Aurora United Church bulletin – September 27, 1969

Today the choir wear their new gowns, made of Gardalene and the colour of turquoise. We rejoice with them in their adornment. God has splashed His world with brilliant dyes and flaming hues. Why should we not be as lavish with beauty in the Sanctuary? “All things bright and beautiful” include Choir gowns. St. Paul talked plainly to Christians: “Don’t get your stimulus from wine. Let the Spirit stimulate your souls. Express your joy in singing hymns, making music in your hearts for the ears of God” Ephesians 5:18-19 …..Music belongs to everyone. It is timeless. ….Let us pledge ourselves this day, to sing with feeling and enthusiasm, the great hymns of the Church.    

Aurora United Church bulletin, Sunday October 19th, 1947

At its recent meeting the Official Board was given the good news that a sound amplification system was being given to the church by Mr. Fred Cousins. This gift will mean that we will be able to amplify the Chimes music from the tower Sunday by Sunday and also to transmit beautiful Carillonic Bells from the Recorder through the towers,…..This gift is given in remembrance to those of our church who Served in the Armed Services.

From a plaque formerly on the sanctuary wall

The Tower Music System is dedicated to the glory of God and in grateful recognition of the sacrifice and service of the men and women who served in the Armed Forces by Fred Cousins and family.  A.D. 1948  


News about Aurora United Church, Nov. 2011-Jan 2012 On Saturday the 22nd of October 2011,
5 youths from our Venturer Company (David Armstrong, Austin Bushell, Keegan Comar, Michael Nash and Sam Sweeney) received the highest award for youth in Scouting, The Queens Venturer Award. 

From 2007 Annual Report  M&P hired Carmen Harany as Church Treasurer in mid October.

The Tablet

Aurora United Church Newsletter, October 2002 Jane Caspi has been ‘taking care’ of our church for 12 years and we would like to take one more opportunity to express our sincere thanks f or all the love that has accompanied the hard work over that time.  

 The Aurora Banner, Sept 14, 1877  


The Ladies’ Aid Society of the Congregation of the Methodist Church intend giving a grand Entertainment in the Drill Shed on the afternoon and evening of Tuesday and Wednesday next, Sept. 18th and 19th commencing at 2 o’clock each day, consisting of a Bazaar and Fruit Festival. Peaches, ice cream, and other delicacies of the season will be furnished. The Band of the 19th York Rangers has kindly consented to be present. During the afternoon of each day there will be an opportunity to engage in various amusements on the grounds adjoining the Drill Shed. Admittance to the grounds free; to the Drill Shed for the day and evening, 10 cents; 20 cents. Proceeds to be applied to the new church. It is to be hoped that the public will largely patronize the entertainment, as there is no doubt but that the Ladies will do all in their power to satisfy their guests.  


Aurora United Church bulletin, Sunday September 15, 1957     

A dedication service for the Narthex and Church School Rooms (under the Narthex) was held. Minister; Rev. J.F.G. Morris,  Organist; Illtyd Harris  

From the 1977 Annual Report

There were two major changes in terms of staffing during 1977. Rev. John E. Hunter retired and Rev. John W. Houston became our new minister on September 1, 1977. Herman Van de Beek retired also and Mr. Ken Smith is our new custodian and is doing an excellent job. 1977 saw the arrival of the furniture for the Founders’ Room. On September 7, 1977 the Official Opening and Dedication of the Founders’ Room was held.  

From the Aurora United Church Archives August 18, 1930

Memo of Agreement between Cassavant Brothers Ltd. of St. Hyacinthe, Quebec (Seller) and the United Church of Aurora (Purchaser). The seller agrees to construct for and sell to the Purchaser a Pipe Organ …to deliver said pipe organ, to install it under the supervision of skilled employees of the Seller …and to complete such installation on or about Christmas 1930 for the sum of $6, 210.00      

Bulletin - Sunday August 30, 1981

Final Joint Service of Aurora United Church and St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church ~ held at St.   Andrew’s ~ At this final Joint Service for the Summer of 1981, the members of both congregations welcome our visitors, including those who are in Aurora for the Church Street School Reunion. This morning’s Service was arranged by the Aurora Public School Reunion Committee in cooperation with the Aurora and District Ministerial Association: Chairman, the Rev. John Houston.          

