History of Strathroy United Church

Written by Anne Pelkman

Strathroy United Church History
By Anne Pelkman
 

Many people have helped me with dates, names and places for which I am thankful. A special thank you goes to Roger Kennedy for proofreading. Another thank you goes to my friend, Bill Groot, who formatted this manuscript and helped with his expert advice.

I worked as the secretary for the Strathroy United Church from 1981 to 1995.  I became interested in the history of the church when, occasionally, inquiries would come into the office asking about former members of the church. Descendants of these former members wanted to know what information was recorded in the church records. I found that the earlier church records were non-existent or destroyed, perhaps in the 1921 manse fire.  In order to satisfy requests, I began to look in the local newspaper, available on microfilm in the local library.  I started to collect articles about the church history, as well as, articles about the early members.

This year, 2009, is the 130th anniversary of the construction of the current brick building. I decided to gather these stories, facts and figures into a manuscript that would complement the two other church histories which were written. One was written in 1939, the 50th anniversary.  It was called “Diamond Jubilee 1879-1939”.  The other history book was written in 1979 for the 100th anniversary.  It was called “These One Hundred Years 1879-1979”.

From 1834 to 1840 our pioneers worshipped outside or in the largest log building available in Adelaide Township, mostly in James Cooper’s cabin. It was a special day when a Saddlebag Methodist preacher found his way to this little settlement. In 1840, a log church was erected on the 4th line South in Adelaide Township on ground donated by David and Harriet Rapley. They named it the Wesleyan Methodist Church. It had hewn slabs for seats and was lighted with candles. In 1851 a quaint white frame church was built in the centre of the rising hamlet of Strathroy on Front Street, facing the lane, on ground donated by James Keefer. In 1861, when Strathroy was an established village, a larger frame church was built, on the corner of North and Maria Streets. Originally there were five denominations of Methodists in Ontario: Wesleyan, New Connexion, Methodist Episcopal, Primitive and Bible Christian. In 1874, a Union of the Wesleyan and New Connexion Methodists took place, and the united body was called the Methodist Church of Canada. In 1879 we built our first brick church on the corner of Front and Maria Streets, which is the building we are worshiping in now. In 1884, all strains of Methodism united and were now named the Methodist Church. As early as 1909, the union of the Congregationalists, Presbyterians and Methodists was considered, which came about in 1925, when the Congregationalists, Methodists and part of the Presbyterian congregations joined together and became the United Church of Canada. Our church was renamed Strathroy United Church. We have inherited a precious heritage indeed.

The earliest annual report that I found was from 1894- 95. There might have been earlier reports but no copies have been located. Many reports were published in the local newspaper so I have included this information for the years that I have come across. The previous two history books were also of great help, as were old Minute Books.  I am sure there are many other important events that have happened over the years. I just don’t have any record of them at this time. We can always include them in their proper place at a later date. For this reason, I kept one book in a loose leaf ring binder. The other two books are only bound in plastic spines that can be opened. These pages are not in story form, but rather, it is a conglomeration of stories and events, sorted by year.

Church Highlights
1834 to 1839

 
A Methodist circuit for the Strathroy area was formed in 1834. It included the villages of Warwick and Adelaide, both of which were opened for settlement in 1832. The village of Strathroy, formed a few years later, was added to this circuit.

Home visits were made by Methodist saddlebag, circuit-rider preachers.  They were a hardy lot, who endured weather and dense bush, often on only blazed trails, to visit the early settlers.  It certainly was not for the faint of heart!

In the earliest history of the Strathroy United Church that was published in 1939, it was reported that the first religious services in the area were held in 1836 in the home of James Cooper, who had arrived from England in that year with a wife and nine children. The 1862 Tremaine map locates Cooper on part of lot 21, con. 4, SER.

In 1839, James Cooper was the first person to be converted to the Wesleyan Methodist faith in the Adelaide area.

