In This Issue
Visioning Stories Told Members Remember Concise History


rom time to time, our Church family gathers to consider our goals as our opportunities and challenges continue to evolve. A committee was recently formed for this purpose and chose as their guideline the motto "Remember, Vision, Achieve," with a special meeting devoted to each subject.

The remembering phase inspired us with the many accomplishments and obstacles overcome by the faith community of the past. We gave our dreams and visions free rein in the second meeting, as we dared to imagine a vibrant Church, moving confidently into a new era.

On Sunday, the 25th of April we will conclude the series as we set priorities and establish time-lines to achieve our vision. A summary of our work is outlined here. Read it thoughtfully, discuss it with your friends, pray that we may be guided in our task. Please join us in this most important endeavor, as we define our witness and service in the world. Your participation will guide us, your caring and concern will help our Church continue it's proud tradition in our faith community.
- Kevin McAskill

Nelson United Church family asks "What is God calling us to do?"

Our vision: In three years NUC will:
e a vibrant and growing community of faith that is courageous and innovative. Our large and diverse membership means we are financially secure. It also means we have broad volunteer participation to both develop our own internal programs and events, and to reach out in collaboration with other groups and denominations to meet community needs such as affordable housing. We use spiritual discernment in our decision-making, always asking the question "What is God calling us to do?"

We currently value:
he experience of NUC as a welcoming place that affirms the importance of community and family, and that allows us to share our lives and experiences in a safe environment. There is a sense of caring that is genuine and accepts the diversity of people in our church family. The Sunday services: the music and singing, the sermon, prayers for the people, stories of the New Testament, the children's stories. We are offered a time of quiet and contemplation, as well as the opportunity for socializing and conversation over coffee. We appreciate the special services and the faith stories that help us know each other more deeply. We find joy in seeing what the Sunday school children produce and we value their teachers.

We appreciate the opportunities for Christian education and spiritual regeneration, the study groups and special events, and the fellowship of the mid-week groups.

We love to share food together, and enjoy sharing services with other denominations.

We value our ministers (David, Christine and Len) and our church staff (Debbie, John, Jan and our volunteer office helpers Muriel and Bev). Also, we value the work done by the women's and men's groups and the church committees, as they steward our human and financial resources. NUC has a commitment to social justice, to reaching out to make our broader community and our world more just. Our building is a home to the Food Cupboard and to many other community groups. We are bold to explore new ideas and unafraid to tackle the "tough" questions within our faith and our society.

In the process of setting goals, we need to be aware of risks we may face if we do not act:
ur membership continues to decline, as families are forced to relocate and as our older members move or pass on. Our staff and volunteers have to work more and face burn-out sooner. It is even harder to recruit new volunteers and committee members. Summer worship services become ever more difficult to sustain. Certain demographic groups disappear from our church family, children and youth. Sunday school is at risk. Financial pressures mount, with declining membership, and also because of our aging building. As a result, fewer options are available for offerings such as choirs and special services. The music program is at risk, as is the second minister's position. NUC will become too inward-looking, isolated and stale in its thinking, because of the lack of new energy and resources. As our broader community's needs grow, NUC is increasingly incapable of responding. Because of increasing pressures and demands, we forget to feed our spiritual lives and tap into our individual gifts. We all experience loss of that spiritual dimension.

These are the strengths of our church family:
e are a community of faith. We offer hope for the future and we offer our community strength by example. We are a friendly, welcoming church family. New people are made to feel welcome; greeters, nametags and the welcoming announcement during the service add a personal touch. We are a caring congregation; we are interested in others and we are ourselves interesting. We create a wonderful climate of respect and inclusiveness, which extends to honouring other faith traditions and lifestyles.

We are a well-managed organization, with a strong membership nucleus and a strong core group of volunteers that support the life of the church. Our committees are effective and well-represented on Church Council. The continuing education program offers opportunities to grow in faith and take on new challenges. Pastoral care is effective and ongoing and involves many people; the Benevolent Fund is available to assist. The men's and women's groups are strong. The Mustard Seed and our website are important communication tools. Many hands and hearts do invisible, sustaining work.

Our building is structurally sound, centrally-located and it looks like a church. Its good acoustics and sound system are important, as are the new pew cushions. The kitchen is an important asset. We are well-respected in Nelson & area for our community outreach, our social justice focus, and our participation in many activities (walk for AIDS, friendship teas, refugee sponsorship, Food Cupboard, etc.). Two ministers share the workload, and together with Debbie and Len, they work well together and are competent and supportive. We have a sabbatical policy in place.

