Compiled by Louise Dearling
The cover of the 2015 annual report shows the 3 small stained glass windows at the front of the church. The centre window with the tree of Jesse, the flowers and pair of hands is a memorial to Douglas Shuman who lived from 1920 to 1986. He served St Paul’s as a Sunday School superintendent and teacher, a Steward and the treasurer. He also counted and recorded the offerings and spent countless hours lovingly tending to the building and grounds of St Paul’s.
As a source of revenue during the latter part of the 19th century, St Paul’s charged rent for the church pews with the most expensive being at the front and the least costly at the back. Perhaps this is why the pews have numbers on them. Can you imagine someone today paying more to sit in one of the front pews?
In 1886 a women’s organization was founded to manage social activities at St Paul’s. Other groups formed over the years until in 1961 (although most references quote 1962), the UCW was formed. This brought all the groups together in the one organization known as the United Church Women and is a vital part of United Churches across Canada.
The UCW often used eating as a source of revenue. Meals were served as fund raisers. Typical costs from past years are:
When the UCW was started in January 1962, there were 135 members, six units (four met in the afternoon and two in the evening), they each held separate monthly meetings and then combined for 4 general meetings each year. By 1970 there were 80 members, three units and two general meetings. Then in 1984 the membership was up to 100 women and four units…
Normally only the women of the church are members of the UCW but around 1984 a poem was written which indicated that here at St Paul’s Ivor Evans was considered a member because of the many ways in which he would help the women. According to the poem, he built cupboards, cut turkey for dinners, entertained waiting diners at the suppers, set up tables, etc. He even acted as Santa Claus at Christmas parties!
In addition to donating funds to help with general expenses, the UCW paid for kitchen renovations, updated kitchen equipment both at the church and the manse. They also cleaned the manse and redecorated various rooms while St Paul’s Place was used as the residence for many ministers and their families. They donated the brass candles and candleholders in memory of Mary Holden in 1973. In 1982 they donated the church sign at the corner of Grand River and Charlotte Streets which was only recently replaced. In 1987 they purchased the candle lighter and snuffer.
In 1982 a service was held at St Paul’s to recognize and honour 100 years of activity by the women of our church. Special recognition was given to Mrs. Walter Williams – the first female custodian, Mrs. Grace Douglas – the first woman elder, Mrs. Margaret Broomfield – the first woman Sunday School superintendent and Mrs. Kay Riddolls – the first woman clerk of session.
St Paul’s church building was erected as the Paris Methodist Church with the cornerstone being laid in 1875. In the early 1920s Paris Plains Methodist Church closed and most of their members joined St Paul’s Methodist Church. As well, the members of Paris Congregationalist Church, located near where Central Elementary School now stands, joined with St Paul’s congregation. Apparently these moves were in anticipation of church union which formed The United Church of Canada. Only some of the Paris Presbyterians changed their church affiliation but the two churches shared summer services for several years. The inaugural service of St Paul’s United Church in Paris was held on June 14, 1925.
This information is taken from Pastor Barb’s church history which she wrote for her doctoral thesis. Mildred Patterson who began attending St Paul’s as a young girl in 1922 and remained faithful to this congregation until her death in 2014, was part of the congregation of Paris Congregational Church which moved across the park to join with St Paul’s Methodist Church (now St Paul’s United Church). She recalled being very happy with her new environment and preferred this new church atmosphere. She believed many other former Congregationalists shared those feelings. She also believed the house located beside the Central School playground (the school is on the site of the former Congregationalist Church) was their manse. The architecture is similar to that of St Paul’s Place, which is our former manse.
In 1926 the Music Committee needed to hire a choir director and organist. They weren’t sure of the wisdom of hiring a “lady” for this position but after much discussion and controversy decided to hire Miss Edith Buckley – on three months’ probation. At the end of that period, Miss Buckley was not notified that she was permanently hired and only found this out when a Committee member called to wish her “the compliments of the season.” She remained in this position for 33 years, retiring in July 1959. The speech given when she was presented with retirement gifts was highly complementary of her musical talents and dedication to the position. During the 33 years she led the choir there were over 150 members and, at least in the 1950s, the membership was over 30.
On Sunday May 3, 1959 at 3PM the dedication and opening of the Christian Education Building was held. The diagram below shows the layout of the original addition to St Paul’s. At the dedication service the United Church moderator, the Right Reverend Angus J. MacQueen, officiated. Participating in the ceremony were Rev. Wm. Kitto, the minister under whose leadership the planning and construction of the addition took place, Rev. Preston Brown, the chair of the Brantford Presbytery, Rev. Stanley Tose, the minister who came in 1958 to serve the charge. Music was provided by Miss Edith Buckley, organist and choir director, who led the junior choir. The guest soloist was Mrs. Earle Rawlings, a former member and soloist of the Senior Choir.
In remembrance of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Europe and to recognize the tuning of the organ and grand piano, the following information was given.
