MINDEMOYA—A 100th anniversary celebration was held this past Sunday for the venerable Trinity United Church of Manitoulin’s building.
“We are humbled and honoured to be in this church and celebrate the 100-year anniversary of this building,” said Reverend Joshua J. Kang, at the special service. “This is a wonderful place and in this place where so many have been baptized, married, prayed and taken part in many events and church activities over the years—we wish you a welcome home.”
“We, as a family of Trinity United Church Manitoulin, always want to come home to this house of God because this is our spiritual family where we belong in the will of God. We are so proud of being in this church, which has a very rich history. Please look around the sanctuary. It is filled with beautiful stories of God’s grace and the love of the saints.”
“So, on our 100th anniversary celebration, we wanted to have a homecoming celebration and have invited all those who have some strong connections to this place to celebrate God’s amazing grace and to share our love with each other as a family of God. It’s great to see all of you. Welcome home.”
Leila Thureson provided some of her memories of the church. “I would like to welcome everyone to the 100th anniversary of this church building,” she said. “My memories of this church building begin with my starting Sunday School, noting that she can still remember the first verse she learned, Job 3:16.”
“Up to the age of 12 Sunday School classes were held in the basement and for those 13 and up it was held here, upstairs,” said Ms. Thureson.
Ms. Thureson said, “I always remember this being a very busy church then.” Groups like Brownies, Guides and the UCW (United Church Women) would meet and there was a senior group for men, where men from the whole community would take part in.
The first church, a white frame building, was built in 1886-1887 by Francis Wagg and George VanHorne. It was the only church in the town of Mindemoya at the time so it was shared by the Presbyterian, Methodist, Congregational and the Anglican congregations. The ministers of the congregations took turns preaching on Sundays.
In 1918, the need for a larger church became apparent, so the present church was built on this site by many volunteers in the community. A new porch at the entrance to the church was constructed to enhance the appearance accessibility to the church in 1920. A new manse was built for the current minister of the time in 1922.
In 1925, the church officially became a United Church of Canada. Sunday school was very active at this time. There soon was a need to put several churches on the Island into a Pastoral Charge, served by one minister. The reason for this was due to finances and the need to free up ministers to fill other much needed postings. Providence Bay and St. Paul’s on the Hill, Kagawong United Churches also joined the Mindemoya Pastoral Charge.
In the 1960s a new addition was added on to the side and back of the church to accommodate the minister’s office and committee room upstairs and the kitchen and bathrooms downstairs.
One feature of this church building is the beautiful stained glass windows that were donated in memory of loved ones in the 1990s.
There have been many ministers to serve at this church, which has hosted many weddings, baptisms and funerals in the last 100 years.
In 2017, the new Trinity United Church Manitoulin came into being with the amalgamation of Mindemoya and Providence Bay United Churches and the closure of St. Paul’s on the Hill, Kagawong.
The church choir and Jim and Joanne Smith provided beautiful music during for the service on Sunday.
Rev. Kang told the congregation, “I received this email from a member who lives outside of our community. ‘Good morning, Joshua. We so wish we could be there for the 100th anniversary of our church. Both my mother, my grandparents and all the rest of the family were present at the laying of the cornerstone in 1918. Trinity United Church Manitoulin was a huge part of my growing up. We’ll be thinking of you all on Sunday’.”
After the service a lunch was held downstairs in the church, which also saw the singing of ‘Happy Birthday’ to the church and member Blair Sullivan who was celebrating his 94th birthday.