Église unie Summerlea United Church
225 50 Av, Lachine, Québec, H8T2T7, Canada. 514-634-2651
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Historical Summary of
St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church
and Summerlea Presbyterian / United Church
1818 - 2005

The First Fifty Years: 1902 - 1952
The Second Fifty Years: 1952 - 2002
A Path of Faith, by Ruth Taylor
History of Grace United Church (2007-08-24)

January 2005 marks the joining of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church with Summerlea United Church, both of Lachine, Quebec, Canada. On this occasion we summarize the inter-linked history of the two congregations since the inception of St. Andrew's Presbyterian in 1818, 187 years ago.
You can email comments, corrections and additions to wblynn@sympatico.ca. All comments will be gratefully acknowledged and incorporated in the text, if applicable.

Just the Facts
Details & Photos

Just the Facts
1818, Jan: Founding of St. Andrew's Scotch Presbyterian Church in Lachine.

1832: St. Andrew's Scotch Presbyterian Church and manse built on 15th Avenue at St. Joseph.

1876: Union of the Presbyterian Churches in Canada.

1904: First meetings of the Summerlea mission of St. Andrew's Presbyterian in a "little red schoolhouse" on the Lakeshore Road in western Lachine.

1907: Summerlea Presbyterian mission moved to a building on 51st Avenue (now the site of the Summerlea manse).

1907: Grace Methodist Church was built on St. Joseph at 11th Avenue. (1)

1914: Summerlea Presbyterian mission became an independent Presbyterian congregation.

1918: Celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of the St. Andrew's Presbyterian congregation.

1925: Summerlea and St. Andrew's Presbyterian congregations joined the new United Church of Canada.
About 100 members remained with the Presbyterian Church in Canada and began holding services in the Masonic Hall on Notre Dame Street, retaining the name St. Andrew's Presbyterian. Rev. Dr. Ross was inducted as Minister on 22 September 1925.

1926: St. Andrew's Presbyterian purchased the Molson Bank Building on Notre Dame at 6th Avenue with the first service held on Sunday 26 November.

1952, Oct 23: Dedication of new Summerlea United Church building on 50th Avenue.

1957, Apr 5: Dedication of new St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church building at 5065 Sherbrooke. (2)

1971: Grace United (originally Methodist) Church closed and members joined Summerlea. Grace Chapel commemorates the Grace congregation. (1)

1997, June: St. Andrew's congregation severed ties with the Presbyterian Church in Canada, which refused to ordain a homosexual minister.

2001: St. Andrew's Presbyterian congregation decided to leave their home of 44 years and accept a Summerlea United invitation to share facilities. (2)

2004, Sep: Summerlea United and St. Andrew's Presbyterian voted to amalgamate, retaining the name Summerlea United. Fellowship Hall to become St. Andrew's Hall, with articles from St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, to commemorate the St. Andrew's congregation.

2005, Jan 16: Covenanting Service for the joining of St. Andrew's Presbyterian with Summerlea United.

2011, Dec 18: Last service of St. Andrew's United Church, the congregation having decided earlier in the year to close the church. Thus ends the history of St. Andrew's Presbyterian and St. Andrew's United Churches in Lachine. (There is no longer a St. Andrew's church in Lachine.)

(1) Grace Church closed in 1971. The building was used for a while by the Sikh community and is now (2005) being converted to condominiums.

(2) St. Andrew's Presbyterian closed in 2001. The building was purchased in 2003 by the Norwegian Church.
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Details & Photos
1818: A congregation was first collected at Lachine in the year 1818 through the labours of Rev. Hugh Kirkland, a young minister who came from Ireland in that year. He was inducted to the charge in January 1818 and left in May of the following year for the United States. (Per a history of the Presbyterian Church in Canada by Mr. James Croil, quoted in ref 1.)

1818, Jul 25: A Civil Registry book was presented by the Rev'd Hugh Kirkland A.M.V.D.M. Parish of St. Michel Lower Canada, Minister of the Presbyterian Congregation of Lachine, to the congregation.

1818, Aug 2: First baptism by Rev Hugh Kirkland, of James Watts, son of John & Margaret Watts.

1822-1831: Ministers of St. Gabriel Church, Montreal, looked after the congregation of Lachine.

1832: The parcel of land for the church and manse was presented to the St. Andrew's Scotch Presbyterian Congregation by Mr. Robert Grant and Mr. Charles Grant. The foundation stone of the church was laid on 9 June 1832 and the building completed in September. The first minister was Rev. Alexander Gale

1832: A Minute by Rev Alex Gale indicates that Lachine and Chateauguay were one pastoral charge.

1833: The first Elders of St. Andrew's were appointed: Dr. James Campbell, Donald Duff and John Fraser.

1836, Mar 20: The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was celebrated for the first time in the new building to 50 communicants. The officiating minister was Rev John Taylor, and Dr. James Campbell, Messrs Duff and Fraser, along with Mr. Mathews Elder of St. Andrew's Church Montreal doing the duties of the eldership.

1850: Two hundred and eighty-seven souls were connected with the congregation in 1850.

1853, Sep 11: St. Andrew's Minutes of Session complain about the difficulty in finding men willing to serve as elders.

1861, Feb 4: St. Andrew's Session appointed Mr. John Taylor precentor, to correct "the unsatisactory way in which the singing has been conducted for some months past owing to the want of a stated precentor".

1863, Mar 8: St. Andrew's Session agreed to pay Mr. John Taylor ten pounds per annum for services as precentor.

1864: A St. Andrew's vote was held regarding purchase of a musical instrument. A protest arose and Session cancelled the idea.