The Aurora Banner, August 17, 1877

Last Monday afternoon an accident occurred to the men engaged in taking down the old Methodist Church here, by the breaking of one of the beams. One of the men, Mr. Mahers, was injured so that he has been unable to work. He is, however fast recovering.

Note: Anniversary Anecdotes will take a break for the rest of the summer and resume on September 9.  

The Aurora Banner, July 13, 1877

The Annual Picnic of the Methodist Church Sabbath School was held last Saturday. Owing to the rain which fell in the morning, Mr. Hartman’s Grove had to be abandoned for the Drill Shed and Park. A large number of children were present and, judging from the heartiness with which they engaged in various amusements, must have enjoyed themselves amazingly. Quite a number of the parents  and friends of the children were present.                      

The Aurora Banner, July 13, 1877

The Rev.s  Messrs. Gee and Madden, the new Ministers of the Canada Methodist church, preached their introductory sermons last Sunday. Both gentlemen are well received by the members of the congregation of this church.  

Tidings, Aurora United Church Newsletter,  June 2004

Mark Ruhnke, newly appointed Faith and the Arts Coordinator is organizing a “Faith Alive Arts Project” a week long summer school/camp event from July 19th to 23rd.    

The Aurora Banner, Friday July 16, 1943

Lightning Strikes the Aurora United Church Steeple The old adage that lightning never strikes twice in the same place does not hold good as far as the United Church is concerned as the steeple on the church was struck for the third time during the storm late Monday afternoon. It is thought the lightning struck the metal weather vane and set fire to the inside of the steeple as no damage was done to the outside. The fire brigade had a difficult time in extinguishing the blaze. The interior of the south tower was damaged by water. (Note: Shortly afterwards both steeples were removed.)    

July 6, 1900~ The Aurora Banner

A farewell and reception was given to Rev. G. W. Dewey who has been pastor of the Methodist church here for the past three years and who is leaving for Toronto, and his successor, Rev. E. Pearson, in the Methodist church here Tuesday evening. Refreshments were served early in the evening after which an address was read to Rev. G. W. Dewey and a purse containing a handsome sum of money was presented. Mr. Dewey replied to the address in a suitable and feeling manner on behalf of  himself and wife. Rev. Mr. Pearson then delivered an address saying  that he felt sure if the present reception was any indication of the cordial manner in which the congregation of the church would aid and assist him in the future in his work, his pastorate would be crowned with success. There was a large attendance and the best of feeling prevailed throughout the entire proceeding.  

June 13, 1703

The birth date of John Wesley, founder of Methodism who advocated renewed study of the bible, participation in Holy Communion and a strong commitment of service to others. The Aurora Banner,

June 22, 1900 

The Methodist Church Conference which has been in session during the past week closed Tuesday night. ….Reverend Edmund A. Pearson who has been pastor of the Davisville Methodist church for the past three years will be pastor of the church here. Rev. G. W. Dewey who has been pastor of the church here for the past three years will have charge of Agnes Street Methodist church Toronto.  

On June 10, 1925

the United Church of Canada was inaugurated. It was composed of the Methodist Church, Canada, the Congregational Union of Canada, and 70 per cent of the Presbyterian Church of Canada. It was the first union of churches in the world to cross historical denominational lines and received international acclaim. Each of the founding churches had a long history in Canada prior to 1925.

Although the entirety of the Methodist and Congregationalist Churches adopted the new union, the Presbyterian Church allowed each congregation to vote for or against union. The majority of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church members in Aurora voted to remain separate. Aurora Methodist Church at Yonge & Tyler became Aurora United Church.

From the 1970 Annual Report

On June 24, 1970 the Official Board directed the Trustees to sell the Manse at 39 Catherine Ave. also the house and lot at 12 Tyler St…..The Manse including rugs, floor covering, curtains and drapes etc. was sold to Mr. & Mrs. Roy Webster on July 1, 1971. Sale price $28,000. The Tyler Street property was sold to Mr. & Mrs. James King and they received title to same on July 6, 1971. Sale price $12,000. The balance of the furnishings from the Manse were sold and the Trustees received $747.05 for same.

From the 1993 Annual Report   

June 6,1993 – The UCW and Christian Education Committee took on the responsibility of our “Church Picnic”. A parade from the church led by piper Ken Graham to the Town Park got our day off to a fine start.  

