Central United Church
Sault Ste Marie ON

P6A 3A5





Who we are

Central United Church is a congregation that grew out of a Methodist mission established in 1861 to share the teachings of Christ.

The Central United Church congregation worships in a heritage building in downtown Sault Ste. Marie, three blocks from the busiest shipping channel in the world, the St. Mary's River. Central United Church is a congregation that grew out of a Methodist mission established in 1861 to share the teachings of Christ with the First People of Garden River.

The congregation worshiped in a variety of locations including the "Old Stone House" until the present church was built in the early 1900's. The sanctuary is wheelchair accessible and equipped with hearing aid assists. Come and enjoy warm fellowship, joyful worship and one of Canada's finest pipe organs, a magnificent 3300 pipe Casavant opus.



Church Address

Central United Church
160 Spring St
Sault Ste Marie, ON P6A 3A5
Canada
Phone: (705) 253-3264
Fax: (705) 253-4786
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Church Pastor

Rev. Laurie Milito
Rev. Laurie Milito
Lead Minister
160 Spring St
Sault Ste Marie, ON P6A 3A5
Canada
Phone: (705) 253-3264
Fax: (705) 253-4786
Download Lead Minister Rev. Laurie Milito vCard   Edit



Quote of the Day
John 15:16

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

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Rev. Laurie Milito   Edit
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Martha Chiarella   Edit
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160 Spring St, Sault Ste Marie, ON
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Central United Church Sault Ste Marie Service Times

Join us for worship at 10:30am Sundays.

Coffee and Fellowship after the service

Service Times last updated on the 8th of July, 2020
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History of Central United Church Sault Ste Marie

"I walked across the portage and stood on the shores of vast Superior. I am now past the bounds of civilization, all ahead is both a natural and moral wilderness. May God make me the honoured instrument in preaching Christ to thousands of the beknighted sons and daughters of these wilds."

These words were written in his journal by George M. McDougall on July 23, 1851, as he came to the end of his journey from Owen Sound to Sault Ste. Marie, to begin his missionary work among the Indians at Garden River. From there, Rev. McDougall and his successors looked after the growing Methodist community at Sault Ste. Marie. Reverend J. Caroll, DD., writing of McDougall in the Canadian Methodist magazine stated that

"the history and achievements of this somewhat extraordinary man are of a character to show 'how men are made', to illustrate the providence of God, to exemplify the genius of Methodism and to teach other important lessons."

In addition to his work at Garden River McDougall had supervision of the Methodist work east to Bruce Mines and west to Sault Ste. Marie. In the winter of 1853, an account in his journal tells of one of his tours, "with my blanket, provisions, snowshoes and a faithful Ojibway for a companion I started out."

P.S. Church, who had frequently assisted him with lumber, oxen and other favours said of McDougall,

"McDougall found them pagans, and utterly debauched from the effects of liquor, sold to them by the Sault traders. He had already overthrown that demon as the dominant influence, had instituted industrious habits, had established a school, had organized a church and among his converts was an old chief, who had been previously crippled by falling into a fire in his lodge when drunk, and having his hands permanently mutilated, who was now a devout believer and leading an exemplary life."

The history of Central United Church would not be complete without acknowledgement of the tremendous contribution made by this pioneer missionary, whose convictions, courage, and perseverance laid the foundations for the first Methodist community in Sault Ste. Marie.

In 1864 Reverend Samuel Down was sent to the district. While still residing at Garden River, he is the first Wesleyan Methodist minister listed for Sault Ste. Marie.

The Methodist meetings in Sault Ste. Marie were held at what is presently known as the Ermatinger Old Stone House, then the residence of Sheriff W. H. Carney.Mr. Carney, who also used the house as a courthouse, used to take the service himself when no minister was present. In 1867 two ministers looked after the Methodist interests in this area, Reverend Down at Garden River and Reverend Samuel Fear at Sault Ste. Marie. The two missions were officially separated in 1871 when Garden River became an "Indian Mission" and Sault Ste. Marie a "Domestic Mission". Reverend Thomas Cleworth took over the congregation at Sault Ste. Marie, in 1872.

A frame building had been erected on the northeast corner of Pim and Queen streets in 1870 to accomodate the growing congregation. In 1872 the first parsonage was erected on Church Street. The church was enlarged some twenty years later by an addition at the rear to accommodate the increasing Sunday School attendance. A steeple was also added.

Even with the additions it was becoming obvious that the congregation was outgrowing the existing church building. In early 1897 the congregation purchased the present site of Central United Church at the corner of Spring and Albert streets for $700 and started making plans for building a new church. A building committee consisting of W. H. Hearst (who became premier of Ontario in 1914), Dr. Shannon, and Mr. Farwell was established in February of 1897. The committee was instructed to contact six of the "best architects" and ask them to submit plans for a church with a seating capacity of 450 on the ground floor. The building was also to include galleries.Total cost of the building was not to exceed $7500.

By March 1897 the building committee was concentrating on the plans of Mr. Henry Simpson, an architect from Toronto. At the meeting of Trustees held March 23, 1897 the trustees referred the sketches back to the architect with a request that he alter the exterior to show a church more massive in appearance and of a style of architecture more "indicative of Methodism". The architect was also instructed to remove as many of the porches shown in his sketch as possible and to revise the seating arrangement in the manner suggested by the building committee. All action regarding the appointment of an architect was deferred until Mr. Simpson had an opportunity to resubmit his plans.

