St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church (Ottawa)


St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church (Ottawa)

St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church is the oldest Presbyterian church in Ottawa, Canada.

History

Creation

St. Andrews is Ottawa's oldest Presbyterian Church in Canada congregation, with the original church opening in 1828. The church was founded for, and built by, the Scottish and Irish labourers who were constructing the Rideau Canal for Montreal's John Redpath and their own Thomas MacKay. The location on Wellington Street was purchased from Nicholas Sparks for 200 Pounds Sterling and the church was built during lulls in the construction of the canal.

As Ottawa had no Anglican church at the time, St. Andrew's argued that it should be considered the established church in the city, as the representative of the Established Church of Scotland. The advantage of being so recognized, was the rights to clergy reserves. The authorities agreed to the request, and in 1837 the church was granted a large glebe to the south of the city. This area stretching from Bronson Avenue to the Rideau Canal later became the neighbourhood known as the Glebe. In 1844, a number of families left following the 1843 Disruption within the Church of Scotland, and formed Knox Free Church. Despite those losses, the original building still proved too small, an extension was completed in 1854, and the building was then replaced with the current structure in 1872.

Growth

In June 1875, St. Andrew's, Knox, Bank Street (later Chalmers ), and the newly formed congregations in New Edinburgh (now MacKay United Church, named after their first Elder and Trustee Thomas MacKay) , and in the Sandy Hill (or Lower Town) St. Paul's or Daly Street, as well as congregations in nearby Rochesterville (Erskine), Hull, Quebec, Cumberland, Manotick, Nepean (Merivale, and Bells Corners), that all became part of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, within the "Presbytery of Ottawa".

In 1925, this congregation voted 389-309 to remain in the Presbyterian Church in Canada rather than join the United Church of Canada. A number of families, and the Minister, went to nearby Chalmers; only Knox and Erskine (closed October 2007, and amalgamated with Westminster), within the then City of Ottawa remained as "continuing" Presbyterians.

After 1925, the Presbyterian presence in Ottawa was far smaller. St Andrew's (as well as Knox and Erskine) were involved with city-wide ministries. A Church School in the Hintonburg neighbourhood (the former Bethany Presbyterian Church became Parkdale United), eventually became St. Stephen's Church in 1945, while "minority" groups formed St. Giles in The Glebe, Westminster in Westboro, South Gloucester and Knox Church, Manotick.

Following the 1950 annexation by Ottawa of parts of Nepean and Gloucester Townships, St. Andrew's was very supportive of Presbyterian church extension into these new residential neighbourhoods. Under the leadership of Rev. Dr. John A. Johnston, (1927–2008) late father of the present Senior Minister, four new congregations were started after his appointment in 1956; St Timothy's on Alta Vista Drive, a new St. Paul's, located on Woodroffe Avenue, St. Martin's in Manor Park, and St. David's in Overbrook. The latter two merged in 1967, and later extension projects included Parkwood, in Nepean, Trinity in Kanata, Grace in Orleans, and Greenview (closed June 30 2007) in Barrhaven.

Recent history

With the changing demographics in Ottawa, there were other changes in the area adjacent to the congregation. In the 1970s, it was decided to lease the land to the rear of the church. The Sunday school building that had been built in 1874 was torn down and an office building, St. Andrew's Tower, was built in its place in 1988. This building, which is attached directly to the rear of the church, is now the headquarters of the Department of Justice, although the congregation has offices, and rooms on the lower levels, entered from Kent Street, with wheelchair access from the Tower Building.

A number of dignitaries have attended the church. It was where Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King worshipped when in Ottawa. Governor Generals included the Earl of Aberdeen, and Lord Tweedsmuir, also known as author John Buchan, whose February 1940 funeral was held within the sanctuary. Princess Margriet of the Netherlands was baptized here, while the royal family was in exile during the Second World War, and a Lectern was later donated by the family, featuring the Dutch Royal Coat of Arms.

In September 2003, the congregation celebrated their 175th Anniversary. A new history book, "Unto the Hills Around" by John S. Moir, was published for this milestone occasion.This book was awarded the T. Melville Bailey Memorial Award by the Presbyterian Church in Canada's Committee on History in June 2005.

Ministers

The current Senior Minister of St. Andrew's is the Reverend Andrew Johnston, whose childhood was spent in Ottawa, Lagos Nigeria, and Hamilton, Ontario. He came in January 1999 from the Briarwood Presbyterian Church, Beaconsfield, Quebec, on the West Island of Montreal.

Since 1828, thirteen Ministers have served this congregation along with a number of associates, assistants, deaconesses, pastoral care, and student ministers.All but six of these senior ministers were born in Scotland, the last being Rev. Dr. A. Ian Burnett, who resigned in 1960.

Two ministers; Rev. Dr. William T. Herridge (1914), and Minister Emeritus Rev. Dr. Arthur W. Currie (1981), both held the Office of Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Canada while serving as Minister of St. Andrew's. Rev. Dr. Daniel Miner Gordon (1896) was moderator after his tenure (1867–1882) in Ottawa, and before he became Principal of Queen's University. The General Assembly moderated by Dr. Currie was also held in Ottawa, in Knox, and at Tabaret Hall in the University of Ottawa.

St Andrew's has hosted the Presbyterian General Assembly in 1879 1901, 1910, 1929, 1951, and 1997, and before 1875, the Church of Scotland Synod in 1859 and 1874.

List of Ministers

*John Cruickshank (1829–1843),
*Alexander MacKid (1844–1846),
*William Durie + (1846–1847),
*Alexander Spence (1848–1867),
*Daniel Miner Gordon (1867–1882),
*William T. Herridge (1883–1919),
*G.G.D. Kirkpatrick (1920–1925),
*William Harvey Leathem + (1926–1937),
*Alexander Ferguson + (1938–1942),
*Andrew Ian Burnett (1943–1960),
*Arthur W. Currie (1961–1986),
*James Peter Jones (1987–1997),
*Andrew J. R. Johnston (January 31 1999-).

Associates;
*Arthur M. Pattison (1973-197x),
*Willard Pottinger (1978–1985),
*Brian Weatherdon (198x-1994),
*Gregory Davidson (June 19, 2005-)

+ Died In Pastorate.

External links

* [http://www.standrewsottawa.ca/index.htm Official site]
* [http://guilbault-therien.ntic.qc.ca/andrew.html The church's organ]


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