There were five strains of the Methodist faith:

” Wesleyan Method
” Methodist Episcopal
” New Connexion Methodist
” Primitive Methodist
” Bible Christians

 
The first four strains are mentioned in the Strathroy area, although only the Wesleyan and Episcopal branches established large congregations.

1840
The Earliest Wesleyan Church Building

The first Wesleyan Methodist Church was erected in 1840 on part of lot 19, con. 5, SER, Adelaide Township. This building also served as a school. It was a simple log structure with benches of hewn logs. This was the south-east corner of present day (2009) Napperton Drive and Eastman Avenue. The ground was donated by David and Harriet Rapley. James Cooper and James Buttery were two of the men who assisted in building the log church. James Cooper was appointed as the leader of the first class formed here, a position he held for 45 years until his death in 1883 at the age of 91 years.

According to Hiram Dell’s memoirs, the little settlement that became Strathroy had only 14 people in 1840 when he settled there and opened the first store. By 1850 plans were made to erect a larger structure. What became of the old log church is unknown.

1847
 

The Adelaide circuit was growing fast and now had enough people to support a church. It was separated from the original circuit with Strathroy as one of its appointments.

1849
 

A visitor to Strathroy in 1849 relates what he saw for buildings. One of them was an Episcopal church, used afterwards as a schoolhouse. That was likely the Anglican Church. It was often called Episcopal in the early day.

1851

Minister + + + Reverend James Armstrong

The hamlet of Strathroy was now established and had been growing steadily. It became the head of a large circuit with Adelaide and Mount Brydges as part of it. Reverend James Armstrong was appointed the first minister for the Strathroy circuit. He remained for two years.  

 A quaint white frame Church with a square tower was built downtown, on the North side of Front Street, facing the lane, on grounds donated by James Keefer. It was referred to as “The Chapel”. The Strathroy congregation at this time had a membership of 178 souls.  This building
was also used by the New Connexion Methodists and regular Sessions of the Division Court were held there. A larger building was contemplated by 1860.

1852
 

The 1851 census for Canada West (later Ontario) was recorded in January 1852. The Adelaide Township census does list inhabitants and buildings in the hamlet of Strathroy in a separate section. The church building was listed as “One Wesleyan Methodist Church Frame – will hold two hundred and fifty.” The population of the hamlet was 104. Seven of the 17 households were of the Wesleyan Methodist faith or had a member of that faith. They included the Timothy Cook family (7), David and Arthur Miles, James -Macauley, Moses Hemmingway family (3), Adam R. Vanvalkenburgh family (2), William Frederick family (S), William Montague, Skelvin W. Hartshorn, Thoinas Duncan family (5), William Smith and Moses Holden.

Of course, the congregation included others from Adelaide and Caradoc Townships.  Some of these individuals may have been of a different faith but were converted to Methodism by the circuit rider preachers. Others may have joined because there were not enough individuals of their particular faith to form a viable congregation.

1853
 

Reverend J.K. Williston was appointed minister of the Wesleyan Methodist church.
 

1855

Fourth Line Cemetery Deeded to Methodist Church

By Memorial Deed #624, on the 18th day of January, 1855, David and Harriet Rapley deeded the land, where the log church/school stood, to the Wesleyan Methodist Church, to be used for a cemetery. It was called the Fourth Line Cemetery. These grounds had been used as a cemetery for several years prior to this date.

The first person interred was James Rapley, father of David, who died in 1832 and was buried on what was then the Rapley farm. The Strathroy Cemetery did not come into existence until 1862 so many of our early members were buried in the Fourth Line Cemetery.  Many stones are now broken, but it was not until 1966 that the cemetery was cleaned up and the stones were cemented into a low wall. After several complaints as early as 1941 the cemetery was deeded to Adelaide Township in 1966 who cleaned it up with the help of the Women’s Institute.

1856
Minister + + + Reverend Richard L. Tucker
 

Rev. Tucker seemed to be a peaceable fellow according to Toronto Church Magazines (the only source we have of this tumultuous time in Strathroy since the early local papers were destroyed in the great fires.) He was able to keep ugly rumors and unrest at a low level.

