The earliest records of this Methodist(of or pertaining to or characteristic of the branch of Protestantism adhering to the views of Wesley;)Episcopal(denoting or governed by or relating to a bishop or bishops) Congregation are dated 1865, when the Village of King City was known as Springhill. Prior to 1868, our church was part of the Newmarket circuit. After 1868, it became known as the King Circuit with the following branches: Love’s Branch (Temperanceville), Kinghorn, Newmarket, Lodge Room branch, Jewett branch and Springhill branch.
The branches of the Methodist denomination united in 1883 and the Springhill congregation then became part of the Bradford District of the Methodist Church.
In 1891 the King Circuit became a 4-point charge – Purpleville, Teston, Laskay and King. In 1893, Purpleville was dropped and the remaining 3-point charge continued until 1967 when King City finally became a 1-point charge.
Rev T. Argue, the Minister in Springhill from 1866 to 1869 is known as “the father of the Springhill appointment”.
For many years, Mr. George Garrow had conducted a Sunday School in a wheelwright’s shop occupied in front of the lot where Raymond Burt used to live and which is now the Toronto Dominion Bank. In 1871, Mr Garrow gave the land on King Street for a church to be built, and the building was completed later that year. That former church site remains and is now the site of a commercial enterprise.
The clapboard church cost $1350 and was constructed with a lot of volunteer labour. Brother Gardiner managed finances well, ably assisted by James Magee. They had $1374 on hand.
The Canada Christian Advocate recorded the opening ceremonies as follows:
“On January7, 1872, the Springhill Methodist Episcopal Church was dedicated. Bishop Richardson preached at 10:30 a.m; Rev, J. Gardiner, Editor of the Canada Christian Advocate, at 2:30 p.m.: and John Gemley, Agent of Upper Canada Bible Society, at 6:30 p.m. The Bishop was evidently directed in his selection of the text and in the presentation of its truth. Blessed fruit followed in a few hours. The Bishop sustained his reputation and the other gentlemen made an enviable one.”
A tea meeting was held on Monday evening, January 8th. Speakers were Bishop Richardson, Brothers Gardiner, Bradshaw, Curts and other talented gentlemen. Rev. A. Hunt is pastor. Names of families prominent in early records are Garrow, Lloyd, Winter, Wells, Leece, Machell, Davis, Clubine, Carley, Mortson, Crossley, Irwin, Gordon and Elliott.
Seven young men of the Congregation entered the Ministry: H. Redditt, A Latter, Arthur Mackenzie, Wesley Fox, Albert Leece and D. O. Crossley. R. L. Large became a medical missionary.
An auxiliary of the Women’s Missionary Society was organized in 1895 with eleven members and the following officers:
President – Mrs. J. Jackson
Vice President and Recording Secretary – Mrs. Carley
Corr. Secretary – Mrs. M. Winter
Treasurer – Mrs. Nunn
Other members were, Mrs. Large, Mrs. Garrow, Mrs. Hall, Mrs, Brett, Mrs. Latter, Mrs. Leece and Mrs. Mason.
In 1925, this Methodist congregation entered the United Church of Canada and joined Laskay and Teston to constitute one 3-point circuit.
In 1928, our church was renovated. The building was bricked and the tower was added and, at the re-dedication services, Rev. S. D. Chown of Toronto was the guest preacher. Rev. A. H. Halbert was our minister at the time.
The depression years were difficult ones for our church. Those faithful members who struggled through the depression following the 1929 crash are responsible for church being here today. Families had no money to spare after paying the bills, so families found it hard to keep the church alive. Nearly all the families lived on a farm and were therefore self supporting as they produced most of their own food. Money was very scarce, so many a child went to Sunday School without a nickel to put on the plate and they didn’t feel badly as everyone was in the same boat. (Note: “All unhappiness is caused by comparison”) The ministers were often partly paid by food that the farm families could spare. Our congregation were mostly farmers who were glad to go to Church Sunday night to get food for their souls and have a friendly chat with their neighbours. Children were sent or taken to Sunday School in the afternoon. Church services could be either morning or evening, depending on how the Minister arranged his charge.
In 1948, the Chancel of the church was re-modeled. A copy of Sallman’s “Head of Christ” was given by the Davis family of Newmarket, two chairs for the pulpit platform by Mrs. John Dew Sr., and the centre chair by Mrs. George Stone.
