Coughlan United Church

Welcome to Harbour Grace Pastoral Charge

Church History


Laurence Coughlan, 

 was Born in Limerick, Ireland in 1740 and died in England in 1785. He is considered to be the first Methodist preacher in British North America. Historians maintain that he came to Newfoundland in 1765 and began preaching in Harbour Grace in the summer of that same year making him the first follower of Wesley to preach in the new world.

For 8 years Coughlan worked as a zealous missionary. He would publicly denounce individuals from working Sundays sometimes causing a site among the merchants. He would visit the fishermen of the area and their families along the coast and he would organize classes and preach in Irish to the Irish Roman Catholics.

While in Conception Bay Coughlan began a school for boys and girls and served as Justice of the Peace for the area around Harbour Grace in 1770- 1771 when he was dismissed by Governor Byron. When Lawrence Coughlan returned to England he had already left behind a strong foundation of Methodism, a tradition which continues in Newfoundland and North America, to this day. Located near Coughlan United Church on Water Street, stands a monument dedicated to him.