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The Lifetime of a Church Receive US

St. Andrews United Church Westmount, Quebec 

The evening St. Andrews United Church, Westmount was razed by fireplace in 1965, I used to be 13. The entire sanctuary gone. Stained glass home windows, memorials to many, melted, the organ burned and the small tower toppled. Charred purple bricks littered Staunton Avenue. Solely the tall tower and partitions remained of the 57-year-old church.

Montreal Star Aug 4, 1965

This devastating fireplace occurred, although the church sat simply throughout the road from the Westmount fireplace station. The caretaker lived at the back of the constructing and when he smelled smoke within the afternoon, he went throughout the road to the fireplace station. The firemen regarded via the entire church with out discovering something amiss. They closed the fireplace doorways to the Sunday College and left. Round midnight the church was engulfed in flames and all of the firemen within the metropolis couldn’t save the constructing. It was decided that the fireplace began within the basement below the sanctuary and hidden there, smouldered for hours. The minister, Reverend D.M. Grant holidaying in Nova Scotia was woke up with a telegram saying his church was burning.

My household was not among the early Westmount Presbyterians who worshiped within the Mission College from 1869 till 1886. They weren’t even members when a small body church, Melville Presbyterian, was constructed on the nook of Cote St Antoine and Stanton St.

In line with the booklets written for the Church’s golden and diamond Jubilees, St Andrew’s Church in Westmount was formally based in 1900. “A distinction of opinion prompted the division of the members. One group retained the identify of Melville Presbyterian Church and moved to Melville Ave the place they constructed a brand new church. The opposite group, retained the current church website and have become St Andrew’s Church.” Within the newspapers of the day I discovered the rationale for the break up, alcohol consumption! When Rev. T. W. Winfield was employed, “a promise was extracted from the Reverend gentleman that he would chorus from intoxicating liquors whereas pastor of Melville Church.” Some members accused him of breaking that promise. The minority moved with the Minister and took the Melville identify whereas the bulk stayed within the constructing and selected the brand new identify St Andrews Presbyterian. 

This congregation continued to develop, so in 1908 the purple brick church was constructed. The big sanctuary, surrounded on three sides with balconies held 1100 worshipers. There was a rose window over the entrance doorways and lots of different stained glass home windows on the facet partitions. It was one of many Presbyterian church buildings that united with the Methodists and the Congregationalists in 1925 and have become St. Andrews United Church.

The Lifetime of a Church Receive US Obtain US
St Andrew’s Church 1908-1965

I spent many hours in St Andrews Church rising up, as did my father. My grandparents joined the church once they moved from Chomedy Avenue to Grosvenor Ave in 1912. My grandfather, William Sutherland was a church elder and later so have been each my dad and mom. My grandmother Minnie Eagle Sutherland was very concerned in church life being president of the Ladies’s Missionary Society and the Ladies’s Christian Temperance Union. My mom taught Sunday College and was the pinnacle of the Major division for a few years.

The Lifetime of a Church Receive US Obtain US
Church Inside photograph by Alfred Peter Jorbes

We went to Church and Sunday College each week and received prizes for attendance. It was a church of many staircases. The corridor behind the church had three units and earlier than and after church kids would run round, up and down the steps and thru the halls. A again staircase off the kindergarten room led right down to the basement. It was darkish and gloomy and we’d solely enterprise down just a few stairs earlier than working some place else.

I keep in mind Christmas pageants with Roman troopers in costumes, clanking down the aisle with swords, helmets and leather-based skirts. I so admired the angels of their mild blue satin attire with wings that I wanted I might be one. I used to be promised I might be an angel the following time they’d a pageant however earlier than that occurred, the church burned together with all of the costumes saved within the basement.

After the fireplace, the Church was rebuilt though with some controversy and one other break up. A number of the congregation left as a result of they thought the million-dollar insurance coverage cash ought to be put to raised use than having three underused United Church buildings in Westmount. They have been out-voted and the brand new trendy church opened in October 1967. It solely held 500 individuals.

The Lifetime of a Church Receive US Obtain US
The rebuilt Church 1967

The congregation continued to age, fewer younger households joined and other people comparable to myself attended irregularly. St Andrews and Dominion Douglas United, amalgamated in 1985. The committee mentioned which church to maintain. Dominion Douglas, an outdated stone church on The Boulevard turned the brand new dwelling with the St Andrew’s congregation transferring up the hill. Selwyn Home College, throughout the road, purchased St. Andrews. for his or her growth. The chapel, together with stain glass home windows was deconstructed and rebuilt within the Dominion Douglas basement. In 2004 Erskine American United Church, on Sherbrooke Avenue joined St. Andrews-Dominion Douglas and one other identify was wanted. The congregation turned Mountainside United Church.

In lower than twenty years Mountainside United Church turned inconceivable to keep up and warmth with a diminishing congregation. That constructing was offered to a developer and the congregation moved to the Birks Chapel on the McGill Campus. I’ve not attended a service there.


Church Fireplace: The Montreal Star; Aug 4, 1965 web page 3. Downloaded from Dec 29, 2022.

Westmount Mayor Praises Firemen: Montreal Star; August 10, 1965 web page 6. Accessed from Newspapers.comDecember 29, 2022

Rising from its Ashes: Montreal Star; June 3, 1967 web page 58 Accessed from December 29, 2022.

Melville Church Issue: Montreal Gazette; 28, March 1900 web page 10. Accesses from January 25, 2023.

Date of Separation: Montreal Star; 12 Could 1900 web page 10. Accessed from January 26, 2023.

Melville Presbyterian Church:

St Andrew,s Church Golden Jubilee Celebration Bulletin November fifth to twelfth 1950. IN the palms of the creator.

Our Heritage St Andrew’s Church Diamond Jubilee 1900-1960 booklet. Within the palms of the creator.


The again annex which housed the Sunday faculty was saved by the fireplace doorways. Books and papers recovered from the Sunday faculty have been saved in our basement for a time however they continued to scent of smoke and have been later discarded. The manse subsequent door was additionally saved however torn down for the brand new church. 

After the church fireplace could native church buildings and synagogues supplied the congregation house to worship together with Melville Presbyterian Church. I went to affirmation courses at Melville however we had Sunday providers within the auditorium of Westmount Excessive College.

Melville Presbyterian Church was constructed on Elgin Avenue later modified to Melville Avenue, going through Westmount Park. It’s now Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church. After the founding of the United Church in 1925, Melville Presbyterian Church amalgamated with Westmount Methodist to type Westmount Park-Melville United Church. The mixed congregation worshipped within the Melville Church constructing for 2 years, till it was offered [back] to former members who remained with the Presbyterian Church. Victoria Corridor served as a brief website whereas the brand new Westmount Park-Melville Church, which is now referred to as the Westmount Park United Church was constructed on the western fringe of Westmount Park.

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