The Tablet, AUC Newsletter, June 2003

Sunday May 4th (2003) was Aubrey Foy’s last day as our Music Director, and we celebrated his contribution to the life of our church with presentations during, and after, the service.    

The Tablet, AUC Newsletter, June 2008 

On May 30, 2008, the St. Paul’s (United Church, Oak Ridges) building was sold to Grace and Truth Christian Assembly. The Business Plan that was approved by the AUC congregation and Living Waters Presbytery assigned 10% of the net proceeds to different Outreach organizations. The remaining 90% was assigned to the Sanctuary Redevelopment Fund at AUC.


May 24, 1850 – The title of the Methodist Church in Canada changed from Methodist Episcopal Church to Wesleyan Methodist Church of Canada. A portion of the Yonge Street congregation who did not agree with this change erected their own building at the corner of Mosley and Wells Streets as the Methodist Episcopal Church of Aurora. In 1884 all branches of the Methodist Church amalgamated. At that time the former Methodist Episcopal congregation sold their building to the Masons.  

May 25, 1975 -  A BUILDING AND RENOVATIONS COMMITTEE was formed…..Their task: To build a Christian Education Centre, to renovate the Ladies’ Parlour and to renovate the 3 year-old nursery. December 7, was OPENING AND DEDICATION of the new building.  

 The Aurora Banner May 26, 1893 

 May 23; The storm hit the town at the southwest raging through the driving park, taking judges stand, the barn and most of the fence with it. R.J. Kennedy’s barn roof was carried more than 40 rods across the fields and the second storey disappeared from George Knowles’ new brick house on Kennedy Street as did the roofs from Quigleys and Cain’s homes. Frame buildings between Temperance and Yonge Streets were levelled and then the full fury struck the Methodist Church carrying away the fine steeple and part of the south tower into the street. Tons of brick and mortar were driven through the roof and into the east gallery. The chimneys on the western end of the church were blown down and the western gable as well as the entire roof badly damaged. Every window on the south and east side of the fine structure were demolished. Mr. James Reynolds who was driving up the street was caught by the storm just in front of the church and along with his horse and rig was carried across the street and thrown against the side of the road.

The Aurora Banner, August 25, 1893 

The spire or whatever it may be termed on the Methodist church is completed and is now being painted. Our conception may not be very good; but whether it is or not, we certainly, with many more of our citizens, are not very highly impressed by the beauty of the new spire. However if it suits the members of that church we can stand it.    


We organized the celebration of the burning of the mortgage on the weekend of April 20/21 (1990), a remarkable feat that was only possible because of the commitment of the whole congregation….We agreed to worship at 10:30 each Sunday. Anne Gowans-Blinn is our new minister.   From the 1990 Annual Report

On Sunday March 31st, 1946, forty-four new members of the church were received by Profession of Faith and thirty-six members were received by Transfer and Re-Affirmation (including Mr.& Mrs. R.J. Moddle).    Aurora United Church bulletin, Sunday April 7th, 1946  
From the Aurora Banner March 30, 1925


On Monday evening the AHS (Aurora High School) five played the Two-In-One club of the Methodist Church……and gave them a sound drubbing to the tune of 41-7. The Methodist boys tried hard all the way and the score does not completely indicate the play. April 10, 1925

On Tuesday evening the Two-In-One Athletic Club of the Methodist Sunday School closed their season’s activities with a banquet in the church parlors. About sixty young men thoroughly enjoyed the evening. During the winter this class has met each week in the High School gym and given physical training. A basketball team was also organized.   

From the Aurora Banner, April 20, 1877  

The Trustees of the Canada Methodist Church, Yonge Street,- which was partially destroyed by fire, - have decided to take no steps towards building a new church until it is ascertained what is likely to be the prospect of the crops this summer.

If the prospect is favorable we understand it is there (sic) intention to build a new Church. It is to be hoped that the Trustees will see their way clear to build, as the present building is too small to accommodate the congregation comfortably, and it would be almost like throwing money away to repair it.

The site is a very prominent one and a large and beautiful church would not only add vastly to the appearance of the village, but be more in keeping with the wealth and respectability of the congregation.

