The year was 1955.
The area where St. Paul’s United Church now stands, known then as Suffolk Park, was part of Trafalgar Township. New subdivisions were springing up, with a few streets already established west of Fourth Line. St. John’s in downtown Oakville, and Walton Memorial in Bronte were the two United Churches closest at hand for residents of this area.
In the fall of that year, interested folk were invited to a meeting at St. John’s to consider forming a new congregation in Suffolk Park. The enthusiasm generated at that meeting was enough to set in motion the work of establishing a new United Church. The encouragement, leadership and tangible support given in abundance by St. John’s United Church and its minister, The Rev. James Terry, and the foresight of Halton Presbytery Church Extension Council, in purchasing the parcel of land earlier, deserve mention here. Their considerable contributions gave the project momentum. A temporary building, provided by the Church Extension Council, was erected in time for Christmas activities, and the Christmas Sunday Service saw it filled to capacity.
Sunday School classes were offered, starting in January 1956. The temporary building could not contain the number of children who enrolled, making it necessary for neighbours to offer their homes as meeting places for some classes. In a short time, a request was made to Halton Presbytery to constitute and charter the new, growing congregation. A service of constitution was held at St. John’s United Church on Thursday, April 26, 1956, and the new congregation, boasting 218 charter members, was formally established. At a congregational supper, a few days later, the name ST. PAUL’S, was chosen for the new church. Pastoral care to the fledgling congregation was ably and willingly provided, over the next fourteen months, by The Reverends J. Terry, H. Pawson, T. Smith, Capt. C. Nickerson and J.T. Heslop, all from St John’s United Church, until a Pastoral Relations Committee was established to seek out and recommend a suitable minister for St. Paul’s.
St. Paul’s Calls its First Minister
On July 1, 1957, at the invitation of St. Paul’s congregation, The Rev. George D. Watt arrived to assume ministerial duties, bringing with him his wife, Margaret and four children. Rev. Watt remained as our minister and friend for thirty years, until June 30, 1987.
Roots Reach Down; Buildings Reach Up
As the congregation grew in size, faith and enthusiasm, it was necessary to move out of the temporary building for worship services, and for a time, the congregation worshipped at Pinegrove Public School, and later, at W. H. Morden. Successive building programs got underway, starting in 1958, with the initial section of the Christian Education building and in 1960, the auditorium/gymnasium and classrooms were attached. In April 1966, St. Paul’s congregation worshipped in its own Sanctuary for the first time.
Ministerial Staff, Through the Years
1957-1987 The Rev. George Watt
1987-1997 The Rev. Ronald T. Hunt
1997-1999 The Rev. Bill Dearborn
1999-2008 The Rev. Paul Crittenden
2000-2018 The Rev. Lexie Chamberlain
2012-Present Deborah Laforet, Diaconal Minister
1963-1965 The Rev. J.F.A. Bewell
1965-1966 The Rev. E.A. Chester
1966-1970 The Rev. Karl Burden
1961-1974 The Rev. E.S. Yoshioka
1974-1980 The Rev. William K. Houslander
1980 -1988 The Rev. Gordon Legge
1982- 1986 The Rev. R. Edward Black
1988-1994 The Rev. Karen Inkster
1994-1999 The Rev. Barbara Curzon
1999- 2002 The Rev. Allison Playfair part time
2008-2009 The Rev. Stephen Iverson
2009-2010 Mr. Charlie Hogg
2012- present. Deborah Laforet began St. Paul’s as the Christian Education minister. In March of 2019, she moved into the role of Lead Minister.
On February 11, 2001, The Rev. Alan Harley, a member of our congregation, became the second person in the history of St. Paul’s to be honoured with the title, "Minister Emeritus". Rev. Harley passed away in March, 2007.
Celebrating a Half Century of Worship, Outreach, Service & Fellowship
From April 24, 2005, through to April 23, 2006, St. Paul's 50th Anniversary Year was celebrated in a variety of ways. The Anniversary events were made all the more memorable by the presence of former ministers, members and friends of St. Paul's who came home to share in the celebrations.
Fiftieth Anniversary Weekend (April 22 and 23, 2006) was marked with a special edition of St. Paul's Annual Spring Variety Show, an Anniversary Worship Service, and an Anniversary Luncheon.
September 2007 - A Month Full of Celebrations
Dedication of the Lift.
United Church Women Mark a Special Anniversary - 45 years.
The Rev. Stephen Iverson served as Supply Minister until September of 2009 and Charlie Hogg was with us during 2010.
This brief history is only part of the ongoing story of a very active, vibrant congregation. Stay tuned!