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VICTORIA UNITED CHURCH

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The History Of V.U.C

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(Victoria Church in 1890)

Highlights In Victoria Church’s History

 

The Methodist Beginning: As history scholars teach us, Methodism in Canada began through the efforts of Barbara Heck and the Heck family with their arrival in Augusta Township about 1785. Church buildings did not exist. The need for such structures grew, and in 1817, at the site of the present Maynard Soldier’s Memorial Monument, the first church ever erected in Augusta Township came into being. It was a Methodist Episcopal Church, frame in construction, and was known as the Augusta Chapel. The Trustees of that first Church structure were Manuel Dake, Rev. Samuel Heck, Timothy Hodges, James Holden and Jonathan Woodcock.

 

The early Methodist beliefs were not always harmonious, especially when it related as to who controlled the Church autonomy, the Wesleyans in England or self-rule in Canada. In 1833, the congregation of the Augusta Chapel split when a majority decided to unite into Wesleyan Methodist. The minority that decided to stay Methodist Episcopal withdrew and built a small stone church (Exact year unknown but the land was purchased in 1840.) on the site of the present Victoria United Church. For the next fifty years, two Methodist Churches were maintained in the Maynard community. During this time, the small stone church flourished while the Augusta Chapel declined.

 

In 1858, the small stone church was torn down and replaced with the present Victoria United Church using the stones of the old church as the foundation stones of the new one. The dedication ceremony of the new Victoria Church took place on December 28, 1859 with Rev. David Aylesworth officiating.

 

Timeline of Events:

 

1840

      Mr. Robert Alder sells acre of land to trustee’s for a new M. E. Church and burying ground for 50.00.

1858

      The stone church is replaced with a new larger brick structure to be known as Victoria Methodist Episcopal Church. The structure has two front porches, one for men and the other for women.

1859

      The new church is dedicated on December 28, 1859 with Rev. David Aylesworth officiating. The parsonage is about one mile away on what is now known as the Charleville Road.

1875

      Mr. Robert Alder sells acre of land for $100.00 for a new parsonage beside Victoria Church.

1876

      A new brick parsonage is built beside Victoria Methodist Episcopal Church.

1883

      The first church organ is purchased amidst a flurry of opposition. Rev. D.G. Bruce was the minister and Mrs. Bruce was the first organist.

1884

      The church sheds are repaired with money donated from the estate of Mr. Robert Alder who died in 1875.

      The union of the four branches of Methodist Churches occurs to become the Methodist Church. Victoria is now the Victoria Methodist Church.

1889

      Major repair and renovation done to Victoria. The two front porches are removed and replaced with the present single porch. The walls and both chimneys repaired and repointed. Roof reshingled. New basement windows installed and coloured glass margins installed in side windows. A new pulpit and communion rail installed. A choir platform was built in the west corner and new furnaces were put in the basement. The renovations cost $1800.00 and the church was re-dedicated on November 14, 1889 by Rev. G. S. White.

1901

      The choir gallery is changed to the center of the church behind the pulpit.

 

1906

      Oil lamps are replaced by an acetylene plant.

1909

      The weekly envelope system of church offerings is adopted.

1910

      A new lower metal ceiling is installed to improve heating and cooling.

      Other major interior renovations are done and walls are painted instead of frescoed.

      The outside wooden steps at the front of the church are replaced with new cement one.

      Miss Margaret Polite donates a new pulpit Bible.

1915

      J.B. Scott placed an organ in the church in memory of his sister Laura who was organist for over 20 years.

1919

      A new DeLaval lighting plant installed at a cost of $625.00 replacing the unsafe acetylene system. This system proved immediately unsatisfactory and DeLaval was requested by the Trustees to remove it. DeLaval refused and the Trustees took it to legal action for its removal and after 7 months, it was removed in the spring of 1920.

1920

      A Delco system replaced the unsatisfactory DeLaval lighting system at a cost of $735.00.

1923

      The church sheds are re-shingled. The shed sizes were 82’ x 27’ needing 22,000 shingles and 130’ x 27’ and needing 35,000 shingles. In addition, 3 kegs of nails and 212 feet of ridge board was required

1925

      United Church Union occurs and Victoria is now named Victoria United Church.

      The church roof is re-shingled.

1929

      The church basement floor is lowered, re-floored in concrete and then painted.

1930

      Insurance coverage raised on the church from $3500.00 to $5000.00. Of this, there was $4800.00 on the church and $200.00 on the horse sheds.

1931

      The Hymnary of the United Church is first used.

1934

      The stairs in the northeast corner leading from the basement to the main floor of the church and the choir loft are constructed and dedicated to the memory of Joseph H. Lane by Rev. E. Lacey.

1936

      The parsonage is wired and Delco lighting is extended to include the parsonage.