1857
Episcopal Methodists Are Established
 

The first mention of Episcopal Methodists in our town was in the Canada Christian Advocate, announcing a quarterly meeting in November. This group at first belonged to the Carlisle Circuit. In March 1858 this paper announced that a protracted meeting in the village of Strathroy would be held in the town hall. Twenty-seven were received on tria, mostly heads of households, by a Brother Vorkman. A Camp meeting was held in August 1858 on the town line between Adelaide and Caradoc. The Presiding Elder was A. Jones and the Presiding Clerk was W. Campbell.
 

The Town Hall in the 1850’S was situated on Caradoc Street, about the third house in from the Metcalfe corner on the 1862 Tremain map.

1858
Minister + + + Reverend Nelson Brown
Swedenborgian Movement Begins in Strathroy
 

The first reports of the Swedenborgian movement, a side arm of Methodism, began to appear in 1858. Rev. Richard Saul from the Primitive Methodist branch became interested in the movement through visits of his half-brother, Rev. Mr. Miller, from the States. Rev. Saul was an educated man and well versed in the Bible and Palestinian history. Rev. Saul was well liked by all. He was even a Magistrate and was elected in the first group of Officers to govern the newly created village of Strathroy in 1860. He was re-elected in 1862 and 1863.

When Rev. Nelson Brown, being a fervent Wesleyan Methodist, got wind of Rev. Saul’s Swedenborgian leanings, he threw Rev. Saul, his family and friends, out of the church. So now the town was in turmoil. Friend was pitted against friend and families were torn apart. Heated debates became unruly and Rev. Saul was pelted with eggs during one meeting.
 

1860
Minister + + + Reverend James A. Iviscn
 

By 1860, the Swedenborgians had formed a group and were meeting in the Strathroy Town Hall located on Caradoc Street. It is believed this building was built in the 1800  s. Strathroy was incorporated as a village in 1859 and elected its first council in 1860.
 

A new Wesleyan Minister, Rev. James A. Ivison, took over from Rev. Nelson Brown. He was a peace loving man and things quieted down. Rev. James Ivison brought common sense back into the church. The most vicious and untrue rumors had been circulated in the community
about Rev. Saul and the Swedenborgian faith which Rev. Ivison put to rest. Rev. Saul became the pastor of the Swedenborgian Church where his friends joined him.
 

1862

Minister + + + Reverend Luther O. Rice
 

The old frame Wesleyan Chapel, which stood on Front Street downtown, was sold to the Episcopal Methodist congregation. The Episcopal congregation held a Divine Service on April 10th, 1862. At a soiree in October, $75 was raised toward the $200 debt. A few years later, the
former chapel was moved to Frank St across from the Market Square and became an Episcopal Methodist Church.

Mr. John Hamilton, in a 1930 article in “The Age”, mentioned, that as a young man he helped to cut down all the trees surrounding the old Chapel in 1865 to permit the removal of the building.

Rev. H.J. Kilty, who was the minister of the Episcopal Methodist congregation, bought the Frank Street lot to help out in 1865 and was later paid back. Rev. Kilty died in January 1884 in Florence, Ontario. His wife died September 1892 in Sarnia, while visiting her daughter. Both
Rev. and Mrs. Kilty are buried in Strathroy.

The Wesleyan congregation built a larger frame Church with a steeple on the corner of North and Maria Street in 1862. A balcony was later added. They had the whole property up to the river at the end of the street.

There were now two frame Methodist churches in Strathroy: the Wesleyan Methodist Church on Maria Street and the Episcopal Methodist Church on Frank Street.

1863
 

It was mentioned in the Baptist Church history book in a report that, in the early years, they met in a little white church on Front Street. This was probably the aforementioned former Wesleyan Methodist Chapel. They met here until they bought the Strathroy Town Hall in 1863 and moved the building to Centre Street.

