History of Kirk-On-The-Hill Presbyterian Church

Following a survey undertaken by the Presbytery of Niagara in 1958, services for members of the Presbyterian faith were instituted in January 1959 in Fonthill.  From January to March of that year, Sunday services were held at the old Municipal Building on South Pelham Street.  By April of 1959, the small group had moved to the Fonthill Public School.

On April 12, 1959, the congregation of “Kirk-On-The-Hill” was recognized at a service held in Fonthill Baptist Church.  Thirty-five charter members were received into the membership of the new church.

During the first year of the Kirk, the congregation was served by several ministers from the Niagara area.  On May 24, 1960, the congregation called its first minister, Reverend Charles Wynn, who served a two-point charge with West St. Andrew’s Church in St. Catharines.

In July, 1960, a site for the church building was purchased on Haist Road South in Pelham Township opposite A.K. Wigg Public School.  During the next few years, the young congregation made preparations for the construction of a church building.  Early in 1963, a contract was signed with Brooke Construction of Welland to construct the present structure.  The total cost was $66,584.00 including furnishings.

A number of significant events in the life of the Kirk occurred in 1963.  The cornerstone of the building was laid on May 12, the final service was held at Fonthill Public School on June 30, the first worship service was held in the basement of the new building on August 4, and the church building was dedicated on December 8.  In June the congregation called Reverend Thomas Mulholland.  He continued to service the congregation to the end of 1966.

The mid-sixties was a difficult period for the Kirk as the young congregation struggled to meet the new financial obligations associated with the church building.  In September 1967, the church was aligned as part of a three-point charge with Knox (Welland) and Crowland.

Under the leadership of Reverend Gerald Graham, the church began to grow.  Reverend Norman Hutchinson arrived in October of 1974 and served the two-point charge of Knox and the Kirk.

During the period from 1974 to 1986, the congregation continued to develop.  The debt on the church building was retired in 1981.   While many groups contributed to the life of the congregation during its early history, the Ladies Guild deserves special mention.   This organization through its activities and events, contributed significantly to the financial and spiritual health of the congregation.

In April 1986, Reverend Norman Hutchinson was called to Barrie Ontario.  In June of that year, the congregation petitioned the Presbytery of Niagara to designate the Kirk as a single-point charge, having the right to call its own minister for the first time.

Since 1987 the Kirk has been served by four ministers.  (Rev. Dr. S. Murray Barron, Rev. Elizabeth Kidnew, Rev. Susanne Rescorl, and Rev. Calvin Lewis.)  Additions to the church building were completed in two phases during 2003 and 2003.  In 2011 a bench location on the eastern side of the property was dedicated in memory of all former members of the Kirk.

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