This year marks a milestone in the long rich history of this very special place. To commemorate this 125th anniversary, the history of Calvin United Church is one of a collection of short stories in the book, “Lanark County Comfort: Homespun Tales to Warm Your Heart”.
“If her walls could talk they might recount the stories of generations of local families, of two World Wars, of prayers she has heard, of joys she has shared, and somber times of sorrow, grief, and loss.”
an excerpt from “Lanark County Comfort”
The story of the church begins from the earliest days before the present church was constructed, and takes the reader through the unsettled times of the first and second world wars, the changing ways of the 1950s through the 1980s, and into the present days with the challenges of the world pandemic.
Recollections from former and current members, thoughts and insights from current minister, Rev. Micheline Montreuil, as well as stories and memories of many of the members throughout the history of the church.
Discover the social clubs and ladies’ auxiliaries, learn about the lively debating clubs, the romantic box socials, the infamous car races, the plays, the strawberry socials, and some of the church’s most distinguished members.
“Calvin United Church – 125th Anniversary”, is part of a collection of short stories in “Lanark County Comfort”, For information – 613-267-2350.
Photo: from the Stafford family collection, taken in the year of the 125th anniversary of the church, August, 2021
A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE…..
OPENED SEPTEMBER 13, 1896
Calvin United Church was built on the west half of Lot 11, Concession 3, on property purchased for the sum of thirty dollars, from John Cameron, and his wife, Janet. Construction of the church began in earnest, and was completed in the fall of 1896, at a cost of $1,450.00. The church was dedicated for worship, and opened on September 13th of that same year. The first elected officers in the church were Andrew Gamble, William Scott, Andrew Palmer, George Miller, Andrew B. Miller, Andrew W. Miller, W.J. Palmer, John Jordan, Nichol Stewart, Alex Palmer and Sydney Miller.
Built on tradition, while adapting to modern times
Traditional Hymn of Offering:
“We give thee but thine own,
Whate’er the gift may be,
For all we have is thine alone,
A trust, O Lord, from thee.”
Portrait of Jesus similar to framed version located near the pulpit of the church
Organists throughout the years:
Mary Miller and Marion Jordan – up to 1967
Beverly Miller Ferlatte – began to play in 1967, and throughout the years, including 2012-2021, ongoing, and from 2009-2021 ongoing, at Althorpe
Laura Milne – 1970s and 1980s
George Closs – 1970s and 1980s
Kim Mackie – played up to 2009 at Althorpe
Pearl Ward – played up to 2012
Alma Churchill played 2003-2011 while her husband Rev. Allan Churchill was minister
The Excelsior Club
The Excelsior young people’s club was formed in 1922, and featured social gatherings, lively debates, and was known for their legendary car races. One of the most memorable races was between the minister’s wife, Mrs. Steer, and George Jordan, to see who could make the fastest time to Carleton Place….
from: “Lanark County Comfort”
“It was during those dark uncertain times of WWII that many young members of the church left their family farms and volunteered to serve in the military. Some of these brave young men and women supported the cause on Canadian soil, and others fought overseas, far from the green fields and rolling hills of Bathurst Township.”
“Lanark County Comfort”
“Who could forget those sunny fresh spring mornings, as the Earth donned her first pale shades of green, with men in their Sunday best, and ladies in their pastel hats and gloves, singing heartfelt Easter songs of thanks and praises.”
“Lanark County Comfort”
Calvin United Church – Manse – built in 1903, for the sum of $905.00, on property purchased at the cost of fifteen dollars, from John and Janet Cameron.
VETERANS ROLL OF HONOUR
There is a Roll of Honour for the brave veterans of Calvin United Church who served their country so faithfully, during times of war: Lloyd Henry Cameron, Helen Muriel Jordan, Hugh Boyd McLellan, John Grey Palmer, Harold Earl Radford, James Stewart Scott, Earl Alexander Tysick, Edwin Cecil Popplewell, John Ernest Miller, Donald Edwin Jordan, George Bertram Fyfe, Kenneth Arthur Kirkham, George Elwood Palmer, Howard William Radford, John Adam Scott, Andrew William Stewart, Raymond McIntosh Blackburn, Andrew Gordon Miller, William Arthur Stewart.
“Both services were largely attended by visiting congregations and the church was beautifully decorated with plants and flowers.”
In September 1936 Calvin United Church celebrated their 40th Anniversary:
CAMERON HALL – BUILT IN 1947
In 1947, a meeting hall was built, and named ‘Cameron Hall’. The new hall was used to accommodate Sunday School classes, the popular Vacation Bible School, and for pot-luck suppers and gatherings throughout the year.
