Our History

A Methodist Missionary was quite a curiosity since the preaching of the period. During this early Church, Presbyterian Sylvanus Keeler, who was raised in the Brockville area, commenced his traveling ministry in 1795 in the Bay of Quinte area. Separation from the American Methodist movement occurred in 1828. The new group called themselves the Canadian Wesleyan Methodist Church. There was also an Episcopal Methodist Church (M.E. Church), Lutheran, Anglican, Roman Catholic, and some moved with the Loyalists to the British colony. The Anglican Church at the time was seen as the Established Church and thus held the opinion that all other faiths were disloyal to the British Crown. The Methodist Church had been active in the American colonies prior to the revolution.

At least 10,000 citizens from the 13 British colonies decided to remain as British citizens after the 1776 revolution.  These loyalists and ministers of various faiths, who were generally attached to the army garrisons, came to Quebec and Nova Scotia after the revolution and were known as the United Empire Loyalists. In 1784 several from the Montreal area migrated by bateau up the St. Lawrence River and settled in the area from the provincial line east of Cornwall to the Bay of Quinte. The first settler in the area was Thomas Sherwood and the first one in the future city of Brockville was Col. Jessup.

An old stone building on the Greenbush road just outside the village was used on alternate Sundays as a church by both the Episcopal Methodists and Wesleyan Methodists while the Wesleyan Methodist church was being built (approximately 1870). This building, which later became the Addison school, was located across from the current Anglican Church. The Episcopal Methodist started a building fund and by 1880 were ready to build a new structure which would be located on the east side of County Road 29 in the Village of Addison. The Addison Church was built in 1881 of coloured red brick which was unusual at the time since most churches of the period were constructed of stone.

Before 1884, the Addison congregation was part of the Farmersville circuit. The Churches of this circuit were Athens (Farmersville), Addison, Greenbush, Glen Buell, Towriss (a former community near Glen Buell), New Dublin, Rocksprings, and Moore's and Washburn Corners. The circuit covered an extensive area, and hence "Circuit Riders" were common in ministering to the needs of the parishioners.

The Union of the Episcopal and Wesleyans occurred in 1884 and the old Methodist Kirk became a school which (as indicated previously) served the village center for 75 years. The school was abandoned on school consolidation.

As part of the union, a separate Addison Methodist Circuit was set up consisting of Addison, Greenbush, Rocksprings, New Dublin, and Moore's Corners. The United Church Union of the Methodist, Congregationalist, and Presbyterians occurred in June 1925 at which time Addison became a United Church charge.

The old Church at Moore's Corners was eventually abandoned. The remaining Churches in the Circuit carried on until 1960 when Greenbush and Rocksprings moved into the Lyn Circuit and Athens - Addison become a two-point Charge as it is today.

The Addison Manse erected in 1885 was a large frame structure adjacent to the Church. It remained as such until 1960 when it was purchased by Carl Percival, a descendant of the pioneer Percivals who once farmed large tracks of land in the area. The home is currently owned by Robin and Charlotte Hoy. In 1960, the United Church manse was moved to Athens, which itself was sold in 1993 when the minister at the time Rev. D. Blair purchased a home in Brockville.

The approximate number of families in Addison in 1882 was 110. Today the number is approximately 50.

A key feature of the Addison Church is its stained glass window (which will be discussed more extensively in the section on the glass windows) were installed during the ministry of Rev Burnett who came to the charge in 1903.

Because the early transportation was by horse and buggy, drive sheds were erected adjacent the Addison Church.

