A Welcoming Church

Street Address : 82 Sydenham Street
Period : 1900-1950

Formerly called Sydenham Street Methodist Church, it became a United Church in 1925 after the Methodist, Presbyterian, and Congregational churches in Canada joined together to form the United Church of Canada. Designed by William Coverdale in 1851-52, this Gothic Revival stone building was expanded by Power & Son in 1887.

This was an important site for the Chinese community in Kingston, as the church actively welcomed immigrants into its congregation. Within the church there was a Chinese Department. This department was focused on recruiting Chinese immigrants, helping them to learn English and integrate into Canadian life. The “peak year” for the Chinese Department occurred in 1923, as there were 26 students and 22 teachers listed with the church, as well as 5 Chinese baptized during the year. After 1923, due to poor economics and government restrictions on Chinese immigration, the church documented a “falling off” in attendance from the Chinese community.

The church continued its history of Chinese inclusion throughout the 1960s and 1970s. In 1967, the Sydenham Street United Church introduced a Chinese Sunday service and Sunday school for Chinese-Canadian children in the afternoon. In 1968 the Sunday school used the facilities of the Sydenham Public School to conduct their lessons. Services were delivered in Chinese dialect for new immigrants to Kingston.

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