How we aim to do church together.
  • We are a worshipping Christian community.
  • We cultivate caring relationships with each other.
  • We welcome new and longstanding friends, regardless of background or identity.
  • We share work and fun.
  • We are rooted in the community of Cannifton and the Good News of Christ.
  • We look to the future with hope for a growing faith community.


What is an affirming congregation?

In 2015, St. Mark’s became a member of Affirm United/S’affirme ensemble, working for the full inclusion of people of all gender identities and sexual orientations in the United Church of Canada and in society.



Rev. Ryan McNally

Ryan McNally is originally from a rural community west of Thunder Bay, Ontario, in the Robinson-Superior Treaty area, the fourth generation on a family farm. He completed degrees in Urban Planning and Civil Engineering at the University of Waterloo, before attending Queen’s Theological College for his Master of Divinity degree.  

In his tenth year with St. Mark’s, Ryan enjoys the congregation’s love of worship and openness to trying new things.

Sheila Parks

Sheila is the Office Administrator at St. Mark’s United church, having started in August 2015.  Prior to this, she worked at the Sear’s Wearhouse for 15 years and was employed with Hastings Prince Edward School Board for 10 years. She has lived and worked in Belleville all her adult life. In her spare time, she enjoys long walks, bike riding, reading, camping and spending quality time with friends and extended family.

Keith Parks

Keith is the custodian at St. Mark’s.

Mark Bond

Mark Bond is a multiple award winning pianist and composer with over 35 years of musical experience.

Classically trained as a child, Mark began composing at age 13 and later obtained a specialized degree in Composition from York University, where he also studied improvisation extensively at the academic level.

Mark has been a musical director with Second City Toronto and their Training Center since 2010, and has performed for hundreds of live comedy shows as a musical director.

Mark has taught hundreds of students across Ontario and Quebec, and continues to inspire his students to “find their musical voice” and express themselves at their instrument.

Mark is also an accomplished film composer whose scores have been heard all over the world, and his award-winning original piano music has been featured on international radio.

Church Board
  • Chair: Sheri Thompson
  • Past Chair: Bonnie Watson
  • Secretary: Elaner Pound
  • Treasurer: David Clazie
  • Members At Large: Betty Beer, Rev. Caroline Geisbrecht, Lois MacDonald, Mary Milligan, Keith Parks, Amy Porter, Alfreda Rupert, Nancy Shorey, Melanie Thompson


Faith, Fellowship, Food, and Fun!

At its founding, Cannifton was not a neighbourhood of Belleville, but a burgeoning mill-town of Upper Canada, named after Joseph Cannif. In 1867 it boasted:

  • Three grist-mills to grind grain for flour and animal feed,
  • Three sawmills and a planing mill to make smooth lumber for building, 
  • Two fulling and carding mills preparing wool to be spun into cloth, and a new point ashery, making potash for use in soapmaking. 

It’s also rumoured Joseph Caniff’s house was a stop on the Underground Railroad. From its inception, the church was connected with others in Thurlow Township and the area to the north.

In 1967, the preaching places of the pastoral charge (a group of churches working together) amalgamated and were rechristened as St. Mark’s. The Cannifton building (1852) continues to server as the worship, office and event location for the congregation. The other congregations were:

  • Carmel (1866) near present day Harmony Public School and used as an overflow classroom for a number of years; 
  • Bethany (1866), now a house on Bethany Road, which had a very active Young People’s Union fielding a mixed slow-pitch team when this was still novel;
  • St. Andrew’s Gilead (1863), on Harmony Road east of Bronk Road, in the centre of the existing cemetery;
  • Centre Street (1892) now a community centre near the lawn bowling greens in Hilcrest Park.

Cannifton, Carmel, and Bethany were initiated by Methodist horseback riding evangelists called circuit riders. St. Andrew’s was started as a Presbyterian congregation, and Centre Street was planted as a mission of Bridge Street United, Belleville.

*Information compiled by Wib Brown in his book Faith, Fellowship, Food and Fun: A History of St. Mark’s United Church (Cannifton).

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