A Brief History

In the early 1800s, the Mississauga Ojibwa tribe inhabited the area along the banks of the Credit River. Peter Jones, their chief, became a Methodist minister in 1823. In addition to being a circuit rider preacher, Jones was an eloquent advocate for native land rights, in Canada and Britain. Peter Street in Port Credit honours Peter Jones.

Egerton Ryerson, a Methodist missionary, joined Jones in 1825. Ryerson set about raising funds from his contacts, and in 1826 erected a log mission house to serve as a church and school for the First Nations people. Port Credit had its first Methodist Church, on the site of the present Mississauga Golf Club.

By 1838, an influx of British immigrants and Loyalists from the USA had settled in the area and a new church was needed. The property at 151 Lakeshore Road West was deeded to the church, and by May 1849 a building was in place, with seating for 200.

Fifty years later, that building was moved intact to Port Street, and still exists, enfolded in the walls of the Mississauga Masonic Temple.

A new stone and brick church opened on the Lakeshore Road site in 1894, accommodating 350 people. In 1913 modern electric lights were installed! Church member Mrs. A. R. Clarke donated funds for the 1922 construction of adjacent Clarke Hall, to memorialize her husband who died in the sinking of the Lusitania. The congregation raised $3,000 toward the building, and for years it housed the Sunday School and was used for church and community functions. During the Depression years, the hall’s ownership was transferred to the Village of Port Credit.

Methodist Church became First United Church on its centenary anniversary, in 1925. On June 10, 1925, four denominations — Methodist, Presbyterian, Congregationalist and local Union churches, came together to form the United Church of Canada. In 1968, the Evangelical United Brethren joined the union. Traditions of each remain today.

In 1951, the large Sanctuary building was added, according to plans used by many United Churches of that time. The congregation continued to grow in numbers, and the adjacent Clarke Hall was used for the Sunday School programme until 1961, when the Christian Education Wing was added to the south side of the building.

Over the next forty years, changes in the Port Credit community and the wider world exerted their influence at First United. In 2002, the congregation was faced with a smaller membership and a large, aging building that no longer met fire code regulations. An in–depth review and extensive dialogue and exploration of possibilities ensued. The original Chapel and Christian Education building were severed and sold to two excellent new neighbours: The Freedom Centre and The Prince Edward Montessori School. A major renovation of the main Sanctuary building was undertaken.

For two years, the congregation of First United worshipped elsewhere, but stayed strongly committed to maintaining our connections to each other and being a presence in our community. We joyfully returned to our building in 2006, and welcome all to visit our wonderful new space.

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