1864
Minister + + + Reverend Isaac Barber
 

1865
The Earliest Records
 

The first regularly kept records that our church had were in a Wesleyan Methodist trustee book of the North Street Church. They are now in the Toronto Archives. In 1865, the trustees were Joseph Buttery, James Bond, Alexander Robb, Charles Napper, James Cooper, William Buttery, George Jones and Robert Thomas. The church had a debt of $700, but owing to the efforts of Rev. Isaac Barber and the trustees, this was all provided for by subscription, to be paid in three installments.

The Trustees were responsible for all the expenses connected to the building: the janitor’s fee, the heat, light, insurance and repairs.

To meet these obligations, the Trustees received all the pew rents and collections and when the need arose, they would circulate a subscription list. They offered 5% to those who collected pew rents and/or money by subscription.

The Official Board acquired a melodeon and presented it to the Trustee Board, on condition that the Trustees would carry the payments.

1866
Minister + + + Reverend John Leroyd

1868

The melodeon was traded in as a down payment for an organ.

The Adelaide circuit was separated from Strathroy leaving Strathroy on its own.  In 1868, the Baptist congregation on Centre Street sold their first frame church to the Swedenborgian congregation. The new village of Strathroy built a new Town Hall, their second building, on Market Square on Frank Street in 1863, a lot they purchased in 1861.
 

The first Town Hall, now owned by the Baptist Congregation was later sold to the Swedenborgians in 1868. The frame building was moved to the corner of Caradoc and Metcalfe Street, so the Baptist congregation could build a new church on their Centre Street property.

(It was also reported that the Plymouth Brethren purchased the former Baptist building, but I think it was sold to the Swedenborgians. The Plymouth Brethren did worship in this building butonly after the Swedenborgians had disbanded.)

1869
Minister + + + Reverend George Goodson

1870

Rev. J. K. Williston, one of our retired ministers, was Superintendent of the Sabbath School, which had a membership of 265 scholars with an average attendance of 165. (The S.S. also had adult classes).
 

Class System
 

The church was still organized in a “class system”, where each class had different responsibilities for the upkeep of church. There were 23 classes with 23 teachers. Each class met once or twice a week. Each class was obliged to raise money. There was also an Official Board which met quarterly and a Board of Trustees, which met monthly. They were responsible for the money and paying bills.

1871
Minister + + + Reverend Thomas Cosford
 

Seating Expanded by Adding Galleries
 

The Wesleyan congregation increased steadily. To provide f or the increase, galleries were built on the North Street edifice for $500. The Trustees borrowed this money at 7 percent from a Komoka source, not being able to obtain a loan in Strathroy. The building was also spruced
up. When the letting of the pews took place one afternoon, all pews except three were taken. 

 The Wesleyan Church was closed for several weeks while undergoing repairs. The galleries, erected at the end and sides, were a great improvement and accommodated nearly 200 persons but some families could not be accommodated. The end gallery was for the use of the choir. The pulpit was also remodeled.
 

In February, the Wesleyan Methodist Sabbath School held a school festival on one Wednesday evening. It was universally acknowledged to be the best ever in the church, considering what excellent entertainment had been given heretofore. The church was crammed to its utmost capacity. At the end of the evening the children presented Mr. George
G. German, Superintendent of the Sunday School, to his complete surprise, with a l0-volume encyclopedia. Mr. German had labored so long and so faithfully that he was in every way worthy of the high esteem they all felt for him.

Reverend J.N. Elliott, the esteemed pastor of the Episcopal Frank St. Church, had for some time been receiving such pittance for his salary, that one Sunday evening he walked in the front door late for service, dispensed with the usual opening service, gave an eloquent sermon
and said this would be his last sermon until the arrears in his salary were paid. He then walked out. The arrears were paid the next week and Rev. Elliott remained as pastor.