It would be well if steps were taken by this Society with a view of having the remains in their grave-yard removed. It has now been some time since the Trustees forbid any more interments and the sooner the remains now interred are removed the better for all parties.  



Jim Coyle, Toronto Star, April 2014

The brick façade of burnt-out Aurora United Church which has stood solidly for almost 140 years, stood instead like an eerie taunt Saturday morning. Out back firefighters still poured water on the ruins, now roofless. That’s the bad news. Here’s the good.  Astonishingly, just a block or two away, less than 24 hours after the fire broke out, the “Rise and Shine” breakfast program that’s been running for four years every Saturday morning at Aurora United was underway at Trinity Anglican Church.  

From a letter to the editor, The Auroran April 17, 2014 

My boys’ last day of YMCA preschool will be remembered by all!.... their teacher said the men working on the roof banged on the door to the gym and said the roof was on fire. Then the alarm went off. Everyone was immediately and safely evacuated. The children were amazingly brave and obedient. They have practiced fire drills at the YMCA. They scurried to TC’s Burgers and waited for their pick up. Most of the kids were more concerned that they didn’t get to eat their snack before getting evacuated…….. (the teachers) were my heroes today.  

Zoe McKnight, Staff Reporter, Toronto Star, April 21, 2014

The resurrection theme that carries all Easter services was especially poignant Sunday for the Aurora United Church congregation. Just 10 days ago they watched as their beloved church burned. But even with borrowed bells ringing in a makeshift sanctuary, the message of hope at a time of trial and loss filled the auditorium of Aurora High School.  


One memorable year, after a teen group sleepover, on Easter Sunday, Wes and Mary Cragg led an early morning hike to the water tower high up on Orchard Heights Blvd., where we watched the sun come up over Aurora. At the precise moment that we concluded a prayer, the sun broke through the clouds, and Wes proclaimed “The Lord has risen!” It was a  pretty awesome moment! 
Bruce Williamson, Telling Our Story  


Mac McRoberts Serves AUC for Nearly 40 Years

Next time you see Mac McRoberts give him a warm ‘thank you’ for nearly forty years’ service as a Trustee of our church. Recently Mac has stepped down from his role as Chair of the Trustees…Apparently when Mac and Nora were married and moved to Aurora nearly fifty years ago, Mac fell under the influence of Nora’s father, a trustee himself at the time. In 1968 he joined the Board of Trustees and remembers that in those days the Board included Bill Devins and Hugh Cousins. The chair in 1968 was Arnold Miller.  Tidings, February/March 2006                 

Anniversary services in connection with the Methodist Sunday School were held last Sunday. Reverend E. A. Pearson, pastor of the Davisville Methodist church delivered a stirring address in the morning on the duty of obedience to parents, to the members of the Sunday school who were assembled in the central part of the auditorium of the church. He also conducted the service in the evening and preached an eloquent and forceful sermon. 
Aurora Banner, March 16, 1900   March 15, 1977  

Dear Friends, With deep regret I have decided to resign as the minister of this Church, and to retire from the active ministry. This decision has not been made casually, nor without long hours of heart searching and much prayer……….Let me close with an expression of thanksgiving to God. His leading brought us together. We have had eight great years with never a quarrel, never a dissension but only the blessings of exciting adventures, fine achievements and growing faith. We share an abundant satisfaction in the service of our Lord. Nothing has been accomplished by any single one of us, but by all of us in concert, from the youngest to the eldest. Unprepared as you may feel to accept new leadership and uncertain as Lillian and I feel to enter retirement let us fervently believe the scriptural promise: “I go before you with many blessings”.  In Christian love, John Hunter

Herman Van de Beek has been our genial and efficient Caretaker for over seventeen years. He has informed the Board that “I wish to retire from the Church work on June 30th”. His resignation was accepted with reluctance and appreciation. No one could be more faithful to his task. He carries a song in his heart, a smile on his face and a kind word to young and old alike. We thank him for being our “door-keeper in the House of the Lord”.  