Further alteration to the sketches were made by the Trustees in May of 1897, including the removal of yet another porch. The May meeting of Trustees also moved to defer building a new church at the present time. In July of that year the new plans by Mr. Simpson showing an above ground school room were accepted by the Trustees. At the November 25, 1897 meeting it was reported that Mr. Simpson would be willing to accept $75 as payment in full for the work done to date, and that he would complete the plans and specifications at a future date, as needed. The treasurer was instructed to pay Mr. Simpson as soon as funds permitted. It would seem the Methodist congregation was having financial problems. A subscription drive for a building fund was also started around this time.

By July 1899 the Trustees were considering going ahead with building only a Sunday School Room at the new church site. However, it was not until December 1899 that the building committee was authorized to procure plans for a school room with a seating capacity of 450. At the same December meeting an offer by Mr. F.H. Clergue to purchase an additional plot of land 24 feet by 100 feet adjoining the church and to donate it to the church was accepted, provided Mr. Clergue supplied proof of title.

A subscription fund for the school room was started early in 1900. The contract for building the school room was awarded to Isaac Taillifer in July 1900 for $6445. Building stone was obtained from the ship canal. Over 250 cords of stone were hauled by horse and wagon at $2.25 per cord. The building was completed in the same year and the corner stone layed in July 1900 by the Honourable William Mulock, K.C., Postmaster General of Canada. The building was dedicated by the pastor, Rev. S. G. Stone, on March 10, 1901. In November, 1900, arrangements were begun for selling the existing church on Pim and Wellington. An agreement to sell it to Mr. W.H. Plummer for $2200 was transferred to the Public School Board on March of 1901. Final arrangements for the sale were completed in July 1901.

In March 1901 the parsonage on Church Street was also placed on sale for $1600. Mr. George Stone purchased it later that year for $1500. A committee was then established to arrange for plans for a new Parsonage. James Thomson, a Sault Ste. Marie architect was chosen.The parsonage was to be located on the plot of land previously donated by Mr. Clergue. However, it took two calls for tenders before the contract for the construction of the parsonage was awarded to Mr. A. C. McLeod on July 8, 1901. The new parsonage was ready for occupation in January 1902.

Later that year the congregation received a donation of $5,000. from the estate of Mr. Hart A. Massey for the purpose of building a new church. This donation was on condition that the new church cost not less than $20,000 on which the congregation would contribute $5,000 at the start, and that the mortgage on the new building not exceed $10,000. A time limit for building the new church was also imposed as part of the conditions. On June 19, 1902 the building committee was authorized to secure sketches and estimates of probable costs for a church adequate to the needs of the congregation. A committee was also established to carry out a subscription fund for the new building.

Preliminary sketches by Mr. H. Simpson of Toronto were chosen on December 10, 1902 from amongst three submissions, and Mr. Simpson was asked to complete the plans sufficiently enough to call for tenders. It is unclear whether these were new plans by Mr. Simpson, or were the plans sketched in 1897. Apparently Mr. James Thomson also submitted sketches, for at the December 17, 1902 meeting the Trustees thanked Mr. Thomson for his sketches, adding that while they did not accept them they appreciated his services just the same. In May 1903 the tenders were opened, the lowest one being for $29,150. The matter was then referred back to the architect since he had been instructed to prepare plans for a church costing $20,000. Reverend James Allen was also instructed to contact the executers of the Massey estate to see if the conditions of the donation could be altered so that a mortgage of more than $10,000 would be allowed, and that the time frame for building the church be extended. The Sault Star reported in February 1903 that the final plans called for a structure costing nearly $25,000 and having a seating capacity of 1000, which could be increased to 1500 by opening folding doors to the existing school room. On June 25, 1903 the Sault Star reported that Mr. Thomson was revising the plans and that fresh tenders would be called. On July 15, 1903 the contract for the church was given to Mr. George Hughes for $17,340. Mr. James Thomson was also retained as the local architect to supervise the work. The cornerstone was laid by Sheriff Carney on September 7,1903, but the collapse of the Consolidated Lake Superior Company and the subsequent depression interrupted the work the very next month.

In December 1904 a new building fund to collect subscription for the church was re-started. Building operations were resumed in March of 1905. At this time the trustees decided that it was inadvisable to attempt more than the completion of the auditorium, leaving the building of the tower, vestries and parlour for a later time. The auditorium was completed and dedicated on February 18, 1906. The school room and auditorium being completed, the trustees in 1907 resolved to add the tower. The plans called for the tower to be 20 feet square and 70 feet high. It was to provide the main entrance to the church proper and to the gallery. Mr. A. C. McLeod was again awarded the contract for $5275.

In 1910 McIntyre, Haining and Kelly were engaged to build a northeast addition to the Sunday School room containing the vestries, kitchen and meeting rooms. A basement room was also added at a later date again because of the need for space.

In 1925 the church voted to join the union of the Methodist, Congregationalist and Presbyterian churches, and the Church was renamed Central United Church.   Edit


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The power of Christian prayer The way, the truth, and the life
Lord Jesus, thou who art the way, the truth, and the life; hear us as we pray for the truth that shall make all free. Teach us that liberty is not only to be loved but also to be lived. Liberty is too precious a thing to be buried in books. It costs too much to be hoarded. Help us see that our liberty is not the right to do as we please, but the opportunity to please to do what is right.
This page was last updated on the 8th of July, 2020
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