1937

      Hydro electric power is installed in Victoria and the parsonage.

1938

      An electric stove and coffee pots are donated to the church by the Ladies Aid and others.

1940

      A woodshed and outdoor toilet are built at the back of the church.

1941

      One horse shed is removed as the roof had collapsed during the winter from the snow load.

1945

      The interior of Victoria church is redecorated by Merle Whitmore from a dull beige colour to light aqua.

1947

      On April 6, a Minshall electric organ is dedicated by Rev. David Gray, a memorial to Pilot Officer Irwin Robinson, missing in action during the WW II.

1949

      A new metal roof was put on the church and barn.

1950

      The last of the horse sheds behind the church are removed.

1951

      A new well was drilled between the church and the parsonage, and a new indoor bathroom was installed in the parsonage.

      Hot and cold water is installed in the kitchen of the church basement.

1956

      The kitchen floor in Victoria is cemented and the kitchen remodeled. At the same time, the inside walls of the basement are lined with cement blocks to counteract dampness.

      Heavy duty wiring is installed in the church.

      New oil-burning furnaces are installed in a back basement room replacing the two wood-burning units.

1959

      The ceiling of the church is insulated and the interior ceiling and walls of the church re-painted.

      An outside entrance to the church basement is made in the northeast corner for safety purposes and convenience.

      A 50’ wide by 247.5’ strip of land is purchased on the west side of the church to improve parking.

1962

      West corner abutment repaired.

1963

      Complete church basement renovation

      New bathroom & septic system installed.

      Kitchen renovated.

      New front doors installed on church.

      New outside lights installed on east and west sides of church.

      Additional land purchased on west side. Total lot size now 1.8967 acres.

1964

      Church tower and steeple examined.

      Parking lot improved.

      Stacking tables purchased for Sunday School.

1965

      Church abutments repaired.

1978

      Church steeple hit by lightning on July 12  causing a fire. Quick response saved church. Fire and water damage made re-decoration of the sanctuary and basement necessary. A new roof with brown asphalt shingles replaced the metal one.

1981

      New brass cross placed at front of sanctuary by UCW, afternoon unit.

      New sound system installed both inside and outside church.

      New dusk to dawn light placed over front doors of church.

      Some missing plaster replaced in sanctuary.

      New minister’s study constructed attached to manse.

1982

      More work done on new study; insulation and gyprocked.

      New ceiling fans installed in church.

1983

       A new organ was donated by the Robinson Family in memory of John M. Robinson

1984

      Restoration work done on the windows of the sanctuary. More than 150 panes had to be replaced.

      Parking lot leveled and graveled.

1985

      Entrance to church basement has new swinging doors installed plus new emergency exit lights by the north and south exit doors.

      The well casing between the church and the manse was cut off below ground and capped.

      A handicapped parking area was identified.

1986

      New outside carpet was installed on the front outside steps.

      The parking lot was enlarged by 3000 sq. ft. and topped with gravel and stone dust.

1988

      The church sanctuary had the plaster repaired and was completely repainted.

1990

      Did major repair to the floor at the front of the church. Plywood was laid and a new silver/gray wall to wall carpet was installed in the sanctuary. Also installed new cortega ceiling tile in the sanctuary with new directional pot lights over the choir loft.

1991

      Put new lightning rod on roof.

      Church front doors sanded and painted.

1992

      Placed new carpet on the front outside steps.

1994

   Repainted front church doors.

1995

      Installed hydrant type outside water tap on east side of church.

      Demolished old barn and constructed new double garage with an attached storage area for Victoria’s use.

      Installed new carpet on walkway in front of front church step.

      Took pictures of old paintings in peak of church.

      Extended well casing to above ground level and capped with proper cover. Also installed small flower planter around casing for vehicle protection.

1997

      Replaced the two old oil-burning furnaces with natural gas-burning units.

2002

      Suffered major basement flood resulting in replacement of all the basement carpet including going up the steps to the front doors. The kitchen and bathroom vinyl floors were also replaced.

      Installed new oak front doors

2003

      Another minor basement flood resulted in the installation of a shutoff valve being installed on the water main to the church in the choir cloak closet.

      New stained glass window installed over the new front doors.

      New decorative lights installed on each side of the new front doors.

      Poured a new concrete top on the front step and a new sidewalk in front of the step.

      Installed new carpet on the resurfaced front step.

      The County widens and raises the 3rd concession road in front of the church. New concrete curbing is installed along the edge of the concession pavement.

2004

      A new septic tank and weeping bed are installed at a cost of $5399.72.

      The Manse is repainted outside and 3 new outside aluminum doors are installed.

      New Ontario Government legislation (Bill 170) requires the church to register its water well and the church as a public facility.

 

Compiled By: Ron Shannon