1854 – Persons of Scottish descent began to meet together in private homes in order to worship in the Church of Scotland format familiar to them.
1854 – As more people joined in the house worship, the little group needed a larger space and began to worship in the schoolhouse on the fire hall lot on Frederick Street.
1855 – The group worshiping in the school house petitioned the Presbytery of Hamilton to be established as a Presbyterian congregation. The petition, presented by The Rev. Dr. Smellie of Fergus, the Rev. James Young of Guelph, and Sheriff George Davidson of Berlin, was granted on Jan. 23, 1855.
1855 – Worship was conducted by the Rev. W. Pirie of Doon.
1856 – Sheriff George Davidson led the movement to erect a church building. He sold the congregation the parcel of land on the North East corner of Queen and Weber for a small sum and then led the fund raising campaign to erect a structure.
1857 – The first building was dedicated. It was a brick structure with a seating capacity of 175 built at a cost of $4,500. There is a photograph of the original building in the display case near the Weber Street doors.
In 1874 a wooden “Sabbath School” building was erected behind the church. The corner stone for the “Sabbath School” building is visible near the Weber Street doors.
1907 – The congregation numbered 600 people. The original wooden building was torn down and replaced by the present brick sanctuary in order to accommodate the larger congregation. The present sanctuary was dedicated on September 8, 1907. The cost of the new building was $30,399.
Two items were saved from the original wooden structure: the circular stained glass window, high on the west wall, and the wooden clock to the right of the pulpit. The window, which contains the words “He is not here; He is risen as he said,” is dedicated to Sheriff George Davidson. The Clock is dedicated to Sheriff Davidson and Mrs. Davidson.
1925 – On January 21, the congregation of St.Andrew’s voted against joining with Methodist and Congregational Churches to form the United Church of Canada.
1954 – Iona Hall was built at a cost of $260,000. It replaced the 80 year old Parish Hall and included an auditorium, Sunday School rooms, and office space.
1967 – An addition, costing $300,000, was added. It included the Covenant Chapel, additional classrooms, a library, church offices, and the Heather Room.
1974 – The Rev. Dr. Finlay Stewart retired after a remarkable ministry which saw St. Andrew’s rise up from near closure to becoming the largest Presbyterian Congregation in Canada.
1975 – The Rev. Dr. Grant MacDonald was called as minister of St. Andrew’s. Grant was baptized and raised within St. Andrew’s and had already been an Assistant minister since 1965. Grant Retired in 1999.
2000 – The Rev. William (Bill) Lamont was called to be Minister of St. Andrew’s. In 2004, Bill left St. Andrew’s along with Associate Ministers William Johnston and Colleen Smith. The Rev. Dr. Vern Tozer served for 18 months as an Interim-Minister from 2004 to 2006.
2006 – The Rev. Mark Lewis, a former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, was called to be Minister of St. Andrew’s
2008 – The Rev. Janice Hamalainen was called to be the Minister of Pastoral Care at St. Andrew’s.
From 2008 to 2013, the buildings of St. Andrew’s were extensively renovated in preparation for future growth and vitality. The renovations included repainting and renovation of all exterior brickwork, extensive roof repair, new windows, a new high efficiency boiler, a complete renovation of the beautiful historical plaster work in the sanctuary, and the restoration of many other rooms and facilities.
2014 – St. Andrew’s celebrated its 160th Anniversary with thanks and praise to God.
St. Andrew’s continues to be an inclusive community enthusiastically dedicated to mission locally, nationally, and internationally.
Notes on the Sanctuary
The Sanctuary was built in the round and with a balcony to allow as many people as possible to be close to the preacher. There was no P.A. system back in 1906!
The Burning Bush is the unofficial symbol of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. It is a symbol of God’s call to faith and service. The Latin motto beneath the burning bush is “Nec Tamen Consumebatur” meaning “And yet it was not consumed.”
The round window above the exposed silver organ pipes is from the original 1857 wooden building. The congregation was established in 1855 from a group which first met in 1854. The window is dedicated to Sheriff George Davidson (See history notes.)
The clock above the piano is also from the original wooden building. The clock is dedicated to Sheriff George Davidson and Mrs. Davidson.
The flags displayed in the sanctuary are from the WWII Scots Fusiliers of Canada (over the piano) and the WWI 118th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force (over the exposed silver organ pipes.) We wish we could restore the flags, but it is governmental and military protocol that historic military colours be left to decay on their standards until they cease to exist.
The sanctuary can seat 650 people. We typically have over 400 people on a Sunday. We are a growing and vibrant congregation with a heart for local, national, and international mission!
Most of the windows have dedication plaques and inscriptions which are quite helpful.
We broadcast our worship live on CTV every other Sunday. We have been broadcasting since 1961.
William Lyon Mackenzie King (December 17, 1874 – July 22, 1950), Canada’s 10th and longest serving Prime Minister, attended St. Andrew’s (We are not responsible for his spiritualistic tendencies but we think it might be his ghost which haunts the balcony.)
King was a lifelong Presbyterian who promoted the Social Gospel (Justice for the poor.) King served as Prime Minister from December 29, 1921 to June 28, 1926; September 25, 1926 to August 6, 1930; and October 23, 1935 to November 15, 1948, making him the longest serving Prime Minister in the British Commonwealth history.