A Brief History of St. Andrew’s United Church


St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in the early 1900’s.

St. Andrew’s when it was a Presbyterian Church (early 1900’s)The story of St. Andrew’s United Church began in the year 1884 when it was born in the interior of a Canadian Pacific Railway box car as an outpost of St. Andrew’s In The Pines, Mattawa.

The Presbyterian congregation quickly outgrew this structure and progressed to a log school house, then a frame building very close to the present site and finally came to rest in 1904 in the bricks and mortar of the present structure located in the heart of North Bay at the corners of McIntyre/ Cassells/ Algonquin.

Rev. Wm. J. Hewitt – The first ordained Minister at St. Andrews (1885-1888)

A large addition was added in 1952 consisting of a chapel, parlour, offices, classrooms, washrooms and gymnasium.

A new narthex at the Algonquin and Cassells entrances was built in 1963. In 1976 and 1996 history and memorial cabinets were added to this area.

The church was administered in the beginning by a Temporal Committee. After union in 1925, it became part of the United Church of Canada, and was overseen by an Official Board. Since 1971 a Church Council has been in place.

Over the past 125 years St. Andrew’s has benefited from the ministries of 21 dedicated ordained ministers.

Since 1974 a staff associate was added to the team and seven have served in that capacity, including two staff associate teams. Other members of the staff include the music director/organist and secretary. As a training congregation we have participated in the 80’s and 90’s in the internship of 18 persons from theological schools across Canada.

The laying of the cornerstones when the narthex was completed in 1963. The minister is Rev. Wesley Cope (1960-1971). The other men are elders Tom Johnston and Alf Boa.

The congregation has been an activist one for generations. The roots of the local Crisis Center, the region’s Community Counseling Centre, the former Telecare, The Bereavement Foundation of North Bay and Parents Alone all lie deep within this church with “The Open Door”.

The congregation pursues spiritual growth through a variety of worship opportunities, study groups and retreats. The outreach and inreach continue as we attempt to honour our three specific mission goals – nurturing spiritual growth, caring for creation and being with those in need.

During our 125th Anniversary in 2009, we looked back and remembered those who came before us and established the community of St. Andrew’s in the community of North Bay; we continually assess in the now, how our actions as a community of faith impact on those around us and we look to the future with faith and hope that our congregation will continue to meet the challenges of the days ahead.

(Contributed by Lois E. Carey, St. Andrew’s Church Historian)