About St. Andrew's
Note: a vacancy has been declared for 1 June 2017
St. Andrew’s United Church, worshipping in the oldest Protestant church building in Blind River, has an interesting history. In the late 1800’s the Presbyterians and Methodists of Blind River held their first services in a school across the railway tracks near the old railway stations. The “Rod Haines Company” gave the Methodists a lot to build a church on in 1900. However, a fire swept down the east side of the main street in 1916 destroying the Methodist church which had been erected where the present liquor store is. Only a pulpit chair, bible, and hymn book were salvaged, and these are presently in St. Andrew’s.
After fire, a number of Methodists joined the Baptists in town. The remaining Methodists were invited by the Presbyterians to join with them, which they did, in the spring of 1917. They worshipped in the Presbyterian Church building which was constructed on a lot donated by the “Eddy Lumber Company” in 1901. Work on the foundation began in the fall of 1901 but the superstructure was not completed until the summer of 1902. The records show that Thomas Christilaw was in charge of the work with Bert Christilaw, a Mr. Brown, Robert Grey, Thomas Craig, William Thompson, Peter Wallace, and William Lahore among those helping. There mortgage of $3,600.00 was paid off in 1908. The present manse was built originally for the Presbyterian minister in 1908.
The 1925 national church union confirmed what had already been done in Blind River with St. Andrew’s United Church. In 1935 each family at St. Andrew’s was asked to give volunteer labour or two days’ wages in cash towards the building of a Sunday School room. The total cost of the new addition was $1,575.66. This part of the church building was remodeled and enlarged in 1970 making way for “St. Andrew’s Memorial Hall”. The sanctuary was modernized as well since being built to include carpet and a uniquely crafted wooden cross by one of St. Andrew’s former ministers, The Rev. Whilly Ziegler. More recently the church’s cathedral ceiling has been “brought back” after being covered up in the 1970’s and 80’s by a lower ceiling which saved on heat. It is expected that the fans will do the same job that a lower ceiling used to do as far as energy savings, and that the revamped sanctuary will facilitate a meaningful worship experience.