In 1892, the Methodist women of Cataraqui formed the Ladies Aid Society; August of that year was the setting for one of their first official meetings. A well preserved minute book dating to that month contains the ‘Constitution and Rules of the Ladies Aid Society of Cataraqui.’ The constitution deals mainly with missionary work, the main example; a motion stating ‘that the President and Vice President visit different appointments of this circuit to organize societies or invite the ladies to join ours.’
Welcome to Cataraqui United Church. Our historic building is available to host a variety of occasions.
All inquiries about rentals or taking advantage of any of our other services should be addressed to our Church Administrator Jill McCreary, who can be reached at the Church Email: CataraquiChurch@gmail.com
You can also leave a voice message at: 1 (613)484-5771 and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
It is evident from past records that the Women’s organization gave generously of their funds to the church. In conjunction with giving to Cataraqui, the ladies organized many events such as a ‘Home Harvest Service’, and an ‘Anniversary Service’. In order to finance parsonage repairs and maintenance, church redecoration and a host of other jobs, the women had an outstanding line of entertainment; teas, excursions by boat, ice cream socials, dinners and Antiquarian teas to name just a few examples of their diligent work.
February 18, 1902 bought about a change in the Ladies Aid Society; a gathering of women met at the church parsonage to establish a Women’s Missionary Auxiliary. Thus a regular program began which included mission study and service and this was continued until 1962. The year 1962 is a year to remember regarding Women in our church; the Women’s Missionary Society amalgamated with the Women’s Association to form the United Church Women. These women meet monthly at a member’s home or at the church for service and to arrange activities. The United Church Women commonly referred to as the U.C.W., continued to grow as a major participant in our church and community.
The women of the U.C.W. have donated generously of their time and funds to Cataraqui United Church. They have done so through Church dinners, ice cream and strawberry socials, tea and sales, bazaars, the raising of talent money through walk-a-thons and enjoyable social events, catering to weddings and various public dinners and more. During the 1960′s and early ‘70′s the basement of our church was redecorated and in the process the kitchen was revamped to make it easier to hold dinners, etc and the U.C.W. can now accommodate one hundred people for dinner with much more ease; there is no more carrying water for miles to wash dishes and cook!
The Sunday School
In 1789, an Orange Hall was erected on Sydenham Road, two miles north of the present Cataraqui
United Church. Methodist Episcopals met here for worship and Sunday School, until about 1884,
when the union of all Methodist groups in Canada, took place. They continued to hold Sunday
School there for some years. In the Sunday School minutes of Nov. 15, 1903, it is noted the Sunday
School Services were held on Sunday at 3:00 p.m.
The Superintendent at the time was Mr. James Cooke and his wife, Mrs. Cooke, was a Sunday School
teacher for a number of years. They both held a long record of service to the Sunday School. Their
daughter, Mrs. D. Wilson, has a distinguished record as well, teaching in the Sunday School for forty
years and also acting as leader to a C.G.I.T. Group, and Explorers for fifteen years, and playing the
piano for the Sunday School Services. There is a long list of dedicated and faithful superintendents
and teachers who have given their service over the years and it would be virtually impossible to
mention them all.
For many years, Sunday School picnics were a tradition which was always held at Lake Ontario Park
and not only the children but the whole community attended. They travelled to and from the picnics
in market wagons, which naturally limited the days that they could go since the wagons were
needed for market days. When the wagons went from the church to the park, they often travelled along Portsmouth Avenue, but at that time there was only one house on it. These yearly picnics were not limited just to the times before cars however. They continued with minor variations over the years. The picnic on August 5, 1924 virtually marked the end of the horse-drawn era, however, the picnics remained as much fun as always. In 1924, there were races held for the children and also for grown ups if they cared to compete. Prizes were given and Mr. C.J. Graham agreed to give the children a street car ride.
We held our picnic in June 1978, at the Cataraqui Conservation Area, with games and a potluck supper (but no street car rides). It is interesting to note in the earlier years of Sunday School, that the classes were given very picturesque names, for example, the True Blues, Tried and True, Willing Workers, Busy Bees, Sunbeams, Good Cheer Class, Victors and Merry Makers. The Sunday School literature was; Happy Day, Onward, the Banner, and Sunbeams. (It should be noted they adopted the name Sunbeams for their class.) In 1903, they were also using David C. Cook literature.
January 15, 1928, saw the addition of an Adult Bible Class, with an average of sixteen in attendance. At the same time a Young Ladies Cass was added with fourteen in attendance. The attendance of the Sunday School classes has declined over the years; this has been partially due to a drop in the number of Sunday School age children in the area. However, those who attend the Sunday School at the present time, do so on a regular basis. The young people in the Sunday School have been involved in banner competitions, Brownies, Guides, Scout and Cub activities, and we hope they will continue to take an active part in our church and community.
Before 1834, there were as many as thirty meeting places in the Wesleyan Methodist Church Circuit based in Waterloo. After the union of 1834, there were considerably fewer, however there were still a large number of points compared to today. Just before the union of 1847, there were still twelve to thirteen points (they were reduced by three or four to nine in 1847). This constant change was due in a large part to the population growth and the maturing of different pastoral points and their acquisition of independence from the Waterloo-Cataraqui Charge. Westbrook built a church in 1860 (approximately) and their present church in 1867. By 1958 there were only three points left in the Cataraqui Charge; Cataraqui, Westbrook, and Collins Bay. As of July 1958, Collins Bay gained its independence which left just Cataraqui and Westbrook. Later, in 1992, Cataraqui and Westbrook became two independent charges.
Church Union of 1925
Cataraqui had experienced three previous Methodist Unions (1833, 1874, and 1884), so a fourth one didn’t concern the church greatly. The union of the Congregational, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches did not present any major changes for the church because there were no close neighbours of those denominations, except some Presbyterians in Collins Bay.
The main issue of the union, as far as this church was concerned, appeared to have been the determination of the length of a minister’s service to a church. The Official Board of Cataraqui Charge tried to have a minister’s pastorate term limited to five years when they passed a motion in April of 1930. It is ironic, therefore, that the next minister to serve the church stayed the longest of any minister ever; sixteen years.
Cataraqui became a member of the new United Church of Canada in June 1925. The church union had very little effect on the church itself or its internal structure or government. It seems almost impossible to sum up so many years of history in so few paragraphs. After 1925 or 1930 there were very few major changes in the church, or major events (although there were many smaller points and disputes). The only major transaction seems to have been the selling of the parking lot to the Kingston Township as a parking place for snowplows and other vehicles. Eight years later, in 1961, the township built their own buildings for this purpose and the lot was sold back to the church for $1.00. Our past has been recorded, but, what of the future? That is up to the people of the church, and most particularly the young people.
The Youth Group
December 1977, brought about the beginning of a new youth group at Cataraqui United Church. Previous to 1977, teenagers of the church would enter teams in the annual United Church Volleyball Tournament which had its origins at Chalmer’s United Church. Occasionally the youth of past years would meet informally for sport activities, dances and parties. However, with the formation of the Youth Group as an official church group, the young people began to take an active part in many church and community affairs. The Youth Group consisted largely of teenage members, with a senior president, youth president, secretary-treasurer, and two adult advisors. The Youth Group hosted the annual volleyball tournament, instituted a three pitch tournament, held walk-a-thons, car washes, bottle drives etc. and gave the majority of the funds raised to the church for general purposes; this included the restoration of the church plaque. The youth group also met for swimming, bowling and many other social activities.
Church Organizations and Societies
The Loyal Orange Lodge was built in 1878 to replace the first Orange Hall (1789)