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Walking Down Memory Lane

June 7, 2015 - Reflecting on Church Union on June 10, 1925

Ruby Robinson

Today's Walking Down Memory Lane presentation tells a few facts in and around Church Union, June 10, 1925. Rev. Martyn Sadler sent relevant quotes from The History of the United Church of Canada: (a History, 2012, Donald Schweitzer, ed) notes from Freeman Clowery who had written them for Rev. Jane Aikman and Plymouth minutes found at the ETRC archives have been most useful.

What is striking, it seems to me, is that past history is indeed connected with the passage of time right up to today.

The conversation about union began towards the end of the 19th century. As early as 1889, the Anglicans convened a meeting in Toronto and were joined by the Methodists and the Presbyterians. The Congregationalists supported it, but did not attend. The Congregationalists brought themselves together in a union of their churches in Quebec and Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in 1906.

By the time "the Joint Union Committee had agreed on the text", it was 1908. It was at this point in 1910, that the Congregationalists decided to proceed with Union.

A serious letter was received by the Board on March 25, 1924 from the Congregational Union of Canada lamenting that only $30 had been received for the Church Union Fund from three members: Mr. Haight, Mr. Sangster and Mr. W. H. Abbot.

On April 4, 1924, Plymouth Church Deacons declined an invitation from St. Andrew's Church to attend a meeting to hear Rev. Brown speak against the principle of Church Union as Plymouth considered themselves a part of the United Church. It seems that 109 people from St. Andrew's felt the same and 90 years ago joined Plymouth United Church. An effort was made to welcome them and the male members voted some of the male newcomers into positions of responsibility.

On Nov. 28, 1924, a letter was received with news that Plymouth Congregational Church was incorporated (7 George V Chapter 119).

Rev. Dr. Ellery Read, the minister at Plymouth, 1905-1936, and pastor emeritus 1936-1946 played a leading role at the Joint Union Committee meetings held in Toronto and so did Rev. James Robertson's grandson, Rev. Charles W. Gordon.

Apparently our first minister, Rev. James Robertson's daughter Mary, attracted the attention of the young Presbyterian minister, Rev. Daniel Gordon, from Lingwick, Quebec. They married in 1851 and their son the Rev. Charles W. Gordon authored Western fiction under the pseudonym of Ralph Conner. You may know some of his books: Cameron of the Royal Mounties, The Sky Pilot, The Man from Glengarry. As a strong supporter of Church Union, The Rev. Gordon, now Moderator of The Presbyterian Church played a significant role in the work concluding with the creation of the United Church of Canada. He may have been acquainted with Rev. Ellery Read when they both attended church union meetings in Toronto.

We are honored today to have our former minister Rev. Jane Aikman and John Foster from Moncton, New Brunswick with us. As well, we are delighted to have two of Rev. James Robertson, 4X great granddaughters Mary Delorme from Greenfield Park, Quebec and her sister Anna McClure from Sutton, Quebec. They are related to Dr. Robert McClure who was in 1968 the United Church's first lay Moderator.

In 1926 at an annual meeting, the new by-laws were passed to bring now Plymouth United Church in conformity with that suggested by the United Church in their Basis of Union. It was introduced by F. S. Rugg and seconded by W. H. Abbot.

Another topic leading through the passage of time up to us here today is about Rev. Frank Day, our seventh minister, 1896-1905. He came back on a pulpit visit in 1920 when he was the director of the Forward Movement, a spiritual movement and was concerned about raising funds to supplement Congregational ministers' and retired ministers salaries and for the African missions, particularly Angola. Its first mission station, Bailundu, was established in 1881 and Selma Chipenda Dansokho tells me that her grandfather, Jesse Chipenda, attended this mission school for a time and continued his education at others. It is quite amazing to think that perhaps the Plymouth mission support lead to Selma's path here. Who knows what doors will open for us here at Plymouth-Trinity when we give a donation to the Mission and Service Fund.