March 17, 1946 ~ Probably the most outstanding accomplishment of the year 1946 was the renovating of our Church Auditorium and of the Sunday School room. Great praise is due the Building Committee under the leadership of Dr. Urquhart for the splendid manner in which they carried out their task….On March 17th the “new” auditorium was re-opened and in the evening a former minister Rev. A.E. Black was the guest preacher. It was during his time of service that a new organ was installed, the choir loft changed, and new seats placed in the auditorium.
From the 1946 Annual Report  

On March 17th the “new” auditorium was re-opened and in the evening a former minister Rev. A.E. Black was the guest preacher. It was during his time of service that a new organ was installed, the choir loft changed, and new seats placed in the auditorium. From the 1946 Annual Report   March 1891 ~ The Methodist people here have entered into a contract with Mr. Phillips to light their church with electric lights. The number of electric lights being required being 14, three are arc lights and 11 incandescent.  Aurora Banner, March 1966 (75 Years Ago)  

RE-DEDICATION OF CHURCH CEREMONY  (after major renovations to the sanctuary)

YESTERDAY:  Remember the dark green chipped walls in our church entrance and gallery? The high bleak gallery towers that stole the heat? The blackish plaster on the ceiling of the nave? The great cracks and chunks out of the walls and under the galleries? The gas pipes along the walls? The poor lighting in entrance etc.?

TODAY: A new, modern, insulated, and safe ceiling, and ceiling under the galleries – A correct and warm painting scheme throughout – raised gallery pews with new floor, new ceiling and new lights – safe secure and plumbed galleries.

TOMORROW: New cathedral glass windows – railings for the stairway – new gallery floor and changes in gallery seats. THE COST: Remodelling, reconstruction etc. $6,700.  We have on hand for this purpose $4,800.  We need $1,900. Building Fund Envelopes are in the Church pews.
Aurora United Church bulletin, Sunday March 17th, 1946  


This, the third year of the Out of the Cold program was the most successful, both in terms of homeless people we were able to help and the level of support we received from our community.

We began the program on February 1st and it ran on eight consecutive Saturday nights until March 22, 2003. As a result of the bitterly cold winter, we reached or exceeded our bed capacity of twenty, every night and it was with great regret that we had to turn some away.

However, alternative arrangements were always suggested and transportation provided to those affected. It seems very unlikely that we will be able to run an Out of the Cold program in the upcoming winter season. Withdrawal of funding from the City of Toronto for essential services & lack of alternative funding by York Region is the reason.   Joan Coyne, Aurora United Church Annual Report 2002/2003   

On February 22nd at the Intergenerational Service, the United Church of Canada Award of Distinction was presented to Bill Newman. This award recognizes his work with the 3rd Aurora Scouts for the past thirteen years.  The Tidings, March 2004  

Janine Maxwell and David Kariuki will be speaking at both services on February 15th. You won’t want to miss hearing Janine talk about her work in Africa and what our church has been able to accomplish in Swaziland. Tidings, February-March 2009  

In a deed dated February 21, 1818 and witnessed by Peter Tyler and C.W. Willcocks, William Tyler conveyed, for the nominal sum of five shillings, one acre of his Lot 80 in King (at the corner of Tyler and Yonge Streets) to four trustees, “for the erection of a house of public worship, for the use of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the Province of Upper Canada”. A small log building was erected and church records indicate that in February 1818, the Rev. David Culp preached at the opening service of this first Methodist Church in Whitchurch, as Aurora was then called.  

150th Anniversary of the Founding and Dedication of Aurora United Church (booklet)

The Rt. Rev. Dr. W.C. Lockhart, Moderator, The United Church of Canada spoke at the 150th Anniversary Service.

Aurora United Church Bulletin, Sunday February 25th 1968 ~ February 21, 1993 was the day of our 175TH Anniversary service, a significant day considering that it was February 21, 1818, that Rev. David Culp preached at the opening service….Our Guest Speaker was the Rt. Rev. Stan McKay, Moderator of the United Church of Canada…..The service was well attended by past clergy and dignitaries. From the 1993 Annual Report  

From the 1987 Annual Report 

FROM THE MINISTER’S DESK, John Houston It has been quite a year…The dream of better building facilities for our ministry has materialized. We are indebted to Ed Griffiths and the Campaign Committee and Jamie Thompson and the Building Committee and all those who supported the venture for such spectacular results. We’ve already made our second payment of $20,833.33 on our loan to Toronto United Church Council. There are only 34 more payments to go! It has been a bad year for sickness and hurting within the Church Family…I am reminded that it was in the middle of winter when God chose to visit us. In other words, when the world is at its darkest time, God comes. That’s Good News.  

