June 14 1935
Another milestone in the splendid history of Washington United church, Scarboro, one of the oldest preaching stations in the province, will be marked Sunday and on the following Sabbath by special services, which includes the dedication of five memorial windows and beautiful new lighting equipment.
The congregation is celebrating the 132nd anniversary of Scarboro as a preaching place, the 97th year as an organized congregation [erection of the original church building] and the 50th anniversary of the erection of the present imposing church building.
The clergyman who officiated at the special dedicatory service half a century ago, two who have been members since that time and a man who, as a boy of four years, was the first to find a pew in the then new building, will be outstanding figures at the unique triple celebration.
Was Student Pastor
Taking part in the services will be Rev. Dr. J.T. Caldwell, now of 83 St. Germaine Ave., who was student pastor when the church was erected. Members of the congregation at the time of the opening who will attend the special celebrations are Mrs. Levi Annis, Scarboro, and Mrs. W.H. Fawcett, 44 Fenwick Ave. With them will be William T. Heron, Pickering, another life-time member, who as a lad of four, because he chanced to arrive half an hour early at the dedicatory service, was the first to take his place in the church. He has occupied the same pew since.
In his 70s Rev. Dr. Caldwell recalls easily the building and opening of the church half a century ago. "I was a student preacher and I was enthusiastic about the new church" he related. "As the history and progress of the church shows, the early members were a lot of strong men and women. They all worked together to build the church."
Besides Rev. Dr. Caldwell, who has filled many important posts since his ministry in Scarboro, a number of preachers who were destined to achieve prominence in the Methodist and United Church have occupied the pulpit of the historic church. Former pastors include: Rev. Chancellor C.W. Flint, chancellor of Syracuse University; Rev. Stanley Annis, until recently a missionary and now pastor of Woodbine Heights church; Rev. Harold Toye, now of Kingston Road church; Rev. George H. Dix, Boharm, Sask., and others.
During the 50 year period there have been 13 ministers, six Sunday school superintendents and four recording stewards. During the past two years the church has made splendid progress under the pastorate of Rev. J.C. Torrance, who has spent much effort towards making the golden jubilee anniversary services a memorable event.
Strict in Old Days
"They must have been very strict about members attending service in the old days" commented Rev. Mr. Torrance, referring to the minutes of early "official board" meetings which he has studied during the preparation of data concerning the anniversary.
"Members used to be dropped from the church rolls for 'non-attendance at class meetings'" stated Mr. Torrance, citing an old minute book. "When members wished to join the church they were received 'on trial'."
During his investigation of church records, Mr. Torrance discovered a large red poster announcing a garden party in 1890 which featured a "display of fireworks presented by Prof. Hand of Hamilton." The poster, in excellent state of preservation, brought back vivid recollections to Mrs. Annis. "No one realized that the horses, dozens of them tied up to hitching posts, had never heard such noises, and when the fireworks banged off pandemonium reigned" she recalled.
"The horses broke loose and stampeded all over the place, causing destruction everwhere" related Mrs. Annis. "To make matters worse a thunderstorm broke at the same time. Many of the horses ran for miles down the road. The garden party broke up with everyone angry. We had no more fireworks displays after that experience."