The United Church of Canada is the largest Protestant denomination in Canada. We minister to over 2 million people in about 3,000 congregations. The history of the United Church is closely entwined with the history of Canada itself.
A Brief History of St. Paul’s United Church
The beginning of St. Paul’s Church dates back to 1872 when Mr. & Mrs. Samuel Brethour invited Rev. Christopher Thompson, the pastor of the Methodist Church in Victoria, to conduct services in their log home. Later, when the first school on the north end of the peninsula was built on Wain Crossroad, the church service was moved there.
As the community grew, and with the donation of a lot by Samuel Brethour Jr. on East Saanich Road, opposite Mills Road, a new church was built. It opened for worship on June 21st, 1891. In 1913, the Presbyterians began services in downtown Sidney, on Sunday October 5th. The following year, two lots at the corner of Queens Avenue (now Malaview) and Fifth Street were purchased and a new church was built on the site of the present parking lot. This church was named St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church. Meanwhile in 1914, the Methodists of Sidney built Wesley Methodist Church, dedicated on Easter Sunday 1914.
St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church and the Wesley Methodist Church amalgamated, becoming St. Paul’s Union Church on Sunday, November 7th, 1920, five years before the formation of the United Church of Canada on June 10th 1925. Thus, in 1925 the Sidney Union Church became St. Paul’s United Church.
In 1962 a new Christian Education Centre, with gathering hall and classrooms, was built on the lot next to the church. A few years later, as the old structure was no longer large enough to serve the needs of the congregation, the Christian Education Centre was renovated to become the present sanctuary and in 1967, the old church was demolished.
In 1974 a new Youth Centre addition provided a new gathering hall and kitchen. A further addition on the east side of the building, and considerable renovations were made in 1981, giving the church its present worship and work spaces.
In 1984 a bell tower was constructed and the bell from the North Saanich Methodist Church, which had been in storage for about 50 years, was re-dedicated. A new vestibule was added and completed with a rock wall front in 1986, to give St. Paul’s its present appearance.
With the passage of time, St. Paul's is looking to find ways of refreshing its aging image, thus the redesign and renovation of our kitchen, the laying of new flooring in the fellowship hall and exploring options for a redesign and renovation of the front entrance to the church.
Stay tuned as we look to the future with enthusiasm and work together to continue our Christian presence in Sidney.
A Pastoral Care Assistant was appointed in 1993 to assist in arranging pastoral visits by the Minister. Then in 2004, St. Paul's hired a part-time Pastoral Care Minister who implemented a Care Team of volunteers to supplement his visits to the congregation and form a closer community.