Hillside Bible Chapel.
In 1966, a Sunday School work began in the South Ward,
and by 1971 another congregation formed there out of
west street assembly which today is known
as Simcoe Lifepoint Church.
Over the years, these autonomus assemblies
have commissioned a number of workers
to full time service in preaching within Canada
and to missions working in foreign countries.
The support of this work continues actively to this day.
Within this city, each carries on regular
worship, prayer, and Bible teaching
as well as active gospel outreach.
As we look back at over 135 years, to the best of our knowledge,
there has never been a first day of the week in all those years
when the “Lord’s Supper” has not been celebrated
in this community according to the teaching of
1 Corinthians 11:23-26, truly we are compelled to be
thankful to God and recognize that