1873: A representation to the St. Andrew's Session was made to canvas the congregation for funds for a new instrument to replace the melodion which was experiencing expensive repair bills.

1876: Rev. Wm. Simpson retired after 32 years as St. Andrew's Minister. His active ministry closed with the union of the Presbyterian Churches in Canada, a movement against which he was an unyielding opponent.

1876: Rev. Donald Ross, B.D. of Chatham & Grenville having received a unanimous call from the Congregation of St. Andrew's Church Lachine, was inducted on the 10th Oct. 1876. (This is the first mention in reference 1 of St. Andrew's as the name of the congregation.)

St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church ca 1890 1890: A photo published in the Montreal Gazette 18 Dec 2011, on the occasion of the last service of St. Andrew's United Church, shows the church with its cemetery in 1890.
(Rev. 2012/02/13)

1894: Mr. Alex Bissett was appointed St. Andrew's organist (when the organ was acquired is not noted.)

Summerlea 51st Av 1907: Summerlea Presbyterian mission moved to a building on 51st Avenue (now the site of the Summerlea manse).
The photo was taken in the 1940's.
Rev. 2012/02/13: The Summerlea manse has been sold. Summerlea no longer has a minister's manse.

1907: Grace Methodist was built on Lakeshore Road (St. Joseph) at 11th Avenue.
The former Grace Church being prepared for demolition in January 2005.
Grace Church St. Joseph at 11th Grace Church St. Joseph at 11th Grace Church St. Joseph at 11th

1908: Extensive alterations and repairs were made to the St. Andrew's church building, the old square pews being removed and the present pews installed.
The sketch below is thought to depict the renovated church - the caption reads:
St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church: Come with us to a church service about 1840. Here the Reverend Robert McGill is delivering an earnest sermon. Under his leadership the building was erected in 1831; pulpit, sounding-board and stairs, all of black walnut, were added a few years later. Below the pulpit sits the precentor at his special desk, ready to lead the responses and begin hymns on the proper note. Each family pays an annual rent for its own box pew. In the gallery sit the poorer families and those who were servants. This fine church, faithfully restored in 1937, is today very little changed from its original appearance.
The remark about little change in the 1937 restoration raises questions, because the 1917 minutes mention installation of a "handsome new organ".

1914: Although the 1918 St. Andrew's historical sketch makes no mention of a Summerlea mission congregation in western Lachine, two ledgers in the Summerlea United (formerly Presbyterian) church office are inscribed,
"Presented by the Session of St. Andrew's Church, Lachine, to the Presbyterian congregation of Summerlea, on the occasion of their severance from St. Andrew's Church. dated December 21st, 1914."

1917: The St. Andrew's minutes included a note re the installation of a handsome new pipe organ. Perhaps the photo below depicts the revised configuration. Note that the gallery and box pews are gone.

1918: One hundredth anniversary of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Lachine.
St. Andrew's Presbyterian One Hundredth Anniversary Bulletin Cover

1925: St. Andrew's Presbyterian, 15th Avenue, became St. Andrew's United.
St. Andrew's United photos taken January 2005.
St. Andrew's United, Jan 2005 St. Andrew's United, Jan 2005 St. Andrew's United, Jan 2005

1952: Dedication of the new Summerlea United Church, 225 50th Avenue, Lachine.
Summerlea United, Lachine - Sketch by Hazel M. Taylor

1971: Grace United (originally Methodist) Church closed and members joined Summerlea.
Grace Chapel commemorates the Grace congregation.

The following notes are taken from Reference 2.

1955: The St. Andrew's Presbyterian Congregation purchased 25,000 sq. ft. of land on the present site of 5065 Sherbrooke St. with the first sod turned by the Very Rev. Malcolm A. Campbell on Sunday 29 July 1956, and the building dedicated on Friday 5 April 1957.

In 1995 the Congregation was presented with a call that would test its commitment to the Gospel of Justice. The Congregation stood up to the institution of the Presbyterian Church in Canada and in June 1997 made the difficult decision of severing tires with the PCC. On 15 February 1999 a special service took place to celebrate and bless the brave stand of the Congregation and the ministry of their pastor, Rev. Darryl Macdonald. 40 Clergy and members of other congregations numbering 400, both local and national, laid hands on the Congregation of St. Andrew's and their minister.

With the mounting costs of maintenance, and the desire to continue our ministry, we were faced with another difficult decision. We decided to leave our home of 44 years and move in with our neighbours at Summerlea United. We look forward to creating new memories, forging strong relationships and living as God's disciples.

Between 1957 and 2005 St. Andrew's has been faithfully served by Rev. J.A. Crabb 1957-1969, Rev. R.D. Currie 1969-1973, Rev. John A Bodkin 1974-1981, Rev. Sheina B. Smith 1982-1992, Gordon Ritchie and Andrew Scott (Pastoral team during vacancy) 1992-1994, Rev. Darryl Macdonald 1995-2005. We also owe our thanks to Rev. Glynis Williams for her hard and inspirational work as Interim Moderator from 1992-1996. We also acknowledge the many students for Ministry who passed through these doors.

The former St. Andrew's Presbyterian, 5065 Sherbrooke, January 2005.
Now the Norwegian Church and Cultural Centre.
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1. "Historical Sketch of St. Andrew's Church, Lachine, 1818-1918", by Rev. A. George MacKinnon, B.D., written for the one hundredth anniversary of the congregation.

2. "St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Lachine", by Rev. Darryl Macdonald, 2001.

3. The bulletin of the Dedication and Opening Services of the "new" Summerlea United building October 23, 1952.

4. "History of Summerlea for the period circa 1900 - 2002", by Dr. Tom Pavlasek, written for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the 50th Avenue building.
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