The parsonage on Keele Street was destroyed by fire as a result of a lightning strike the night of June 4th, in 1944. This building was a brick two storey house and had been built in 1887. In the middle of the night, townsfolk were aroused by six short rings on the telephone, telling them that there was an emergency and a need for help. The men went with pails as there were no firemen in King City at that time. Rev. Harold Anderson, our minister at the time, was away at a conference and Mrs. Anderson and their son were visiting her parents.
The men saved most of the parsonage furniture in the downstairs, but upstairs contained the furniture that Mrs. Anderson had received from her family, along with her fur coat and these were destroyed. The Andersons were given rooms across the street, in the home of Mrs. Annie McMurchy, until a new brick parsonage was rebuilt and ready for occupancy in 1945, at a cost of $7,500. All church records were lost in the fire.
John and Lucy Cairns and their family WIlliam, Delena and James were early King City United Church members. The family were faithful church goers after settling in the area in approximately 1875. They often attended by horse and cutter. Until approximately 1928, the horses were “parked” in a shed behind the church during services.
(The parsonage was eventually sold in 1968 to Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd White of our congregation. By this time, we had bought a new home on Elizabeth Grove which was to be used as the parsonage as it was closer to the new church. According to the United Church ruling in 1963, “parsonage” was to be no longer used and was replaced by “manse”.)
In 1945, King, Laskay and Teston required a new minister. Rev. Martin Jenkinson was chosen by the pastoral relations committee that included Ross Folliott and Austin Rumble from our church. The new parsonage including furniture was ready for the new minister and his wife. The coming of the Jenkinson’s also heralded the start of a new era in our church. The war was over and everything started to boom. Church attendance improved. Mrs. Jenkinson was a very capable organizer and under her guidance, the Cradle Roll, Baby Band, Mission Band, Explorers Group, Messenger Group, THe Hi-C, Sigma-C and Tyro were all started. Cubs and Scouts and Young Peoples were going strong. The C.G.I.T. held Christmas Eve services. There was something to guide every child along the way and to keep every person busy and out of trouble.
Looking after all the children of the congregation and bringing in new members was a challenge well met. Mrs. Jenkinson taught Sunday School every Sunday and Sunday School attendance grew to over 200. Mrs. Jenkinson was also President of both the W.M.S. and the W. A. for a time. She was a wonderful wife and helper to Mr. Jenkinson, helping with the Church business. Mr. Jenkinson called her the “Lady of the Manse” or “Momma”.
Because the Sunday School was bulging at the seams, we started to think about new accomodations. Many metings were held as we explored the possibility of buying land to expand the building.
The McBride family wanted to sell their farm and were in the process of planning a new subdivision. They offered 3 lots as a gift to the Church. This most generous offer was accepted and committees were formed and meetings were held to plan the construction of a new church under the leadership of Rev. Jenkinson. To ensure adequate parking space, an adjoining parcel of land, approximately 1.25 acres, was purchased from Gordon Orr for an amount of $2500. Steps were then taken to further the building.
After due deliberations, the Building committee chose Mr. J. Layng of Toronto as the architect. Plans were prepared and presented. Various church organizations were consulted as to their needs and from such discussion, the final plan evolved, incorporating the wishes of those involved.
The next step was to choose the builder, Lutes Construction Company of King City.
Work began on May 6th, 1963 and with few delays went very quickly. Over 250 members and friends attended the sod turning ceremony. The first sod was cut by senior members, Mr. George Rumble, Mrs. Arthur Wellsley and Mr. W. A. Carson who had been members of the church all their lives and had served for many years on its committees. Three young people represented the youthful members of the church – Lee Scott, Douglas Parsons and Bill Thompson, nephew of the McBrides who had donated the land. Joanne Hadwen, Brian Love, Frances Harvey, Peter Kell and Lisa Saunders represented the children of old families who had supported the church for many years as well as recent residents who had made King City United their church home. Rev. Jenkinson referred to these three groups as representing, Faith, Hope and Charity
The stained glass windows, depicting scenes from the Old and New Testament. The depth and richness of colour is achieved by a process of lamination wherein layers of glass are superimposed on each other until the desired shade is achieved. Such artistry can be seen in many of the churches in Europe. Mr. Angus MacDonald, a well known Toronto artist and sculptor was given the task of telling the Story in Glass.
As you enter the sanctuary, you will notice three stones embedded in the floor. The small light coloured stone is from Galilee where Jesus walked. The larger mottled pink stone is from the Pater Noster Church, in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed. The large brown stone is from Bethany where Mary, Martha and Lazarus lived and where Jesus stayed. These stones were obtained at the request of Rev. Jenkinson, from Mrs. Lane who conducted tours to the Holy Land.