Our worship services are varied and memorable, including our music ministry, our organist, the slide presentations for the children's stories, and the involvement of many members. Taping the services makes them accessible to everyone. Alternative and special services express the variety of our spiritual needs.
- Donna Macdonald

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Dawn Recalls the Early Years

awn Penniket spoke of the very early days of the United Church in Nelson. In 1888, Reverend James Turner, know as the "Saddlebags Parson", held the first mission service in Nelson. Shortly, Presbyterian and Methodist churches were built in the young town of Nelson. Dawn's parents, the Wilkinson's, arrived in Nelson in 1901, and attended the Methodist Church. Church became the centre of the young family's life, and Dawn's parents were active in the men's and women's groups. Dawn recalls that the Wilkinson's pew was right behind the Emory pew!

In 1922, Dawn was baptized at Trinity Methodist Church, which in 1925 became Trinity United Church. Dawn loved her Sunday school teacher, Mrs. Sims, and she remembers singing "Hear the Pennies Dropping" in Sunday school and earning rewards for learning Bible verses. Wood stoves were used in the Sunday school rooms to provide warmth.

At the age of 12, Dawn joined the church and wore a new suit for the occasion. During her teen years with the Church, Dawn attended young people's group and Camp Koolaree. She enjoyed going to choir as well, but says she couldn't sing!

Two devastating fires damaged the lovely stone church, one in 1915, and one in 1967. Both times the Church was rebuilt. Bob recalls that though many important items and records were lost the choir gowns survived both fires!

Bob remembers there being over 200 children in the Sunday School. He and Jean enjoyed singing in the choir, and were involved in a production of HMS Pinafore. Some of the organists and choir directors he recalls are Ina Steed, Amelia Oliver, Sarah Tyler, Mickey Halleran, Merlin Bunt, Agnes Herbison, June Dolman, Angus Fraser, Marg Ormand, Alison Girvan, Robert Kwan, John Pengelly, Devon Meuhlert and Len Lythgoe.

Bob & Jean provide historical details

ob and Jean Emory provided more of the early history of the church.

In 1898, the original wooden church building was erected on the current site, and dedicated as Trinity Methodist church. Funds amounting to $22,000 were pledged and gathered over the next ten years to build the first stone church. In 1909, using marble from the Marblehead Quarry in the Lardeau, the pride of Nelson, Trinity Methodist Church was built.

In 1925, following creation of the United Church of Canada, the Methodist and Presbyterian Congregations joined to form the United Church of Nelson. Congregations were large enough at that time to support two United Churches two blocks apart, St. Paul's and Trinity United. After several attempts at amalgamation, the two finally joined to form St. Paul's Trinity United Church in 1956.

Sadie Remembers

adie McClelland added some interesting details to the history. In 1938, Sadie came to Nelson as a young woman. She joined the Friendship Club and started helping to make mincemeat . Her husband Jack volunteered as a Sunday school teacher.

Sadie recalled examples of the United and Anglican churches working together. One year, severe water damage occurred in the basement of the United church, requiring that a ditch be dug along the side of the church to replace some of the foundation that had rotted. A member of St. Savior's Anglican Church helped to dig that ditch. Also, following the fire, United Church services were held in the Anglican Church until the new United Church was ready.

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Fred Whitely provides an interesting summary of Nelson United

red Whitely provided an interesting summary of Nelson United Church events from 1887 to 1967. In 1887, traveling Methodist and Presbyterian Ministers journeyed to Nelson twice a year to provide religious services. In the 1890's, the First Presbyterian Church of Nelson and the Trinity Methodist Churches were built. In 1925, these congregations amalgamated to form Trinity United Church. There were, however, some dissenters who continued Presbyterian church services on their own for many years. In 1915, the first of two major fires occurred in the church. Losses came in at $35,00 with only $17,000 worth of insurance available. The organ in the church wasn't replaced until 1923. In 1967, the second major fire occurred. This time, the insurance coverage was sufficient to cover all but $20,000 owing for personal effects. The wonderful new pipe organ, designed by Angus Fraser and worth $40,000 had been due to arrive two days after the fire. A new church was built using the insurance money and dedicated in March 1969. Today's replacement value of the organ is over $500,000.

