DAN CEARNS, The Standard
SCUGOG: The congregation of the Prince Albert United Church will be worshipping in their local Church for the final time this month.
Late last year, both United Church congregations in Port Perry and Prince Albert created an amalgamation agreement.
“Both congregations voted on this agreement, at their respective annual meetings, and now our Church’s regional Council has given us permission to go ahead with our amalgamation plans. As of July 1st, 2023, our Pastoral Charge will no longer be made up of two congregations but will come together as one. It has been decided, our newly amalgamated congregation will worship at Port Perry United Church,” read a United Church newsletter from April 2023.
A document, provided by Don Willmer, representing the two United Churches, explained, “An aging and shrinking membership meant, it was becoming a challenge for the congregation to cover its operating expenses.”
“This is a sad time,” Rev. Elaine Hall said in a statement. “But it is also a special time for honouring an important legacy and for caring for one another.”
Rev. Willmer had a positive outlook on the situation, in his statement. “As we become one congregation in July, I know each congregation’s history will be honoured, and the people will support one another and come together as followers of Jesus, ready to continue to serve their community.”
Rev. Willmer also reported, the Church’s regional Council had given the congregation approval to sell the Prince Albert church property. “Although nothing has yet been settled, it is the congregation’s hope the church which has served so long and so well, will continue to be used as a place of worship,” he wrote.
The document, Mr. Willmer provided The Standard, also provided some background on the Church’s history. “The Church, formerly Prince Albert Wesleyan Methodist Church, traces its roots back to at least 1845, at which time it was part of the Whitby Wesleyan Methodist circuit, served by a circuit-riding preacher, who would travel to the various points on the circuit on horseback, leading local worship in people’s homes or barns. Eventually, a Wesleyan Methodist Church was built in the village of Prince Albert and dedicated, on February 8th, 1852. That church building was lengthened from 50 to 66 feet and re-opened in December 1857. The land on which the current brick building is situated was purchased for $100, and the Church was built in 1866, at a cost of $3,627. The sanctuary was dedicated on September 30th, 1866.”
The Church was later renamed Prince Albert United Church, when the United Church of Canada was formed, which combined “Congregationalist, Methodist, and consenting Presbyterian churches across Canada.” Prince Albert United Church celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2016.
A joint service will be held at the Prince Albert United Church, on Sunday, June 11th, at 11 a.m.