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Emmanuel United Church


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Located at 1728 Lincoln Road, Emmanuel United Church was the First Church in Canada opened as a “United Church”.

From the Border Cities Star, October 25, 1924:

This is a conception of how the new South Lincoln Road Methodist Church will look when it is completed on the east side of Lincoln road between Seneca street and Tecumseh road, Walkerville. Plans call for the construction of an auditorium and Sunday School building which will be used as a church until such time as the new edifice is built. To be included in the structure is a fully equipped kitchen and serving room for social functions. The church is being erected by the congregation of the Ottawa Street Methodist church, the pastor of which is Rev. George Kersey, formerly of Tilbury.

…The interior design is a modern adoption of the English Romanesque period and will be executed in pressed brick and stone. The auditorium is to be unobstructed by any columns as the roof will be carried by steel trusses.

John E. Trace and Geo. F. Diehl, LaBelle Bldg., are the architects.

From the Border Cities Star, June 4, 1925:

The Ottawa United Church is the latest addition to churches in the Border Cities, and it will be the first to begin its career under the United Church of Canada which comes into official being on Wednesday. The building has many of the latest features in church and Sunday School design. Rev. George Kersey, who took over the pastorate last year, had led the congregation in its efforts to erect the new edifice.

On the site today is the Emmanuel United Church, and while the shape of the northern most part of church is the same basic shape, the front didn’t match. It looked more in line with the mid 1950’s additions than to the 1925 original Trace & Diehl building. So time for a little detective work…

… In this case detective work required driving down the alley to the rear, where the building remained unaltered. Compared to the photo above, this is clearly the original building.

From the Church’s website, a brief history:

EMMANUEL UNITED CHURCH is a congregation of the larger church, the United Church of Canada. We began as a small mission church on Ottawa Street in 1920. During this time we were known as “Ottawa Street Methodist Church”.

A new church was built soon after, at the present site in 1925. At that time the church was comprised of what is now called Ottawa Hall. This new church was called “Ottawa United Church”, coming into being concurrently with the formation of the United Church of Canada. The United Church was at that time comprised of the Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational Churches.

Over the years, the congregation continued to grow, and by the early 1950’s a larger sanctuary was needed. In 1956, our warm and inspiring sanctuary was erected and dedicated to the glory of God. Adjoining the sanctuary is a small, intimate chapel that is used regularly for private prayer and worship. To mark this new beginning, the name of our Church was officially changed to that of EMMANUEL UNITED CHURCH.

By a lucky fluke, this building was the first United Church building in Canada.

From the Border Cities Star, June 4, 1925:

NEW CHURCH OPEN JUNE 10

On Wednesday, June 10, the day that Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational Union becomes effective a new church of the Union will be opened on Lincoln Road in Walkerville. The Ottawa United Church, believed to be the only edifice in Canada to celebrate its opening on the official birthday of the union, will be formally dedicated Wednesday evening.

Another little known tidbit of Windsor’s past.
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