Dorothy & Linda shared history of Fairview United

orothy Wayling and Linda Hoskin shared the history of Fairview United Church. The story began in 1956 when a group of Fairview and North Shore residents, under the charge of Reverend Allan Dixon, met in the Hume School gym with a challenge to find a site for the new Fairview United Church. Construction soon started on Sixth Street. Following a short period of time spent holding worship services in the basement, dedication of the new church, under the charge of Reverend Bert Whitmore was accomplished in 1958. It was said to be "a friendly Church for friendly people." Around the same time, money was raised to build the North Shore Hall. This building was used for Sunday school as well as various community events. It was turned over to the recreation commission in 1966. At Fairview United, there were 5 active U.C.W. groups, as well as a young women's group called "Open Circle." Fund raisers such as teas, bazaars, fashion shows and sales of recycled used clothing were held often. Linda recalled one unique fund-raiser called a "scoop dinner" where the food cost 5¢ for one scoop of food and 10¢ for two scoops! A men's club was formed in the mid "80's", and Mel Ferraro became the perennial chairman. The fowl supper and pancake breakfasts were initiated by the men's group. The first Fairview United Choir was led by Angus Fraser. This choir, in addition to weekly music, performed Easter cantatas and won honours at Music festivals. At a young age, Robert Kwan played the organ for the church and led the choir. Junior Choirs were active until amalgamation. In 1961, there were 263 children involved in Sunday school. There were so many children, in fact, that one class was taught in the furnace room! Fairview United had a very active congregation. When the minister was ill for an extended period of time, members stepped forward to provide strong lay leadership. Members also campaigned to build Jubilee Manor, started Meals on Wheels, and published the Fairview Chronicle. A craft group was started and subsequently moved on to Nelson United. The dove, now at NUC, provided a powerful symbol of our journey of faith together.

Len Lythgoe Recalls

en arrived in Nelson in 1942 and at age 10, he was enrolled in Central School. He soon began piano lessons and St. Paul's Boy's Choir under the direction of Mrs. Ferguson. He recalls Saturday morning practices, choosing choir practices over hockey practices. The boy's choir sang once a month in Church. H. Stewart Forbes was the Minister at that time, but retired minister T.J.S. Ferguson was still very much involved with the Church.


Ron Monty Remembers

on moved to Nelson in 1946 and joined St. Paul's Young People's Group. Music was a very important part of the group. Ron remembers Friday Night parties with lots of food and instrumental jam sessions; and, a newsletter published by Nelson Young People's Union.

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A Concise, Abridged History of Nelson United Church

Expansion of Mission to the mining camps of BC. First service held in a tent in Nelson, then know as Salisbury. Twenty (20) people attended, John A. MacDonald, presiding.

First Presbyterian Church of Nelson formed; volunteers started to build a shack on Baker Street for use as a church; newly-ordained Thomas H. Rogers was minister.

New Presbyterian Church on the corner of Victoria and Kootenay dedicated in June and named St. Paul's Presbyterian. A donated church bell doubled as fire alarm for the town.

Trinity Methodist Church built at the corner of Josephine and Silica.

Kootenay Presbytery convened in Rossland, with fourteen (14) different churches involved.

Trinity Methodist Church the pride of Nelson, with its marble walls and granite foundation, established on the corner of Josephine and Silica.

Fire damaged St. Paul's Presbyterian Church; the land and building were sold; the larger Congregational Church on the corner of Stanley and Silica was purchased and renamed. The $27,000 debit was a heavy burden for many years.

Trinity Church gutted by fire. Only the foundation and marble walls remained.

New Trinity Methodist Church rebuilt on the same site.

Creation of the United Church of Canada. St. Paul's Presbyterian and Trinity Methodist Churches became United Churches. Both churches, owing to the size of their congregations, continue to operate as separate charges.

Rev. T.J.S. Ferguson took charge of St. Paul's United. Mrs. Ferguson's renowned boys' choir was formed and continued for over thirty (30) years.

St. Paul's and Trinity congregations combine to form St. Paul's Trinity United Church.

The new Fairview United Church is established to serve the suburb of Fairview.

Fire destroys the interior of St. Paul's Trinity. Precious records lost.

St. Paul's Trinity United and Fairview United congregations join to form Nelson United Church.

Click here for a narrative History of Nelson United Church
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