The smaller shed was a horse shed while the larger one was open at the bottom so the horses could be ridden or driven to the stalls. The second floor of this shed was finished off as a meeting place. In approximately 1921 the bottom section of the large shed section was converted to a hall. George Rowsome laid down the floor of the downstairs portion of the Church hall when the congregation converted the old drive shed into something more useful. A kitchen and washrooms were added later. The first major structural change was made in 1903 (1905??). The windows were replaced by 12 stained glass windows. These arch-shaped windows were placed there in memory of the following families:

  • Wiltse Brown

  • Taplin Moore

  • Stowell Boothe

  • Mullen Ducolon

  • Empey Burnett

  • Lewis Arnold

Several of the windows were re-leaded in the 1940s. Storm windows were added at that time.

Recent Highlights

(Prepared by Ina Blanchard and Helen Kilborn)

•1959 Our Charge consisted of Addison, Greenbush, Rock springs, and New Dublin.

•1960 It changed to Athens (70%), Addison (27%), Greenbush(3%). The Addison Parsonage was located next door to the Church. A new kitchen which had been part of the woodshed was built. Cupboards were built by Walter and Edith Blake.

•1961 Infrared electrical heating was installed in the Church and Hall. Cedar plank entrance doors were installed in memory Mrs. Frank Johnston. (These doors were replaced in 2005.)

•1962 WMS and WA joined to form the UCW. UCW catered for the first time to the Teachers Federation and Brockville Rotary Club.

•1963 A silver chalice was purchased. The first Congregational and Sunday School turkey supper was held.

•1964 A new carpet was purchased to cover the Church aisle and the front of the Church. The pews and front doors were varnished. The UCW started packing Christmas cheer baskets for the sick and shut-ins.

•1965 A walkway was constructed between the Church and Hall. The outside of the Hall was painted. The steeple was re-roofed.

•1967 A family church picnic at Short Point with approximately 80 people in attendance.

•1968 With assistance from Rev. Simmons a HI-C group was formed from the young people of Addison and Greenbush. This group was still active in 1970.

•1972 A well was drilled. A holding tank was installed. A new washroom was built.

•1973 The UCW prepared and sold a cookbook. Approximately 150 people attended the Congregational supper 1974: repairs were made to the Church hall. A new floor was laid in the kitchen.

•1975 A Gestetner was purchased.

•1976 The Church steeple was repaired. Hot and cold water was installed in the kitchen. The hall floor was refinished.

•1977 UCW made several quilts and sponsored two members to attend a UCW weekend at Quin-Mo-Lac.  The first UCW Christmas party was held.

•1978 Cecil Ross installed metal siding on the Church hall and kitchen ($9500). The UCW held Hobo Teas during the summer, chicken barbecue and auction sale to raise funds for the Church. UCW started picking Secret Pals.

•1979 There were 19 in the Nursery class. 170 attended the Sunday School and Congregation turkey dinner. The UCW held a Daffodil tea which became the Mothers' Day Tea. Projects for 1979 were line fence repair, new door on the hall, new cement steps and wrought iron railing for the Church entrance, Church steeple renovation with a new type of ventilation for the steeple, new choir gowns, and the repainted Church sign.

•1980 For preparation for the 100 years anniversary in 1981, many preparations were completed. One consisted of repainting the Church interior and exterior. Several bricks were replaced on the exterior. The Church roof was repainted. Church windows were cleaned and repaired. New heating and wiring system was installed in the Hall. A blue velvet drape was hung at the front as a backdrop for the cross from the Greenbush Church. Athens-Addison Charge welcomed a refugee Vietnamese family, Cam, Nhat, and four children. An apartment was furnished and rented for them in Athens.

•1981 For the 100th year anniversary, John Kirkland compiled the history of the Church. Church plates and mugs were sold. The Church moderator, Rev McClure helped the Church celebrate its 100th anniversary.

•1982 UCW purchased choir collars and music books for the junior choir. The foundation on the east side of the Hall was repaired. Funds were raised by holding a strawberry social and chicken barbecue.

•1983 The Church organist, Nelda Greenhalgh, retired. The repair of the east wall of the hall was completed. Funds were raised through a ham supper, strawberry social, and fall smorgasbord.

