Welcome to Zion-Memorial United Church
37 Franklin Street
Carleton Place, Ontario
K7C 1R6

History

History of the United Church of Canada

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History of Zion-Memorial United Church

The present Zion-Memorial United Church was built by the Methodist Congregation of Carleton Place.

The corner-stone was laid on 6 May, 1888, and the first worship service was held on 9 December of the same year. The next year, the bell was installed in the steeple. A Casavant Bros. pipe organ was installed in 1913.

In 1925, the Congregational, Methodist, and Presbyterian Churches in Canada merged to form the United Church.

In Carleton Place, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian and the Methodist congregations voted to merge, to worship in the Methodist church, and adopted the name Memorial Park United Church.

The year following the celebration of the 50th anniversary of construction of the church, the Sunday School Hall at the rear was demolished, and a new one erected. The cornerstone, containing a copper time capsule, was laid on 24 June, 1939, and the new hall was dedicated on 5 November of the same year. During this period, a bowling green was located to the east of the building, on the present manse property.

On Sunday, 5 October, 1947, a set of chimes honouring the men and women of the congregation who served in World War II was dedicated. Every Sunday from then on, the chimes, with organ accompaniment, could be heard pealing out before Worship Service.

On Saturday, 6 February, 1954, fire struck the building, leaving only the bell tower and steeple standing. Worship services were held in the Town Hall, heralded by the pealing of the bell. Presbytery requested the congregation to consider merging with Zion, but the decision in both churches was in the negative, and Memorial Park was re-built, opening for worship on Sunday, 22 May, 1955.

In the early 1960s, discussions were again held with the congregation of Zion United Church in Carleton Place to investigate amalgamation. After many meetings and many matters resolved, on 15 May, 1966, the final meeting of the two congregations, agreed that the name of the new congregation would be "Zion-Memorial United Church".

On 1 July of that year, the formation of the new congregation became official, and the new congregation began worshipping in this building.

In 1973, a new manse was built to the east of the church. In 1982, a Rodgers electronic organ was installed.

In the late 1990s, the original bell in the steeple fell silent because an inspection revealed that almost 110 years of service and corrosion had left in a condition too dangerous to be used.

The old manual arrangement was dismantled, the original bell was mounted in a “fixed” position, and an electronically controlled hammer was installed to simulate the bell being rung.

The bell once more began calling our members to worship on Sunday, 12 November, 2001, and also peals to mark noon every day.

History of Zion-Memorial United Church relating to the Methodist Congregation

Methodism was introduced into this area in the 1820s by missionaries from the United States. The Canadian branch separated from the American Church in 1824, forming the Canadian Methodist Conference, then united in 1833 with the Wesleyan Methodist Conference.

The Carleton Place Methodist congregation was organized by the Rev. Mr. John Black (great grandfather of the first organist for Zion-Memorial) in 1829, and in 1831, built the first church in the village of Carleton Place (Morphy's Falls). It was a frame structure, large enough to seat 250 persons, situated on Bridge St. on the site of the present Baptist Church.

In 1871, the wooden church was moved, and a new brick building was built (the present Baptist Church).

As the numbers increased, a larger more central location was desired, and subscriptions were sought. Some 200 members and adherents participated, and construction began on the present site early in 1888. The cornerstone was laid on May 6 of that year. The first worship service was held in the new building on Sunday, 9 December, less than a year after the cornerstone was laid. The next year, the bell was placed in the tower.

The original mortgages were cleared and the mortgages burned at a special service on 12 March, 1908.

A Casavant Bros. pipe organ was installed in 1913.

The foundation of the first manse was visible a few years ago on the north bank of the river, not too far from Bridge Street. The manse was later moved to one part of a framed double residence on Beckwith Street just north of the Zion Manse, and separated by a laneway.

After Union in 1925, when St. Andrew's and the Methodist congregations joined and the church became Memorial Park United Church, the Beckwith Street Manse was sold, and the former St. Andrew's manse on Lake Avenue West at MacArthur Avenue was occupied.

History of Zion-Memorial United Church relating to the St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

The Rev. William Bell was the first Presbyterian minister in this area when he settled in Perth in 1817. From here he served all of Lanark County and surrounding areas until 1822. In that year, Dr. John Gemmill came to Lanark, and the Rev. Dr. George Buchanan settled in Beckwith, and served the Township as minister, doctor, and the first school teacher. He began preaching in both English and Gaelic: first in the open air, later in a crude building, which Rev. Bell called "God’s Barn". When it burned down, the congregation themselves built a stone church on the 7th Concession Line of Beckwith.

The division of the Presbyterian Church into the "Free" Church and the Church of Scotland was felt in the Beckwith bush, and those favouring the Free Church built themselves a stone church in Blacks Corners. The congregation later merged into a two-point charge with another in Ashton, also worshipping in a stone church. Both buildings still stand to-day, although they are not used as churches. As the Carleton Place area began to grow, the old St. Andrew’s Church on the 7th Concession was abandoned, the congregation building a new church in Franktown.

In Carleton Place, a stone church was built on the north-east corner of St. Paul and William Streets (this building faces the triangular park/playground on the south side of William Street). Lack of agreement prevented its use as a church, but it was put to good use storing hay (by Robert Bell, son of the Rev. William Bell, pioneer minister in Perth). In 1869, it was renovated and fitted, and became the first St. Andrew’s Church in Carleton Place. The Rev. Ross was minister, and a joint Session was established over both Franktown and Carleton Place. This arrangement continues until 1888, when the population of Carleton Place had doubled in the last five years, and the two congregations became separate charges, each having its own Minister and Session. The building is now used as a multi-unit dwelling.