On the right side of the organ are 2 plaques. The first reads “Dedicated to the Glory of God and in loving memory of Miss Florence Sayles.” The second reads “Dedicated to the Glory of God and in loving memory of those who gave their lives in the service of their country in World War I and II.” On the left side the plaque reads “In memoriam Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Cullen Amphon Cathedral Chimes May 3, 1959.”
The plaque on the grand piano reads “Presented to St. Paul’s United Church by Mr. and Mrs. George Arthrell in loving memory of Mr. and Mrs. Morley Showers.”
One of the activity groups at St Paul’s was a tennis club. Annual reports from the 1950s show that it was active at that time. The first mention was in 1952. In the 1955 report, it states there were 17 members. The opening tournament was held May 24. They played regular tournaments against the Presbyterian club. The two clubs joined to play against the Dufferin club in Brantford. The group may have been formed earlier as they erected a new fence on the parsonage (St Paul’s Place) side of the court in 1955. No mention of the club is found in annual reports after the end of this decade.
The first mention of the tennis club was in 1950 when $270 was spent on a court and fencing. Other groups formed or in existence in the 1950s were the Women’s Association, and the Women’s Missionary Society composed of 3 groups – the Burbidge Missionary Auxiliary, and the Afternoon and Evening Auxiliaries. In 1959 there was a Mission Circle which seemed to do some of the work the Pastoral Care Committee does today. For the men the AOTS started up in 1952 and 53. The YPU (Young People’s Union) started in 1952 for ages 13-16, Chi-Y was for those over 16 but too young for the Mr. and Mrs. Club. By 1950 CHI-Y seems to have changed into Hi-C for those 15 and up. CGIT was formed in 1952 and by 1955 Messengers was started for younger girls. In 1958 Tyros was formed as a boy’s group.
Activity groups at St Paul’s in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s: were the same as last week’s list with a few changes. In 1968 Messengers, for girls 6-8, was started while the Sigma C group for boys disbanded. The Young People’s group and Chi-Y became the Youth Group in 1979. By 1984 they were called S.P.Y. or St Paul Youth.
In 1979 the shuffleboard group was formed. An Activity Group which was non-denominational was formed for retired people in the community. They held weekly get togethers St Paul’s and in 1984 there was an average attendance of 45. G.A.B. started in 1975. This was a morning group which offered an outing for mothers of young children. Babysitting was provided which “gave them a break.” During this period Meals on Wheels operated twice a week out of our church.
75 years ago the annual reports were somewhat different from what we have today. They opened with a message from the minister and included reports on the activities of the committees as well as financial reports. However, one huge difference is the last few pages were “Lists of Contributors.” These were lists with names in alphabetical order and beside each name was the total amount each person or couple had contributed to the church during the past year. This was broken down into 3 categories. There was the general fund (where the majority of the money was allocated), second was the Building and Thank offering fund and lastly the M&M (Missionary and Maintenance) fund. Some people donated to only one category. No matter how large or small, every contribution was listed. The lists usually filled 6-7 pages.
Throughout the years, church picnics or Sunday School picnics have been held in various locations. Sometimes everyone went to Pinehurst Park, sometimes everyone went across the street to King’s Ward Park after the church service for a picnic and games. Other years, picnics were held at Five Oaks or in Lions Park. Picnics were also held at Camp Ganadaoweh. In 1983 it was expanded to a Camp Weekend there. After a few years it reverted back to a church picnic on Sunday at Camp Ganadaoweh.
In 1985 St Paul’s started using a guest register. Verna Young was in charge of sending notes to our visitors. These were written on the church’s hasti-notes which had a picture of the church building on the front. She was only able to write to those who included their full address. Every year in the annual report she made a plea that you ask visitors to include their address beside their name. Numbers of visitors were not mentioned but these are the number of notes Verna wrote from 1985 – 1990: 1985 – 79, 1986 – 90, 1987 – 116, 1988 – no total, 1989 – 70, 1990 – 100. *This was the 150th anniversary year and 35 of these visitors attended the home-coming and anniversary weekend
The new band shell in Lion’s Park is named for Walter Williams – Sr. and Jr. Both were active members of St Paul’s. Walter Williams Sr. was both a server and then honorary elder as well as the church officer for many years. Walter Williams Jr. was an elder. In the annual reports from 1950 to 1957 Walter Sr. is listed as the church officer but there is no mention of the position after that. However, in the 1983 photo directory one of the staff photos is that of a church officer. The 1950 budget lists Mr.Williams annual salary as $880. In 1952 it increased to $979.97. It was $1200 by 1957.
Because the Sunday School was so well attended in the 1950s, the staff wanted to have a Worship Centre. The Board gave approval in principle and to help with furnishings it was suggested that individuals or groups might consider making donations of various items. A letter was sent to the congregation listing some of these and their approximate amounts: pulpit ($145), pulpit drape ($35), table ($45), 4 pews ($45 each), brass Bible holder ($30), Bible marker ($6), In the church financial report found in the 1956 annual report an expenditure of $387.50 is listed for chairs for the Sunday School. A dedication of the furnishings was held on January 29, 1956.
