In the 1830s, when worship services began in Chelsea, the area was an outpost of the town of Hull, Quebec.
Not having a church building or a designated gathering place, the people worshipped in their homes.
By 1842, parishioners held their services in the schoolhouse in Chelsea. In 1875, they began the construction of the first St. Mary Magdalene Church (SMM) building on a hillside just across the road and north of where today’s church is located. Two years later, in 1877, that building received its dedication, officially becoming a church.
The parishioners worshipped in that first SMM building until the fall of 1943, when the church building was decommissioned, secularized, and then demolished. Undaunted, the small congregation moved their worship services to the Chelsea schoolhouse.
The SMM congregation grew, and from 1950 to 1956, they gathered in the United Church building in Chelsea, enjoying worship and fellowship, and engaging in community outreach. At last, the congregation was able to acquire land to build a new church. In 1957, Bishop John H. Dixon of Montréal laid the cornerstone for the new church. On December 6, 1966, that building, the second SMM church, was consecrated.
In 2000, the congregation undertook a major renovation project. To the church building, they added a wheelchair-accessible main entrance, two accessible washrooms, a Sunday school classroom, a vestry attached to the church sanctuary, an office and a spacious hall that includes a kitchen suitable for large community events.
Early in 2020, the SMM congregation had to make the tough decision to close the church, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2020, the parishioners moved their worship and fellowship gatherings to online media, in keeping with Diocesan and Quebec public health guidelines. By September 2020, SMM received the go-ahead to meet in person, once again, carefully following public-health COVID-19 precautions to ensure the safety of parishioners.