St. Andrew’s Church
A historical narrative of St. Andrew’s Church, produced in collaboration with the Société du Musée du Grand Châteauguay.
The English-speaking community began to settle at the mouth of the Châteauguay River around 1830. Initially, a secular preacher called Charles Forest visited the residents and read the Holy Scriptures. In 1832, Reverend Alexander Gale, a Presbyterian minister based in Lachine, held meetings in the homes of some settlers. At that time, the communities of Beauharnois and Châteauguay were part of the same pastoral charge. From 1833 to 1840, Reverend Walter Roach provided regular services at the home of James Lang, located at 62 Salaberry Boulevard South. The community of St. Andrew’s was made up of 22 families at that time, including 59 children.
In 1837, construction began and the first stone church opened in 1840. The land on which it was located was given by James Lang’s sister, Mrs John Aitken. It is located at the present site of the Protestant cemetery (18A Boulevard d’Anjou). The pews were simply planks placed on crates at that time and men and women sat on opposite sides of the church.
In 1880, a second stone church replaced the first one. It was designed by the architect Alexander Hutchison and built by the contractor John Stewart and the mason Henry Nichol. Neighbours from the French-speaking community helped to transport soil from Saint-Bernard Island, which was used to construct the building adjacent to the old one.
On February 5, 1907, due to the growth of St. Andrew’s congregation, the community of Châteauguay separated from the community of Beauharnois. The church, which could not accommodate more than 200 people, was no longer large enough. A committee was formed in 1908 and decided to build a new church on the current site at 46 Rue Dupont Ouest. On August 7, 1908, the Reverend JD Anderson laid the foundation stone of the building. The new church opened its doors on March 20, 1910.
In 1925, the community joined the United Church of Canada and took the name St. Andrew’s United Church.
In 1995, a request was made to the Fondation du patrimoine religieux du Québec, which started a restoration program for churches older than 50 years. Restoration work began two years later. The roof was replaced, the stones on the bell tower were replaced, the mortar was redone over the entire surface of the church, the windows were repaired or replaced, the exterior woodwork was repaired and repainted, the front door was changed and plaster and paint work carried out inside. The restoration was completed in the spring of 1998. The St. Andrew’s Church Congregation and the United Church Presbytery of Montreal funded nearly half of the work that cost $172,000.
Arrival of the first pastor in the parish, the Reverend Walter Roach.
Construction of the first church on the site of the Protestant cemetery.
Construction of the second church on the same site as the first.
Laying of the foundation stone.
Opening of the present church.
Baptism of the first baby in the new church, Gertrude Jean Dickenson.
Celebration of the first wedding between Robert Andrew Lang and Irene Anne Meldrum.
The first Christmas tree programme was held in the church hall. This activity previously took place at the home of Ms Christina McFarlane and Mrs Peter MacFarlane.
Holding of the first funeral for George Meldrum, a veteran from the Crimean War (1854-56), who was involved in the Sepoy Rebellion in India in 1857.
Construction of the presbytery.
The community joined the United Church of Canada in 1925 and took the name St. Andrew’s United Church.
The congregation was divided into five districts: Heights, North, South, West and Central.
Addition of the Memorial Hall meeting room.
Redecoration of the temple.
Two women became ministers of St. Andrew’s United Church: Reverend Rosemary Lanibie-Brombie and Alice McAlpine.
Considerable restoration work was carried out thanks, among other things, to a grant by the Fondation du patrimoine religieux du Québec.
Annie L. Jack (author and horticulturist, see Châteauguay au fil du temps, September 2015, vol. 4 – Number 2) was the first organist of the church where she served for 25 years. Caroline Boulter and Margaret MacFarlane were instrumental in the acquisition of the organ.
Many men in the community joined the Canadian Armed Forces in the First and Second World Wars. In memory of those who perished in battle, two commemorative plaques were installed on the back wall of the church.
The back wall of the church features a quilt made by women from the parish. Made with ties, it was completed on April 28, 1999. The pattern is inspired by the book Daddy’s Ties by Shirley Botsford.
Photo of the second church (1880)
A stained-glass window representing St. George and the dragon was offered by Mr and Mrs WS Richardson in memory of their son Julius, who died overseas in June 1915. The window was installed in 1917. Another stained-glass window depicting St. Andrew and his cross was offered to the church by Major General JG Ross and his family in 1929.
Inside of the church