From the 1990 Annual Report   

FROM THE MINISTER’S DESK, John Houston What a year 1990 has been for our world! We’ve been reading throughout the year of trouble in almost every country, and certainly here in Canada. On a one to ten, this has been down around a two or three……”But”…We’ve got many strengths…The million dollar mortgage was paid off in five years.     


Anniversary Anecdotes January 2018

From the 1982 Annual Report:

There are three new staff people who have come on board during 1982. Barb Hambley works about 12 hours each week helping June (Meyrick) in the office. Jackie Catto’s main area of responsibility is Christian Education, …John Moffat is helping in the area of pastoral care.  

From the  May/June 2008 Tidings:

UCW Funds New Chimes and other Projects at AUC ‘The strong support of the members of UCW at Aurora United is very much appreciated by the Property Committee. The UCW has been extremely active in supporting our committee, particularly in the present and recent past. Several years ago, the ladies funded the new carpet for the Founders Room and are now in the process of having all the wooden doors in this room refinished by an outside contractor. They are magnificent! In addition, they have funded the new chimes which are mounted on the back wall of the organ loft in the Sanctuary. And just a couple of weeks ago, they came to our rescue with over half the cost of AUC’s computer system. Thanks so much ladies, for your very strong support. It is much appreciated by all of us. Crawford Heritage, chair of Property committee  

From 1939 Annual Report Message of the Minister, Edmund J. Thompson

So full has been the year 1939 that on looking back it hardly seems possible that so much has happened. The chaotic uncertainty that prevailed in the world at the beginning of the year has resolved itself in three major wars. And our own country is engaged in a conflict to bring to an end the day of ruthless aggression. Our prayers go up continually for those in peril on land on sea and in the air, for those in distress, suffering and sorrow and that the mighty Spirit of our God may prevail up on the minds and hearts of men to turn to a Christian way of resolving their differences.  


Bulletin: Sunday January 21, 1968 Friday:

The Couples Club will hold their first meeting of the New Year at the home of Mr. & Mrs. M. McRoberts, 59 Catherine Ave., Friday Jan. 26th at 8:30 pm. A fine start was made in ’67; let us flourish in ’68. All couples are invited to enjoy a variety evening of good fellowship


The morning service was often poorly attended, the congregation being composed largely of old folks around 40 years of age. In the evening, however, everyone turned out – saints and sinners  alike – and even the crow’s nest was full. Chairs were placed in the aisles, contrary to the fire prevention regulations, and the volume of song was tremendous, particularly if Rev. George Dewey (1897-1899) was leading it with both hands from the pulpit and the organist had all the stops out.”  

From “Days of Yore in Aurora United Church by Lelia A. Reynolds – written for the 150th Anniversary (1968).  In 1876 the first Ladies Aid of the Methodist Church was organized, Mrs. Wm. Richardson being the first president.  


January 1993 ~ The Anniversary Banner (175th) was hung on the front of our building.  From the 1993 Annual Report  


January 1, 1962 ~ The UCW officially came into being on January 1, 1962. 
Its purpose was: To unite women of the congregation for the total mission of the church and to provide a medium through which we may express our loyalty and devotion to Jesus Christ in Christian witness, study, fellowship and service. Women integrated their national-level work into the boards of the United Church, and blended their two organizations, the Woman’s Missionary Society and the Woman’s Association, into one: the United Church Women. Across the country, 300,000 women joined as charter members.   From the UCW Guidelines Book

We are pleased to note that active steps are at last being taken by the Methodist people of this place to have the old burying ground adjoining their church levelled off and put in a respectable condition…..No doubt now that the matter is thus brought to a crisis the unsightly plot which has so long marred the appearance of the best portion of our town, will be so improved and beautified as to be a credit rather than a standing reproach to the Church. The Aurora Banner, January 20, 1888  


The records of a ladies’ class called “The Friendly Bible Class” No. 2 begin with the January, 1889 list of 24 members.  150th Anniversary of the Founding and Dedication of Aurora United Church (booklet)


New Beginnings at AUC ~ What a great way for our church to start a new year! After several month of anticipation Rev. Lorraine Newton-Comar and Rev. Andrew Comar have begun their ministry at Aurora United. Their first Sunday was January 10th.  June Yates, Tidings, February-March 2010