United Church women and church maintenance

From an article in the Daily Colonist:

Miss Irvine remembered by St. Aidan’s Congregation

At the close of the Christmas tree in connection with St. Aidan’s Presbyterian Sunday School, Cedar Hill, last Thursday evening, an address was read to Miss Margaret Irvine, church organist, by Rev. A. Fraser, Miss Dean’s presented her with a handsome case of silver spoons. Miss Irvine gave a brief response and Mrs. Taylor and Aiken gave short congratulatory addresses.

After the opening of the church in 1894, the women changed the name of the “Working Club” to the “Ladies Auxilary.” Over the years the club’s name changed many times from “Ladies Aid,” to “Ladies Guild,” to “United Church Women,” its current name. It was always the women who raised extra money when an extra cord of wood was needed for the furnace or the minister’s salary was short.

In 1912, under the direction of Mr. E.J. Merritt, the church manse was built. Again the money was raised by the women of the church through concerts, teas and ‘lantern slide’, the early version of slide shows.

A sample of early expenditures is typified in this quote from the Manager’s minute book of 1921. It states:

“The secreatary was asked to see what he could do toward securing someone to sweep out the church once a week. It was agreed that it was imposing altogether too much on the good nature of the Pastor to have him do this every week.”
No one was available to the job so on November 21, 1921 a second note was recorded”

“The secreatary was asked to see if he could secure the services of Alistair Merritt at $1.00 per month. The work required to light the fires Sundays and choir practise night and sweep and dust the church once a week. A pile of railway ties has been secured fuel. It was decided to engage someone to cut them in suitable lengths for the furnace.”

Return to History page