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Historical Sketch


1876 John McCalla, a member of Knox Presbyterian Church erected at his own expense of $1,000.00 a wooden building on Haynes Avenue, on farmland donated by Mr. D.C. Haynes. Haynes Avenue Presbyterian was built on the west side of Haynes Ave., in the area of Seneca St. The population of St. Catharines at the time was 11,000 people. It is a tribute to Mr. McCalla's faith in the future of this city and of the east end area that he built a church, confident that the years ahead would provide the people to occupy it and support it. The congregation numbered 29 at the start. This church served for 21 years, then under the leadership of Rev. W.H. Geddes another step forward was taken in the erection of a brick building on the comer of Queenston St. and Oakdale Avenue. The cornerstone was laid by Mrs. Mary McCalla on Aug.6,1895 and here the congregation worshipped for 20 years.

1922   The name of the church was changed from Haynes Avenue to Westminster Presbyterian Church.


1925   The church became part of the United Church of Canada. The need for further expansion was apparent if the needs of the ever increasing congregation were to be met.


1927  Today our beautiful Westminster Church stands as a monument to the vision and foresight of Rev. Alfred A.Thomson, under whose direction this church was built and dedicated Oct. 27,1927. During the depression the Church faced a time of anxiety and distress. In these trying years Westminster was encouraged by the spirit of Christian fellowship and understanding revealed by the churches of Niagara Presbytery. With the perseverance of a committed and faithful congregation this Church slowly moved forward.


1947   Rev. Elmer Ashley began his ministry in Westminster.


1951   The Church had a membership of approximately 750, and a Sunday School of more than 400, and many organizations serving the interests of a growing community.


1953   A long standing mortgage was liquidated.


1954   A sod turning ceremony was held for the construction of a large hall, a new kitchen and boiler room at a cost of $84,450.00.


1955  The new and remodeled Church hall facilities were opened and dedicated.


1967  The Rogers Organ was installed and dedicated.


1970   Additional parking space was purchased. We are reaping the fruits of foresight by those who built our church on a spacious lot. The new property is our investment in the future and its possible assets and requirements.


1971   The Rodgers Organ debt liquidated. Remodeling and refurnishing Church Parlor.


1972   Ordination of Donald H. Maclean.


1975   Developed new parking area. Work continued at a high level in preparation for our Centennial.


1976   A new sanctuary piano made possible largely by a gift from Mrs. Jean Noble of Edmonton, in memory of her husband and augmented by a contribution from the Emma Petrie Fund.


Installation of three new stained glass windows. The Centennial window made possible by a fund initiated by Miss Ellen McPherson and her Sunday School class quite awhile ago and added to through the years by the gifts of many individuals in memory of loved ones.  A second window donated by Phyllis and Murray Corbin in memory of Mr. And Mrs. Walter Eckford; by the Fishleigh family in memory of Mrs. Dorothea Fishleigh and by Mr. Fred Barley, in memory of Marion Barley.  The third window was given in memory of Mrs. Clara McKay, by her daughters Joan and Helen.


1977  Rev. Gordon Geiger begins his ministry at Westminster. The Manse was renovated and modernized. The Vestry was built.


1979   A new gym floor and a new stove. First edition of Chimes was printed in November.


1980   Church roof repaired and stacking chairs bought.


1981   Church exterior given a facelift and restoration.  This project was completed in 1983


1982   David Chotka received as a candidate for the ministry.


1983   Two trees in front of the church removed and replaced by the Japanese Flowering Cherry trees.


1987   Rev. Norman Hair begins his ministry at Westminster. The Manse received a facelift and a new roof. A new heating system installed in the church.


1988   Window storm glazing begun and completed in the following year.


1989   Manse sold.


1990   New roof over kitchen and boiler area.  New phone system installed. Painting and rejuvenation of the Sanctuary. Constructed a fireproof room for the Church Archives.


1991   Won Trillium Award for flower beds, presented by the City of St. Catharines.

Coffee hour was started.

New sound system installed.


1992   New gym roof. Thirteen windows removed from south side of gym and wall remodeled.  Dedicated window in memory of Lawrence Jane, donated by Mrs. Ruth Jane; Ben Southam, donated by the Southam family; Richard Wyatt, donated by the Wyatt family and friends.


1994   Established two new evergreen planting beds.


1995   Rev. Stephen Shantz begins his ministry in Westminster.


1998   Jude Kudera is appointed as organist/choir director.


2000   An accessible washroom built.  Infant nursery redecorated and furnished.  Ground breaking ceremony was held September 27 for the installation of the Otis elevator.


2001 Our 125th Anniversary.  Dedication of elevator February 18. Westminster is now fully accessible!


2004  Rev. Ron Pocklington - interim minister


2005  Rev. Debbie Shanks begins her ministry in Westminster

2015 Rev. Elliston Bridger begins is appointed as Westminster's minister

2020  Rev. Dr. Paul Miller is officially appointed as Westminster's minister

2022  Air Conditioning system installed in the Friendship Chapel - donated by Henry VanBreeda in honour of his late father, Joe VanBreeda.

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