Calvin Vacation Bible School
Calvin Vacation Bible School – 1963 – BACK ROW: ?, ?, 3rd from the left Betty-Jean Korry, Judy Stafford, Sharon Perkins, Jackie Stafford, Mavis Jordan, MIDDLE ROW: ?,?,?, 4th from the left Ann Staples, ? Eleanor Perkins, Arnold Perkins, FRONT ROW: ?,?,? 4th from the left seated John Scott
CALVINETTES – YOUNG LADIES’ AUXILIARY
Calvinettes held an election of officers January 1964:
Elected Officers: Betty Miller, Wilma Munro, Ona Closs, Frances Dixon, Maxine Jordan, Doris Popplewell, Wilma Scott, Audry Stafford, Mrs. Clyde Korry, Carmel Jordan, Jean Jordan, Agnes Stiller.
“The Perth Courier”, Jan. 9, 1964
Calvinettes Mark 10th Anniversary
– May 1972
“Laura Milne led the party in a sing-song which set the mood for an evening of fun. Betty Johnston, Wilma Munro and Eleanor Conboy were in charge of the games which were enjoyed by all.”
Honoured for 50 years of Service
In 1979 Calvin Jordan was presented with an award for serving the church for over half a century. The award was presented by Charlie Patton and Alan Jordan for his outstanding service.
1915 Ladies’ Auxiliary
The Ladies’ Aid Society
Although because of the times, men held the offices in the church, women have also played an important role as early as 1894, with the ‘Ladies’ Aid’.
Calvin Church Lawn Social, ‘The Perth Courier’, June 25, 1915, p.5
“Box socials were popular in the 1920s and became a favourite fundraiser for members of the club. Young ladies prepared a tasty lunch for two, and the boxes were placed anonymously at the front of the room. The young men bid on the boxes, anticipating a tasty lunch shared with the lady who donated the meal…”
an excerpt from: “Lanark County Comfort”
Women’s Mission Society
U.C.W – United Church Women
Later, there was a ‘Women’s Mission Society’, and even later the U.C.W., or United Church Women. In 1962 the younger women formed the Calvinettes.
Some of the dedicated women of the ladies’ auxiliaries over the years were:
Lillian Cameron, Ethel Scott, Ethel Korry, Jean Korry, Mae Miller, Bertha Stewart, Edith Miller, Mary Miller and Mabel Palmer, Marge Cook, Wilma (Scott) Peckett, Eleanor Conboy, Jean Jordan, Audry Stafford, Ona Closs, Maxine Jordan, Mabel Palmer, Isobel Cameron, Frances Dixon, Betty Johnston, Wilma Munro, Mary Jordan, Betty Miller, Margery Conboy, Kathy Patton, Marion Majaury, Doris Popplewell, Agnes Stiller, and Carmel Jordan to name a few.
Photo: Calvin United Church & Cameron Hall – August 2021 – Stafford family collection
Many ministers have served at Calvin United Church over the years, offering spiritual guidance, sharing in the joys of baptisms, officiating at weddings, and offering comfort at the funerals of loved ones.
1997-2003 – Rev. Ingrid Condie
2003-2011 – Rev. Dr. Allen Churchill
2011-2018 – Rev. Micheline Montreuil
2018-2019 – Steve Zink, Neil Hunter, Eric Carter, Darlene McGregor, Arlyce Shiebout
2019- current – Rev. Micheline Montreuil
2016 Member Directory
photos of 2016 – 120th Anniversary Directory – provided by Beverly Miller Ferlatte
Calvin United Church has a rich history, and has been a steadfast presence in the community for over a century. It’s a short drive from Perth on the Christie Lake Road to DeWitt’s Corners, turn right onto the Cameron Side Road, and a quick drive up this picturesque country road.
If you are visiting the area, stop by, and feel the sense of history, and of the generations who have passed before you, in this pretty church on the hill.
The history of this special place – 125 years of memories, through two World Wars, and the changing times of the 1960s and 1970s, captured in a story:
“Lanark County Comfort: Homespun Tales to Warm Your Heart”
A collection of short stories, including the story of Calvin United Church – 125th Anniversary
Chapter 1: Oakes Bakery: Tasty Treats in the Town of Perth
Chapter 2 – Legendary Pant Barn Dances
Chapter 3 – Famous Folks of Flower Station
Chapter 4 – Perth’s Millionaire Bachelor
Chapter 5 – Calvin United Church 125th Anniversary
Chapter 6 – Arliedale Lodge, Christie Lake
Discover the story of this historic place in Tay Valley Township, marking its 125th year in 2021. From the earliest days in the 1870s, through World War I and World War II, the people who served and contributed their time and talents, in this lovely rural church, set in a backdrop of a close-knit farming community in Eastern Ontario.
To order, click on the link below:
photos: from the “Calvin United Church 90th Anniversary”commemorative publication, & “Calvin United Church Bathurst 100th Anniversary 1896-1996” commemorative publication, and Stafford family collection – taken Aug. 3, 2021, by Arlene Stafford-Wilson and her son, Alex Duhaney.
Happy 125th Anniversary to Calvin United Church!