ESTABLISHING THE PORT STANLEY UNITED CHURCH
Circuit ministers of the St. Thomas ( comprised of Fingal, Yarmouth, Malahide, North Street, Southwold, Port Stanley and St. Thomas) first ministered to Methodists in the congregation that would eventually join with others to become Port Stanley United Church.
For the first few years services were held in the school house, on alternating Sundays. In 1852 a frame church was built to house the congregation. “The church is a frame building, 30 X 45 feet, and although we cannot boast of a handsome steeple, nevertheless the building is neat and commodious, the pulpit tastefully trimmed, and the outside not left to blacken in the sun like too many of our churches – two coats of paint being put on, embracing neatness and durability.
The opening services on Sabbath were deeply interesting. The Rev. W. Pollard preached morning and evening to large and devout assemblies, many of whom came from distant parts of the Circuit with their offering to the Lord, and to hear their once esteemed and beloved pastor and still valued friend. We somewhat expected Rev. L. Taylor for the afternoon, who we thought, with a little effort, might have been present; but allowing him to know his own business best, your humble servant, though not so tall or eloquent, in his absence endeavored to fill his place. The St. Thomas Choir with their sweet strains of music greatly added to the interest of the dedication.” The Christian Guardian, September 15, 1852,
This was later moved to Lot 8, Colborne Street.
In 1888 it was decided to re-build the church and the cornerstone was laid May 24, 1889, by Miss Bowman of London. Mr. Duffy was the architect and James Ellison was the builder. The cost for the builder was $2,739.00 and the total cost was $5,614.43. In 1890 a parsonage was built on the north side of the church.
When the vote was taken on January 19, 1925, on Church Union of the Methodists and Presbyterians, it showed a majority of members of both churches in favour. The new congregation, using the former Methodist church, began with a membership of 106 Methodists, and 31 Presbyterians. In 1926, Union United Church discontinued, and Dexter and Port Stanley became a two point circuit. In 1937 a new vestibule added greatly to the church.
In 1962 a Christian Education building was added and extensive alterations at the cost of $65,000.00. In 1964 Fingal was added to make a three point circuit.
In 1974 the church celebrated by burning the mortgage for the addition begun in 1961. John Brown was accepted as a candidate for the ministry in October 1974. He was ordained May 18, 1978, in Windsor, Ontario and preached his first sermon after ordination at Port Stanley on May 21st. Also during 1978, volunteer members gutted the entrance to the church in preparation for more convenient new stairways to the church and lower hall. The new south entrance was made more attractive with coach lamps on either side of the door.
The manse on the west side of the church was in need of extensive renovations, After due consideration, it was decided that the building be demolished and the area be used for church parking.
Heidi Sievert was accepted in September 1980, as a candidate for the ministry. She was ordained in May 1984, at Aylmer Police College.
Beginning in 1992 storm windows and other repairs will completed for the eight windows in the sanctuary and the top of the window in the stairway. Overall cost for the three windows was over $7,700.00. It is interesting to note the following excerpt from minutes of a meeting on June 29, 1889. “Tenders were received from Lewis and Company and Hobbs Company. Mr. Lewis agrees to supply all the windows of rolled cathedral glass in lead sash, also nine double iron ventilators for $154.00 to be placed and completed.” (This offer was accepted.)
United Church of Canada Creed (1968)
We are not alone,
we live in God’s world.
We believe in God:
who has created and is creating,
who has come in Jesus,
the Word made flesh,
to reconcile and make new,
who works in us and others
by the Spirit.
We trust in God.
We are called to be the Church:
to celebrate God’s presence,
to live with respect in Creation,
to love and serve others,
to seek justice and resist evil,
to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen,
our judge and our hope.
In life, in death, in life beyond death,
God is with us.
We are not alone.
Thanks be to God.