1872
 

The Old Episcopal Methodist Chapel on Frank Street was badly damaged in the great fire of July 19, 1872, but was saved by great efforts of the volunteer firemen. The congregation started gathering money to build a new church. Rev. J.K. Williston and Rev. Thomas Cosford were appointed as a committee to look for available sites for a new Wesleyan Methodist
Church. The aforementioned gallery  was not adequate to accommodate the growing congregation.

A new bell was purchased for $250, probably for the new building, as the bell was rented out to the school board for some years.

1874
Minister + + + Reverend James C. Slater (Wesleyan)
New Methodist Episcopal Church
 

In 1874-75, a large brick Methodist Episcopal Church with a tall tower was built on the same Frank Street property to replace the damaged Old Chapel. It was a beautiful church and it had a large choir. The damaged wooden church was likely moved to the back a bit, as the new church was built on the same spot according to some articles in the Age. The Old Chapel wasfinally removed in 1883, as it was becoming an eyesore (so recorded in “The Age” newspaper).

Union of Wesleyan and New Connexion Methodists
 

Two of the five denominations of Methodists in Ontario united to form the Methodist Church or Canada. The big change for the Strathroy Wesleyan Church was that it became part of the “Methodist Church of Canada” instead of a congregation of the Wesleyan Methodist Church.
 

1875
Minister + + + Rev. H. J. Kilty
(Episcopal Methodist Church)
 

The new brick church on Frank Street was finished early in the year. The Age described it as very beautiful inside and out. The tower and spire were 156 ft. high, the building was 45 by 75 feet inside, with stained glass windows with lead sash in front. The cost of the new church came to $12,000. At the 1877 Anniversary festivities, Rev. S. Card, assisted by Rev. Dr. Stone and Rev. E. Lounsbury, raised the sum of $6,500, which covered the entire indebtedness.  In the 1870’S the membership was 200 people.

Unfortunately, we do not have a continuous list of Ministers. Also in those days they had a senior Minister and several local Ministers or laypersons. These are some of the Ministers I gleaned from odd articles in the Age:

1865 – Rev. H.J. Kilty
1877 – Rev. S. Card
1881 – Rev. J. Van Wyck
1885 – Rev. Brown
1889 – Rev. Dr. Aylerworth and Rev. J. van Wyck
1891- Rev. Truman Crealy
1893 – Rev. Morrison
1895 – Rev. G. N. Hazen.

 
In 1887 Mrs. J. E. Vail was the organist and in 1894 Mrs. Wesley Harrison was the organist.

1876

Class System was Eliminated

It was decided to become more systematic in the method of raising funds, especially for the minister s salary, an amount of $1,000. The class system was problematic. Previously there had been no regular source of income. The Wesleyan Methodist Church was organized into
classes with a class leader for each group. Each group raised what it could and turned over this sum to the stewards. The trustees and the Ladies Aid gave financial assistance as well.

The earliest records show that the Ladies Aid lent money to the Stewards in 1874. After careful study, it was decided in 1876 to institute the weekly envelope system, one which was so successful that, with minor changes, it is still in use today.

1877
Minister + + + Reverend Alfred Andrews

The first weekly rally of the Red Ribbon Society (against drinking) was held in the North Street Church after evening service with P. Morrison as President. The Temperance Act was established in May of 1878 with local options. 

 Death of Rev. Richard Saul
 

Rev. Richard Saul from the New Jerusalem Church on Caradoc Street, died on October 2, 1877, only a few years after retiring, at age 76. He was one of the oldest inhabitants in this part of the country and experienced a good share of the hardships of pioneer life. His wife, Mrs.
Ann Saul died in November of 1893 at 87 years. Both are buried in the 4th Line Cemetery. Of the twelve children,only four were alive at Mrs. Saul  s death.

1878
 

The Maria Street Church was looking old and decrepit and could not hold the growing congregation. In April it was decided to circulate a subscription list for the purpose of building a new church. The amounts promised were to be paid in three instalments. If the total was over $6,000, the project was to be undertaken. The congregation and well wishers were very generous as $6,157 was realized, so the motion passed to build a new church.

