CORNWALL, Ontario – On June 10, 1925, members of Methodist, Presbyterian, Congregationalist and some Union Churches met in Toronto at the Mutual Arena. The result of this meeting was the birth of a new Canadian church, the United Church of Canada.
Cornwall and SD&G, participated in this union as well.
In Cornwall, the Knox Presbyterian Church and the St. Paul’s Methodist church both became United churches and merged together in 1981 after the former was displaced by the construction of the Cornwall Square to become Knox-St. Paul’s United Church, now located on Twelfth St. in Cornwall.
“It is really something to set aside those differences,” said Rev. Erin McIntyre of Knox-St. Paul’s United Church. “It was out of necessity especially in the prairie provinces, but our faith in Christ was and is stronger than our differences.”
South Stormont has two United Churches within its borders that trace their lineage back to the Lost Villages that were flooded with the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1958; the St. Andrew’s-St. Mark’s United Church in Long Sault and the Trinity United Church in Ingleside.
Rev. Dan Hayward who preaches in South Stormont explained how the United Church was connected to the identity of Canada, coming so soon after the Battle of Vimy Ridge in World War I, a moment some historians point to as the birth of Canadian identity.
“There was a feeling that this was the national church for the new country,” Hayward explained. “I think we are still very much a part of the community of the United Counties of SD&G.”
Rev. McIntyre explained that her congregation is comprised of about 200 families and would see an attendance at Sunday Mass of about 50 to 60 people prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
She explained that her church had deep ties to various organizations in Cornwall including the Cornwall Interfaith Partnership, Transition Cornwall +, and the Agapè Centre.
“This congregation has a vision to build a city where no one is alone,” said Rev. McIntyre.
To help members of the faith community in Cornwall cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, Rev. McIntyre had partnered with Father Matthew Brunet of St. Peter’s Catholic Church to provide ecumenical services through YouTube.