In past years St Paul’s has sponsored refugee families. In 1961 the Kanduth family was brought to Paris. In addition to accommodation and financial assistance, church members drove the father, Ernest, to night school in Brantford so he could attend English language classes. Much effort was made to find employment for him locally and in the surrounding area but no mention was made of the outcome of this. In October 1980 St Paul’s sponsored the Luu family from Vietnam. This time the congregation helped them learn English, gave them financial assistance and drove them to school. In 1988, two Iranian refugees were brought to Paris. Azar, the wife, came in February and by July her husband, Nasser, arrived. After a few months in Paris, work was obtained in Brantford, so they moved there in October and were self-sufficient.
Throughout the years the women of St Paul’s under whatever name they functioned, have been very giving of their time, talents and money. The following information gives only a SMALL idea of what they have contributed to the local church and community and beyond. They have raised money by serving lunches, teas and suppers to various local groups within and outside of this church. They have catered banquets and other gatherings. They produce baked goods and crafts to sell at the annual Christmas bazaar. They have crafted items for and given monetary donations to local families in need and contributed to organizations such as Nova Vita, the former Brantwood Children’ Centre, the Ohsweken United Church congregation, Five Oaks, the Leprosy Mission, Ryerson Beach camp, etc. Clothing has been collected, baled and sent to overseas missions. Money has been sent to these places (e.g. Korea) as well. They collect used stamps, soup labels and egg cartons to help with fundraising. When there was a parsonage or manse, the women looked after furnishing it, preparing it for a change of occupancy, redecorating it etc. They also maintain the church kitchen. Duties such as arranging for flowers in the sanctuary each Sunday and remembering families where there was a birth, wedding or death were looked after by the women until other committees took over such tasks. And in this 175th anniversary year they are making a donation of $1750 to the anniversary committee. WAY TO GO, United Church Women!
The brass cross and vases at the front of the church were donated in memory of the parents of Mrs Dorothy Stafford. In 1955 six brass offering plates were donated by Doris and Bernice Wilson in memory of their parents. A lid belonging to the silver communion set which was used for many years bears this inscription: “a gift of Miss Maude Brown for many years a faithful member of St Paul’s United Church.” The memorial book case located by the south door at the front of the sanctuary is placed in memory of Frederick J. Parsons. (One of the old hymn books on the display table belonged to him.) The wine-coloured anthem folders used by the choir were donated in memory of Doris Arthrell – a member for almost 40 years.
The large Bible on the lectern is given “With love and appreciation of our shared ministry 1983-1992. Love and peace, Mark, Pattie, Andrew, James and Stephen Aitchison.
There are old hymn books on the 175th anniversary table which were used at St Paul’s throughout the years. One of what appears to be amongst the oldest books is Alexander’s Gospel Songs (undated). The Methodist Hymn Book was published in 1917. The official hymn book of The United Church of Canada is the black (some call it dark blue) book published in 1930. It was used for many years and then in an attempt to update it, the red book entitled The Hymn Book was published in 1971. It was intended for use in both United and Anglican Churches. Many of the hymns were not overly popular, so in 1996 a new red hymn book Voices United was published. Most of the volumes in use at St Paul’s have been donated by various members in memory of their loved ones. In 2007 More Voices United was published. The choir have copies of this book and when a selection is used as a hymn during a service, the words are printed in the bulletin/on the power point with permission in accordance with our license from Christian Copyright Licensing International.
During St Paul’s 175 year history a total of 63 ministers have served this church. The first was Rev. Edwin Clement who served from 1850 -1853. During the first 100 years, many of the ministers were here for only 2-3 years. The longest serving minister was Rev. Robert Stokes who was at St Paul’s from 1968 – 1982. Of these 63 ministers some were assistants. Whether they served in a full or part-time capacity is not always known. Listed as one of our ministers is Blair Russell who helped out when we were between ordained ministers. Another, Rev. Margaret Bain, came here for a 2-year interim ministry period while the congregation prepared for a change of ministry. Today’s guest speaker is Rev. Randy Covey who served part time as an assistant while completing his studies for the ministry. Rev. Barbara Fullerton is now in her fifth year with us. If you look on the south wall of the narthex you will find the names of all 63 ministers – some with photos which you may recognize.
Some interesting charitable donations made by various groups during the 1950s are: The Women’s Association made a donation to the Sunday School teachers’ toy fund and supplied the material for the Sunday School pageant costumes. They also donated to the Welland Upper Canada Religious Tract and Bible Society. The Sunday School made a donation to the Welland Canal mission. The Mission Band made a donation to cover the cost of postage to send a bale of clothing overseas. The Women’s Association sent milk tickets to a needy family. In different years the Explorers sent $1 to Toronto to buy milk for a needy child for one month, sent one dozen erasers to assist with V.B.S. (Vacation Bible School) work out West and gave white flannelette for the Lepers. The Sunbeam Mission Band sent 40 lb. of used nylon stockings to Korea. Another year they filled and sent ditty bags to the Halifax Mission. The CGIT purchased material to make Christmas stockings which they filled with candy, fruit and a gift. Then they delivered them to church friends who were in hospital or shut-ins.