An article in the Age of 1878, commenting on the buildings and houses, said of our church: We now look up North northward to what is called North Street, and in a weather worn and somewhat dilapidated wooden building with a creaking tower, we find the congregation and the pastor of the Methodist Church of Canada. The place is far too small for the usual number and can by no means restrain the active and popular pastor Rev. Alfred Andrews, who will no doubt have the satisfaction of seeing his congregation in a new building— one in every way worthy of
pastor and people. The Rev. Mr. Andrews, like the other pastors of the town, is a comparatively young man. He is a hard worker and an ef fective preacher.

Building the Front Street Methodist Church
 

The Lookout Committee, responsible for finding a lot for the new church, had presented four options on available lots:

(1) To tear down the rundown building on North and Maria Streets and rebuild on the same spot;
(2) Build on the Front and Maria Street corner;
(3) Build on a lot on Caradoc Street;
(4) Or build on the Maria and Centre Street corner.
 

This committee did not always see eye to eye and one man resigned, saying in his letter of resignation he could not work with such an harbitrary and unresponsible corum of men (sic) .

Rev. Alfred Andrews, the Minister in charge, was credited with having the new church built on the present Front and Maria Street corner. He valued this location so much that he borrowed the $1,650 to buy the old church property on North and Maria Street, which was more than the
market value. He eventually sold the property at a loss. It is now (2009) a private dwelling with white siding minus the tower and the gallery.

The owners of the two Front Street lots, Mr. Richard Morgan and Dr. Stevenson, offered the lots with a house and a doctor s office for $2,500. The offer was accepted. The Building Committee sold the small frame doctor s office and moved Dr. Stevenson s residence, a frame house, to the west lot. This house was bricked up and used as a parsonage until 1921. In 2007, Anne Pelkman with the help of John Mackey, unearthed the only photograph we have of that house. The old negative had been reversed, so that it looked as if the house stood on Maria Street, rather than on Front Street.

Tenders opened in March 1879 and it was decided to accept W.F. Fawcett’s contract of $11,100.

The corner stone was laid on Dominion Day, June 1879. A glass jar was placed in the cornerstone, containing a copy of The Age and the Dispatch, a number of ancient and modern coins, a manuscript containing all the names of the officers of the church, the resident ministers of the town, the town council and the contractor. It was a festive day with many invited guests. A parade, led by the band and firemen, was a great attraction. A large number of those present took dinner in the basement of the old Methodist Church on North Street, where the Ladies Aid had prepared a bounteous repast.
 

The new church was built very quickly, in half a year.

Opening of Episcopal School Room

The Western Dispatch of April 2, 1879 reported that the Frank Street Sabbath School of the Episcopal Methodists was preparing for a grand opening of their schoolroom during the Conference session. Besides dialogue and music, there would be addresses by the Ministers
of the Conference.

Watch Night Services: The usual watch night service was held in the North Street Methodist Church on New Year’s Eve, December 31st, 1879 at nine o  clock. At the close of the service at midnight, the bell of the new church was rung. The Light Guard Band played a few appropriate
airs, probably in the belfry of the church, which was lit for the occasion.
 

Strathroy Swedenborgian Church Closed
 

The Swedenborgian Church (The New Jerusalem Church) on the Caradoc and Metcalfe corner was sold in 1879 or 1880. The second pastor, Rev. Samuel Beswick, had retired to the States with his family. Maybe because of the upcoming amalgamation of all the different Methodist
strains, or maybe the old pioneers, getting older, found it harder to carry on.

In 1880, the Age reported meetings of the Primitive Methodists in this Chapel, that was called the Little White Heaven. So the Primitive Methodists likely bought this simple building.  After some years they sold it to the Free Methodists, the Plymouth Brethren worshiped there also.
After the 1884 amalgamation of all Methodist strains, it likely stood empty and Council used it for hockey and other sports meetings. Boxing was taught there as well, Hoot Gibson said.

