Grace United Church (former Methodist Church) Wesleyan Methodist preachers from the Shannonville circuit began visiting Deseronto (or Mill Point, as it was then known) in the 1860s. In 1868, the Union Church was constructed in St. George Street, where Anglicans worshipped in the morning, Presbyterians in the afternoon, and Methodists in the evening. The separate congregations soon planned their own buildings, with the Methodists being the first to build a church. Located at the corner of Thomas and Fourth Street, the Gothic Revival style building was constructed of red brick and completed in 1877 as a Methodist Episcopal church as documented by the stone plaque on the south (Fourth Street) side of the tower. At the time there were four streams of Methodist churches in Canada which united in 1884. By 1885 there were 223 members on the church roll in Deseronto. In 1925 many Methodist , Presbyterian and Congregationalist congregations merged to create the United Church of Canada. In common with the majority of Presbyterians, Deseronto’s congregation voted against union [site 34]. Architecture An 1895 photograph of the church taken by Herbert A. Osborne (himself a Methodist) shows the tower topped by a spire. Also visible are the original window, and entrances on the west (Fourth Street) wall and at the base of the tower. The seating is arranged amphitheatre style, with curved pews and the floor sloping down to the pulpit, with prominent placement of the choir and organ. This was popular in late-19th century Methodist churches as the denomination emphasized music in the service. A gallery at the back of the church provided extra seating and was probably added after the original construction as the original large, single window on the west was replaced with three separate windows placed higher on the wall. The spire was destroyed in 1905 when a fire started in the tower, caused by combustion of a workman’s cleaning materials. A ca. 1910 postcard shows the spire was not replaced but the tower was raised and capped by a crenellated parapet. Other post-fire modifications show an enclosed porch at the west end of the church, the door at the foot of the tower replaced by a window, and a large Sunday School extension at the east end of the building constructed in 1900. At the very end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries urban Methodist churches often created a two-storey, U-shaped (or polygonal on one side) layout for the Sunday School which also allowed for physical recreation on a sprung, gym-like floor. Classrooms were arranged around the perimeter at the ground level, while the central space was open and rose two-storeys with a viewing gallery at the second level. The classrooms had moveable partitions that could open to the central space. Although a drop ceiling has reduced the interior to a single storey, this arrangement appears to be present in Grace United Church, Deseronto—as demonstrated by sealed upper level windows visible on the exterior. Extensive renovations were made to the interior of the church in 1955, when the Rev. Wesley Neelands was the minister. At that time, the chancel and organ were rebuilt, the latter paid for by Dr Frederick Clement (1892-1979) of Cleveland, Ohio, in memory of his parents, George (1856-1944) and Mary (née Porter, 1863-1954 ). George was a contractor who built a number of Deseronto’s houses and was also a member of Deseronto Town Council. In the 1970s the Sunday School was named Stover Hall after Percy Stover (1880-1971), a local grocer and his wife Gertrude (née snider, 1880-1972), who were both active members of the church all their lives. The Clements and Stovers are all buried in Deseronto Cemetery.

(Click on the image above for a closer look.)

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Grace United Church (former Methodist Church)

Wesleyan Methodist preachers from the Shannonville circuit began visiting Deseronto (or Mill Point, as it was then known) in the 1860s. In 1868, the Union Church was constructed in St. George Street, where Anglicans worshipped in the morning, Presbyterians in the afternoon, and Methodists in the evening.

The separate congregations soon planned their own buildings, with the Methodists being the first to build a church. Located at the corner of Thomas and Fourth Street, the Gothic Revival style building was constructed of red brick and completed in 1877 as a Methodist Episcopal church as documented by the stone plaque on the south (Fourth Street) side of the tower.

At the time there were four streams of Methodist churches in Canada which united in 1884. By 1885 there were 223 members on the church roll in Deseronto. In 1925 many Methodist , Presbyterian and Congregationalist congregations merged to create the United Church of Canada. In common with the majority of Presbyterians, Deseronto’s congregation voted against union [site 34].

Architecture

An 1895 photograph of the church taken by Herbert A. Osborne (himself a Methodist) shows the tower topped by a spire. Also visible are the original window, and entrances on the west (Fourth Street) wall and at the base of the tower. The seating is arranged amphitheatre style, with curved pews and the floor sloping down to the pulpit, with prominent placement of the choir and organ. This was popular in late-19th century Methodist churches as the denomination emphasized music in the service. A gallery at the back of the church provided extra seating and was probably added after the original construction as the original large, single window on the west was replaced with three separate windows placed higher on the wall.
The spire was destroyed in 1905 when a fire started in the tower, caused by combustion of a workman’s cleaning materials. A ca. 1910 postcard shows the spire was not replaced but the tower was raised and capped by a crenellated parapet. Other post-fire modifications show an enclosed porch at the west end of the church, the door at the foot of the tower replaced by a window, and a large Sunday School extension at the east end of the building constructed in 1900.
At the very end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries urban Methodist churches often created a two-storey, U-shaped (or polygonal on one side) layout for the Sunday School which also allowed for physical recreation on a sprung, gym-like floor. Classrooms were arranged around the perimeter at the ground level, while the central space was open and rose two-storeys with a viewing gallery at the second level. The classrooms had moveable partitions that could open to the central space. Although a drop ceiling has reduced the interior to a single storey, this arrangement appears to be present in Grace United Church, Deseronto—as demonstrated by sealed upper level windows visible on the exterior.
Extensive renovations were made to the interior of the church in 1955, when the Rev. Wesley Neelands was the minister. At that time, the chancel and organ were rebuilt, the latter paid for by Dr Frederick Clement (1892-1979) of Cleveland, Ohio, in memory of his parents, George (1856-1944) and Mary (née Porter, 1863-1954 ). George was a contractor who built a number of Deseronto’s houses and was also a member of Deseronto Town Council.
In the 1970s the Sunday School was named Stover Hall after Percy Stover (1880-1971), a local grocer and his wife Gertrude (née snider, 1880-1972), who were both active members of the church all their lives. The Clements and Stovers are all buried in Deseronto Cemetery.

Gothic Revival Style

This style was inspired by buildings from medieval Europe. Initially introduced in Canada in the 1820s-1830s , the style persisted across Canada for over a century, especially in religious architecture. Identified by features such as the pointed arch for door and window openings, buttresses and pinnacles, the style evolved through various stages: the rational phase promoted by a group of British theologians known as the Ecclesiologists; the High Victorian Gothic phase, which sanctioned polychromy, asymmetry, texture and picturesque effects; and the beaux-arts phase, which witnessed a return to symmetry and monumentality.

Grace United Church
The most prominent features of the Gothic Revival style in Grace United Church are the pointed arches of the doors and windows, the label moulds—a trim following the outline of the arch in brick walls (originally to deflect rain from the opening), and the round or rose window over the main entrance. However, these are decorative features which are transferable to any building form which, in the traditional Methodist tradition was a basic rectangle with a gable roof as seen with the original structure. The Gothic Revival qualities are more pronounced with the asymmetrical tower, particularly with its original highly attenuated spire that gave a picturesque quality that was highly desired in English speaking Canada in the 19th century. The loss of the spire and its replacement with a crenellated parapet gave a heavier quality to the building, while the Sunday School addition added a feature that speaks specifically to the Methodist tradition in Canada.