•1984 New windows were installed in the Hall. A youth group was started. Mrs. H. Kilborn retired after 25 years as Sunday School superintendent. Mrs. Lillian Maud replaced Helen.

•1985 A new cupboard for choir gowns was built. New fluorescent lights were installed in the hall and kitchen. New book racks were placed in the choir loft. A new carpet was laid in the choir loft.

•1986 A new roof was put on the Church. Rev Charles Judd was our guest speaker for the anniversary. He had been a student minister in the Addison Charge in the late '50s. Two church windows were releaded. The Church hall was repainted.

•1987 Extensive repairs were completed on the Athens Mainse in July in preparation of the arrival of Rev Doug and Chris Blair. A new organ was purchased for the Addison Church. Sharon Adams gave an organ recital. With this recital along with funds raised by two smorgasbords and many generous donations, the organ loan was paid off in October.

•1988 The kitchen floor and foundation were repaired. The roof of the Hall was repaired. A telephone was installed in the kitchen.

•1989 As a result of a bequest from Helen Rowsome, there was an auction sale in May and a yard sale in June. Four stained glass windows were repaired. The Church floor and entrance were painted.

•1990 A new piano was purchased for the Hall. Insulation was purchased for the Hall and Church.

•1991 A stained glass window was installed over the front entrance in memory of Helen Rowsome. The Church trim was painted. A steel door was purchased for the Hall. The property at the back of the Hall was surveyed and re-zoned. It was purchased from John Male. The hallway connecting the Church and Hall was painted.

•1992 The church hall was insulated. New electrical heaters were installed in the Church hall. The kitchen floor was repaired and vinyl flooring laid. A new vacuum cleaner was purchased. Athens and Addison hosted Presbytery in November.

•1993 In April, the Athens manse was sold. Rev. Doug and Chris Blair purchased a home in Brockville. The Church sanctuary was redecorated with the removal of the velvet drape over the bible mural. This had been covered up since 1980. The three pulpit chairs were repaired and upholstered.

•1994 A Memorial Wall was started with the large cross from Greenbush Church. New mini blinds and toppers were purchased for the hall windows.

•1995 The kitchen roof was repainted.

•1996 The adjacent parking lot was asphalted and parking area to the north was gravelled.  UCW purchased a new flag for the Church.

•1997 An oak floor was installed in the Church hall. Voices United hymn and Choir books were purchased. New choir gowns were purchased.

•1998 Kingston Presbytery was hosted in Athens by Athens-Addison. Eavestroughing was repaired on the Hall. A sound system was installed in the Church. A Christmas Contata was presented by the Choir.

•1999 The washroom was renovated. An exterior light was installed to illuminate the secondary gravelled parking lot. UCW started catering to the VON seniors dinner once a month as an outreach project.

•2000 A larger water heater was installed in the washroom. The Sanctuary doors were rehung to comply with fire regulations. A framed picture containing the previous minister's photograph was dedicated. Athens and Addison prepared a picture directory for the 2000 celebration. A new illuminated Church sign was erected.

•2001 A programmable thermostat for the Hall heaters was installed. The lightning rod system on the roof was upgraded to conform to the insurance guidelines. Brass handrails at the altar steps were donated by Mr. and Mrs. Allan Hayes. To raise funds, an organ recital was held featuring Sharon Adams with Vanessa London as soloist.

•2002 The exterior trim on the Church windows was painted. The hall floor was refinished.

•2003 New choir chairs were purchased. A pencil sketch of the Church by Henry Vyfinkel was dedicated.

•2004 Monies from the Hattie Taplin estate were used to purchase new light for the Church interior. The Hall roof was repainted. A fully decorated nine-foot artificial Christmas tree was purchased. A bottled water cooler was installed in the kitchen to comply with the Provincial health rules. This was a result of the Walkerton water health issue. A new vacuum cleaner was installed. A plaque for inscribing the names of deceased Church members was dedicated.