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Walking Down Memory Lane

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

By 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.

Ruby Robinson June 7, 2015.

Next Sunday

December 24, 2017

4th of Advent

Bilingual service at 10:30 with Holy Communion.

Culte bilingue avec communion à 10 h 30.


 

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