1880
Minister + + + Reverend William C. Henderson, M.A.
Description and Dedication of New Methodist Church
 

The Wesleyan Methodist church was finished in December 1879 and dedicated on January 11, 1880. The local paper had lengthy articles on the beauty of this building that was lighted with gaslight, the first building to do so in Strathroy. The seats and Communion Rail in the
auditorium were cushioned in red. The ends of the pews had iron gates and slide out boards for extra seating. It could seat over one thousand people and had four aisles. The lower level contained ten rooms for Sunday School and meeting purposes. The Minister’s room was situated underneath the pulpit platform with a stairway leading to the pulpit. The basement windows were of coloured glass, but of a cheaper kind than upstairs. The size of the main body was 106 ½ feet x 52½ feet. The architect was Mr. Henry Owens of Strathroy and the main contractor was Mr. Fawcett. The bell was hung in the East tower. The heating was done
by two Beecher Hot-Air furnaces which were situated in one of the Sunday School rooms. The total price came to $15,747. With $3,397 still to be paid, a sum of $6,000 was borrowed from England at 6%. The town even paved Front Street West with cedar blocks and renewed the
sidewalks, to the delight of all church goers.

Many dignitaries attended the morning, afternoon and evening Dedication Services with over 1,000 persons in attendance each service on January 11, 1880.  The next day, on January 12th, a grand tea meeting was held in the basement.  About 700 people were bounteously fed. After supper, a very large audience assembled in the sanctuary,
when the evening was chiefly given up to the raising of funds to clear off the debt which was only $3,400.

A unique method of allotting the pews in the new church was adopted. Each pew was marked with its yearly rental price. If two families wanted the same pew, the one giving the larger bonus got it. This bonus did not affect the rental price thereafter.

Much of the social life of the women centred around the church. From the beginning there was a willingness to organize and lead as money needed to be raised for the local church and parsonage. They planned fowl suppers, teas, quilting bees and Communion. They also provided flowers for the sanctuary.

It is not known when the Ladies Aid became the Women’s Association, likely in 1882. They continued to serve wherever needed. They purchased choir gowns and even bought a minister’s gown once. Donations were made to the Board of Stewards once a year. Dishes and
silverware were purchased with the help of the Dorcas Group.

The choir received permission to dispose of the old pump organ bought in 1868. A committee was formed and by 1884 raised the funds needed and a splendid pipe organ was bought and installed. The old pump organ was given to the Sunday School.

1882
 

The second anniversary of the Front Street Church was celebrated with Rev. A Langford, President of the London Conference, providing the sermon. On Monday evening the ladies had prepared a grand tea. There were six tables stretched across the room in the basement, handsomely laid with fine crockery and silverware, adorned with numerous lovely bouquets of flowers and laden with substantials and delicacies. The tables were filled twice with no flagging in courtesy and kind attention of the ladies. Then all retired to the sanctuary to hear the choir and speeches to a well-filled church.

Woman’s Missionary Society was Formed

The Women’s Missionary Society was formed and proved to be a wonderful assistance raising funds for missionary work, and helping to educate the people to the necessity of spreading the gospel. In 1874 the donations of our church to Missions were $291. In 1938, the combined givings for Missions, from all organizations, was over $ 2,000.

There seems to have been a fair bit of intermingling between the Methodist churches going bythe advertis ements in the old “Age” and “Dispatch” newspapers. This particular item was under Union Prayer Meeting in the “Dispatch” of September 1882, where Mr. G.G. German, one of our active local preachers of the Wesleyan Branch, gave an address to the congregation of the primitive Methodists at their regular weekly prayer meeting in the old  Chapel  on the corner of Metcalfe and Caradoc Street.

Please Note:
 

The preceding historical information takes us up to the time that our present church building was constructed. There have been many more changes since that time. Our Historian, Anne Pelkman has been collecting and correlating all the material from the past 150 years so that she can publish the information in book form for our archives.
 

Thank you ,Anne