Next Sunday

April 28, 2019

2nd of Easter

10:30 AM

Worship Leader: Shanna Bernier

News & Events

Statement on Quebec’s Bill 21

Statement by La Table des ministères en français of the United Church of Canada on Quebec’s Bill 21:

Since its creation in 1925 The United Church of Canada has developed from an inclusive perspective. We are also aware that our Quebec society lived through a period in which it sought to detach itself from significant religious control. Throughout the 1960s, the Quiet Revolution recognized the importance of a secular state and government, as well as public services and institutions that serve civil society. The separation between state and religion (whatever religion it may be), is essential for us all and we support it unconditionally. After more than 50 years as a clearly secular state, we wonder why the Quebec government now fears the personal religious expression of individuals who represent the state.

Why would someone receiving services from our public institutions consider an employee wearing a religious symbol to be promoting their religion and therefore unable to carry out their duties in a professional manner? We do not believe that the people of Quebec will suddenly adopt new religious views after seeing someone wearing religious symbols. We trust that Quebeckers can make their own decisions when it comes to their personal beliefs. In today’s open and democratic world, the sources of our inspiration and influence are diverse. It is precisely this open and democratic culture that we must maintain and nourish.

Exclusion takes many forms. We believe that a prohibition on wearing religious symbols for some employees of public institutions sows division instead of weaving a stronger social fabric. Some religious symbols are deeply rooted in the faith of a person and cannot simply be abandoned for eight hours of the day. Who leaves their values and principles at the door of their workplace each morning? As a people of faith, we do not, and we should not be asking others to do so. We must all carry out our duties with due respect, equally and to all.

Rather than excluding professionals who wear religious symbols, we should evaluate those who serve our public institutions on the basis of their ability to effectively carry out their duties. After all, who is to say that such an employee does not find inspiration for the work they do for others at the root of their faith? Our defensive actions prevent us from deepening this expression of our humanity.

Mutual enrichment through diversity, which we all share in and work towards, is a key commitment that is lived out within the United Church as well. The subtleties of our own statement on Bill 21 reflect the ongoing conversations amongst our members and in our communities.

The United Church of Canada has Francophone roots in Quebec that go back to 1860; the oldest francoprotestant church in Quebec is a United Church situated in Belle-Rivière. It is as francophones, as Quebeckers and as protestants that we invite the Quebec government to celebrate its diversity within its common francophone culture. We ask the government to trust the people of Quebec to know the difference between a person living out their faith and the secular service provided by the state. The lessons from the Quiet Revolution have helped Quebec become a progressive society that is open to the world. Let us not adopt measures exclusion that impoverish this openness.

- Rosemary Lambie, Executive Minister, Nakonha:ka Region of the United Church of Canada

Éric Hébert-Daly, Responsible for Ministries in French, on behalf of La Table des ministères en français

Let's go camping!

United Spirit Camp is a one week volunteer-led camp for children and youth and it is one of the ministries of Nakonha:ka Regional Council.

The United Spirit Camp is looking for campers and youth over 16 to be counselors at this one-week-long sleepaway camp.
br>Our theme this summer is “Radical Welcome” and we cannot wait to meet you!

There are limited spots, so register soon! Camp costs 375$ for the week and we have funding available for “camperships.”

Check out our website

Or here on Facebook

Call for nominations

The General Council Nominations Committee has launched a call for nominations for several vacancies.

People across the church are invited to express their interest, or nominate others who have the gifts to serve well in these leadership roles. The Nominations Committee welcomes hearing from anyone, and particularly encourages those from groups which have been traditionally marginalized in our church, including (but not limited to) youth and young adults, Indigenous and racialized members, those active in francophone ministry, and people who identify as disabled.

You can find United Church job and volunteer opportunities here. Check back regularly!

Children at P-T

Join us at Plymouth-Trinity for a family-friendly worship experience. We have a children's corner in the sanctuary with craft supplies and helpful volunteers. Some Sundays there is also a 30-minute children's programme during worship-time for kids of all ages.

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