The design of the Sanctuary itself is built around the thought of Fellowship. The Lord’s Table holds the central place and congregation seating is arranged around it. The pulpit is situated so that when the minister takes his place there, he is, in the very truth, among his flock. It was said of the Jesus that “He stood in the midst”. It is this feeling the design seeks to create and nourish.
At about the same time, the Presbytery was trying to change the format of the local churches. Eventually, as a result, King became a 1-point charge in 1967 and two years later Laskay closed its doors with some members choosing King City United.
Rev. Jenkinson moved to Victoria Square to take over the Headford charge after 22 years.
During Mr. Jenkinson’s time at King City United the 80th and 90th anniversaires were celebrated. A new Baldwin organ was dedicated in memory of the young men of the congregation who served their country in the First and Second World Wars.
Five of our men paid the supreme sacrifice: William Crossley, George Davis, Charles Gates, Warren McBride and Gordo
n Walker lost their lives.
Prior to 1957, our church belonged to the Toronto Centre Presbytery. However, as the presbytery was becoming too large, it was decided that the Toronto churches would remain in the Toronto Center Presbytery and the surrounding country churches became the York Presbytery.
There was a great party held at the church to honour Rev. Jenkinson when he left for Victoria Square. Later, the Jenkinsons retired in King City and joined the congregation. A memorial window was dedicated to Martin and Evelyn Jenkinson on October 23, 1988. A display cabinet to display the “Book of Rembrance” was dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Jenkinson.
Following the departure of Rev. Jenkinson, Rev Norman Gibson came to our church. During his ministry, our church celebrated its 100th anniversary.
The papers for the Building Loan taken out for new church, were burned in 1976 and the Operating Loan was eliminated in 1979.
The church library was officially opened in February 1983. The Library had been started in 1996 but at that time it did not have a permanent home.
The Cross that hangs in the sanctuary was added during Rev. David Vipond’s ministry here.
History is the soil in which our future is rooted. In the future, the seeds of history bear fruit. The present is a time to fertilize and prune, to pollinate and enjoy the flowers while waiting for God to prepare the harvest. We continue to work the soil of faith that it might continue to bring forth the fruit of the Spirit.
We are grateful for the good earth, prepared by the work and prayers of our forebears: and we hope for the blessings of God’s future. In the meantime, we have work and prayers to offer.Thus we move into the future, trusting that in life and in death, and in life beyond death, God journeys with us. Thanks be to God for 125 years and counting, of faithful ministry in this place!
.. from ‘The Spirit’s Alive in 125″ prepared by Helen Rumble with the help of members of the KCUC congregation, in 1996 as part of the celebration of the church’s 125th anniversary.
Ministers in the King Charge have been:
1864 – 1866 Rev. J. Curtis
1866 – 1869 Rev T. Argue
1870 – 1872 Rev. A. Hunt
1873 – 1875 Rev. G. Abbs
1875 – 1878 Rev. A. Ferguson
1878 – 1884 Rev. Fred Watts
1884 – 1887 Rev. J. Rankin
1887 – 1888 Rev. McDowell
1889 – 1890 Rev. G. S. Hunt
1890 – 1892 Rev. Thomas Fox
1893 – 1895 Rev. R. Large
RJD Simpson (Student)
1896 Rev. R. J. Stillwell
1897 – 1899 Rev. C. T. Cocking
1900 – 1903 Rev. G. Robinson
Rev. W. H. Webster
1903 – 1905 Rev. Newton Hill
1906 – 1909 Rev. H. George Walker
1910 – 1912 Rev. F. C. Kearn
1913 – 1916 Rev. D. R. Gray
1917 – 1920 Rev. F. J. Dunlop
1921 – 1924 Rev. A. E. Lunau
1925 – 1929 Rev. A. H. Halbert
1930 – 1941 Rev. Douglas Davis
1941 – 1944 Rev. J. H. Anderson
1945 – 1967 Rev. M. R. Jenkinson
1967 – 1972 Rev. Norman Gibson
1973 – 1984 Rev. Grant Brown
1984 – 1990 Rev. David Vipond
1991 – 2001 Rev. Bruce Ervin
2002 – 2003 Nancy Monteith
2003 – 2005 Rev. Sarah Wallace
2005 – 2006 Rev. Lawrence Pushee
2006 – 2010 Rev. Robert Biggar
2011 Rev. Leslie Sedore
2012 Rev. Dr. Donald F Bell
2012 Rev. Evelyn McLachlan