The present St. Andrew’s Church was built on land donated by Mr. John Gillies to be used for a church, meeting house, burial ground and residence for the minister. On 31 August, 1886, the Building Committee accepted the proposal of S. R. Badgley, Architect, (who also designed the Methodist Church later) for a new church to be constructed of native stone with Beckwith stone trimmings, seating capacity for 500, a choir gallery in the rear of the pulpit, basement to be finished for Sunday School, furnace rooms, etc., with the cost to be kept as close as possible to $8,000. The contract for the construction was awarded on 6 December, 1886, at a cost of $10,150, with completion expected by November, 1887. The cornerstone was laid 2 June, 1887, but because of inclement weather, the service was held in Zion Presbyterian Church.

The original manse was on the south-west corner of Lake Avenue West and MacArthur Avenue. At the time of Union in 1925, it became the property of Memorial Park United Church, and those members who wished to continue in the Presbyterian faith obtained a house on Moffatt Street for the manse, when they purchased the church from Memorial Park later in 1925. The Continuing Presbyterians became the basis for the present congregation of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.

History of Zion-Memorial United Church relating to the Memorial Park United Church

After Union in 1925, when St. Andrew's and the Methodist congregations joined and the church became Memorial Park United Church, the Beckwith Street Manse was sold, and the former St. Andrew's manse on Lake Avenue West at MacArthur Avenue was occupied.

In 1938, a Golden Jubilee celebrated the 50th anniversary of the construction of the church, and shortly afterwards, work was begun to remove the old hall at the rear and replace it with a new one in essentially the same form as the present one. The cornerstone, containing a copper time capsule, was laid on 24 June, 1939, and the new hall was dedicated on 5 November of the same year.

During this period, a bowling green was located to the east of the building, on the present manse property.

A special service was held on Sunday, 5 October, 1947 to dedicate a set of chimes honouring the men and women of the congregation who served in World War II. Every Sunday from then on, the chimes, with organ accompaniment, could be heard pealing out before Worship Service.

After the mortgage was cleared in 1950, the sanctuary was redecorated in 1953. On Saturday, 6 February, 1954, fire struck the building, leaving only the bell tower and steeple standing. The congregation was without a minister as he had left at the start of the year. Worship services were held in the Town Hall, heralded by the pealing of the bell.

Presbytery requested the congregation to consider merging with Zion United Church, but the decision in both churches was in the negative, and Memorial Park was re built, opening for worship on Sunday, 22 May, 1955.

In the early 1960s, discussions were held between the congregations of the two United Churches in Carleton Place to investigate amalgamation. After many meetings and many matters resolved, on 15 May, 1966, the final meeting of the two congregations agreed that the name of the new congregation would be "Zion Memorial United Church".

On 1 July of that year, the formation of the new congregation became official, and a new three point pastoral charge consisting of Zion-Memorial United Church, St. Pauls' United in Franktown and Boyd's United in Boyd's Settlement came into being.

History of Zion-Memorial United Church relating to the Zion United Church

On 6 May, 1868, following a petition by a group of Free Church Presbyterians in Carleton Place, the Presbytery of Ottawa unanimously granted their request, and named two ministers to create a communion roll and to preside over the election and ordination of Elders.

The completed roll of the new Zion Church contained 37 members and the congregation was recognised by Presbytery as a distinct church, associated with Black's Corners and Ashton under one Pastor. The first minister was the Rev. Mr. Carswell. As many of the members in the new Zion Church had formerly worshipped in Black's Corners, Zion was regarded as a "daughter" church of the Black's Corner Church.

An early project of the new congregation was to erect a church building. Mr. Archibald MacArthur donated the land, currently at the comer of Albert and Beckwith Streets in Carleton Place, and was a very generous donor along with others who made "very handsome contributions", enabling the church to be built in 1869.

The original building was constructed entirely of dressed Beckwith stone in a square shape with a tower and steeple over the front door. The cost was $3,640 excluding painting, glazing and seating.

While the church was being built, services were held alternately in the Methodist, Baptist and St. Andrew's Churches. Early services in the new church were held with the seating consisting of planks placed on blocks of wood.

In 1878, Rev A. A. Scott, M. A. was called and remained with the congregation for nearly 40 years.

The church was enlarged by building a gallery in 1880, a bell was hung in the steeple in 1882, then re roofed, pointed and painted outside and varnished inside in 1885. In 1886, the building was enlarged by adding wings on either side and a vestry and choir gallery were built. The church could now seat 225 worshippers.

In 1890, the lot at the rear (currently the parking lot for Scotiabank) was purchased and a brick manse was built.

In 1898, a pipe organ was installed in the church, and a Sunday School room was added in 1908.

In 1910, fire destroyed a large area of Carleton Place as well as Zion Church and Manse. Amalgamation with St. Andrew's was investigated, but no basis for union was found.

One year after the fire, the new foundation was started, and the church re-opened in March, 1912. During January, February and March, 1918, the congregations of Zion, St. Andrew's, the Methodists and the Baptists held union services together in the Town Hall to help the war effort by conserving fuel.

Zion Presbyterian Church became a United Church on church union in 1925.

The next event in the available records of Zion Church is the destruction by fire on Sunday, 15 January, 1950, and its subsequent reconstruction.

In the early 1960s, discussions were held between the congregations of the two United Churches in Carleton Place to investigate amalgamation. After many meetings and many matters resolved, on 15 May, 1966, the final meeting of the two congregations agreed that the name of the new congregation would be "Zion Memorial United Church".

On 1 July of that year, the formation of the new congregation became official, and a new three point pastoral charge consisting of Zion-Memorial United Church, St. Pauls' United in Franktown and Boyd's United in Boyd's Settlement came into being.

 

Copyright © Zion-Memorial United Church, 37 Franklin Street, Carleton Place, Ontario, K7C 1R6