THE HISTORY OF SYDENHAM STREET UNITED CHURCH
Waldo Emerson made a statement “There is properly no
history-only biography-the life stories of a multitude of men
and women, boys and girls, who, down through the years have
worshiped God and enjoyed one another’s company in a variety
of wonderful ways.”
Our church has been saying to each one of us the words of
Robert Browning “Grow old with me. The best is yet to be. Our
times are in His hand who saith “a whole I planned. Youth
shows but half, trust God, see all, nor be afraid.”
The Brantford Expositor issue Thursday, December 20, 1990
carried a large article and picture of Sydenham entitled “100
Years of Religious Heritage-1890-1990”. Rev. Allan M.
Johnston, then the current minister contributed this article
as well as the preface to the book similarly entitled by
Harold B. McConachie.
Our church will celebrate another anniversary in October this
year (2001) and it is still a person oriented church where
laughter and humour are a regular part of the Sunday worship.
The church notice in the Expositor for the Fall 2001 had 6
headings to include the scope of our programs as follows:
SUNDAY SERVICES and ACTIVITIES
ACTIVITIES FOR COUPLES and SINGLES
FAITH STUDY GROUPS
J.R. Carbert was placed here 1991-1992 as an intentional
The life and work of our church and community have been guided
by 27 ministers total from the beginning to the present time.
The pictures of the clergy are on the wall in the narthex as
you enter the sanctuary. Lay ministers filled the breach in
1890 and various lay supply have helped from time to time as
needed. The lay preachers have included Stanley Jones who is
not a resident at Charlotte Villa, Brantford. We have had
other lay supply, men and women including younger persons from
our church and the community.
One special outreach project a number of years ago was the
sponsorship with Wellington and Fairview churches of a family
from Vietnam, a boat family as they were called.
We are now at the centre of activity for the Filipino
community as a church and a meeting place. These outreach
projects have done much to enrich our church life. Our
minister, Barry Pridham is very supportive and helpful to the
workers of the Caribbean community in Simcoe area. His tenure
in Jamaica in the 1980’s to 1992 has contributed to his
leadership in our support for Mission & Service.
Sydenham Church came into being in 1890 as a “Mission on the
Hill” with Wellington Street Methodist Church as sponsor and
the support and superintendence of Brant Avenue Church.
Wellington’s Church building has been demolished and Brant
Avenue is now a housing complex.
memorial windows in our church tell of various former members
who were influential in the life of Sydenham.
The “Silver Jubilee” of Sydenham was held October 3, 1915 and
it was noted that $2,249.00 had been raised for all purposes
and the minister’s salary then was $1,000.00 and a free house.
The members and adherents ratified and accepted in 1922 a plan
for a new church building on the corner of Sydenham and Dundas
Streets at a total cost of $43,880.00. The cornerstone of our
present building was laid in 1923.
The sod turning ceremony for our church annex was held on
Sunday, August 21, 1955. The cost of this building less
furnishings was $56,000.00. The opening was held on Sunday,
May 6, 1956.
The heating plant for our building was a hot water type and
this year a new boiler, energy efficient, is being installed
to produce steam in our radiator system with better results.
We are constrained some by our parking limits and we hope this
may improve in the future.
Sydenham has lost 2 centenarians in the last 15 years. Mrs.
Annie Bacon died January 12, 1984 and Mrs. Wesley Snider died
October 19, 1987.
Sydenham is the birthplace of 2 important organizations. The
Brantford Symphony Orchestra started in 1953 as a small group
that has grown to a full orchestra size. They have been
practicing in our auditorium on a Sunday afternoon and a
number of their instruments are stored here. The late Hadley
Perrin arranged for Mrs. Welthy Fisher, from India to speak at
Sydenham in support of Ghandi’s plea to help the villagers of
India. It was out of this meeting with Welthy and her sermon
that World Literacy in Canada became a reality and Hadley
Perrin became its first president in the 1950’s.
The doors of Sydenham have always been open to the community
and at the present time there are three groups meeting
regularly-Overeater’s Anonymous, Fur & Feather and Minor
Weddings and even funerals add to the use of our facilities.
The CRTC scheduled an application hearing for September 10,
2001 in Hull, Quebec to consider an application for a proposed
radio station to feature a range of styles of Christian music
on FM99.5 with the broadcast studio in Sydenham Church. If
this is approved the station may be on the air by November for
Presented by Herb Kern at Erie Presbytery September 26,