OUR MISSION STATEMENT
We the people of Tecumseh United Church believe that we are called to be a circle of ministry that welcomes and includes all, honours the gifts of each, recognizes the need of all for forgiveness and grace, and nourishes all in the faith walk to which we are called. As such, we are committed to creating a community where all people are welcome to participate in every aspect of the life and ministry at TUC, regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, differing abilities, ethnic background or economic circumstance.
MEET THE TEAM
Rev. Robin Sherman holds a BA in Family and Social Relations from the University of Windsor and a Master of Divinity degree from Queens Theological College in Kingston. Originally from Essex County, Rev. Robin was ordained in 2006 and has served congregations in Saskatchewan, Prince Edward County, Brampton and returned home to Tecumseh United in early 2014.
MUSIC DIRECTOR & ORGANIST
Henry has been the organist and choir director at Tecumseh United since 2004 and, if you were to ask him, he gladly admits that among the churches he has been music director at in the area, Tecumseh United is his absolute favourite!
Henry is a published composer (Cypress Choral, Vancouver and Frederick Harris, Oakville). He enjoys travel, reading, walking the Green Way, meeting with friends and of course, writing music.
SECRETARY & CUSTODIAN
Heather provides administrative support to the Minister and is the
friendly voice and face that will greet you! Coming up on 20 years as a church secretary originally starting at Lincoln Road United. Heather currently also works at Emmanuel United Church.
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OUR BOARD MEMBERS
Board Chair - John McIntosh
Board Vice-Chair - Jo-Anne Neilson
Secretary - Jerry Neufeldt
Treasurer - John Cafe
Christian Education - Lynn Symons
Ministry and Personnel - Ernest Rolfe
Property & Maintenance - Andy Mantha
Communications - Jill Buckles
Mission & Outreach - Edith and Jerry Neufeldt
Trustees - Doug Webb
Finance - Jo-Anne Neilson and Bill Johns
Nominating Committee - John McIntosh
Worship - Ian Phillips
Regional Council - Diane Skomash
THE HISTORY OF TECUMSEH UNITED CHURCH
Much of the below history, up until 1977, was adapted from a book entitled "Tecumseh United Church - The History of a Church, its People and the Area in Which it Developed" written by congregation member A.V. Graham. The book was written along with a team of researchers to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Tecumseh United Church at it's current location on Lacasse Boulevard which occurred on December 11, 1977. Any inaccuracies were without intent on the part of the research team.
The history of Tecumseh United Church traces back to the beginning of the Tecumseh area and the beginning of the first Protestant Church in Tecumseh, Ontario. Records show that from 1816 there were settlers along the south shore of the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair from Amherstburg to Jeanettes Creek. About the year 1838 the old Tecumseh Trail along the shores was abandoned and a similar trail was copied further inland which is now Tecumseh Road. When the Great Western Railway, now known as the Canadian National Railway was opened from London to Windsor in 1854, all of this area was practically wilderness. About 1856 the Great Western Railway built a station just west of Lesperance Road crossing. At about the same time a mission was built near the station – then called Ryegate which several years later was changed to Tecumseh in honour of the great Chief Tecumseh.
The pioneers, who always wanted to be close to a Church, started to gather and build around the mission, near the station where all business and travel centered. If anyone wished to travel in those days, it was usually by train. Soon the first post office was established at the north east corner of Tecumseh and Lesperance Road.
The residents living along the shores of the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair in this area attended services at the Scotch Settlement, now known as Puce. Services were held in various homes with Ministers coming from Windsor and Chatham on horseback. 1868 saw the erection of the first Presbyterian Church from plans drawn by a Mr. King. This Church was used until the dedication of a newer Church in 1924 which was located on Tecumseh Road immediately south of Brooker's Inn.
Among the residents that attended Church services at the Scotch Settlement was the Samuel Clapp Family who had moved to this area from Milford, Ontario. The Clapps purchased extensive lands in this area in the year 1886 and parts of these lands were to become the site of the Victoria Public School on Dillon Drive and our own Tecumseh United Church. The parcel of land for Victoria School was donated by Mr. Percy J. Clapp and the land Tecumseh United Church stands on was donated by the Clapp Family. The Clapp farm extended from the Lake Front to Tecumseh Road and was bounded on the west side by the lots on the east side of St. Pierre Street and on the west side by lots along Barry Avenue – a total of 366 acres.
The beginning of the first Protestant Congregation was held in the Victoria School in the year 1926. These services were conducted by Rev. W. Miller, rector of the Anglican Church at Essex. They were held each Thursday night until he was transferred to another parish and his successor at Essex was not able to continue these services at Tecumseh.
In the year 1927 interested parties got in touch with officials of the United Church of Canada in Windsor and through them services were resumed at the Public School each Sunday afternoon. For a time the group was served on a voluntary basis by various ministers and laymen. The Rev. R. Stewart is remembered with gratitude for his readiness to help and encourage the area worshippers. Rev. J. Morden and others also served in this way until July 1st, 1928 when Rev. R.A. Brook of the Riverside United Church held services until the end of the Conference Year on June 30th, 1929.
During the time Rev. Brook was here, he organized our first Women's Association and the first meeting was held to elect officers on July 1st, 1928 at the home of Mrs. Percy J. Clapp. The Women's Association immediately went to work raising funds for the Church and also helped in the cost of furnishing the Manse at Riverside.
As Rev. Brook was only a temporary minister, arrangements were subsequently made by Presbytery that Tecumseh should be a part of the charge of St. Paul's and Trinity. In April 1929 to prepare the way for this change, a meeting was held with a representative of Trinity Church to decide the amount of stipend to be raised by Tecumseh United. It was agreed that our congregation should raise $150.00 per year and that a like amount would be raised by Trinity Church.
Our next Minister was Rev. W.B. Barnes of St. Paul's who took over the services in July 1929 and continued as Minister until 1933. After 1933, it would appear that Rev. F.J. Fydell took charge of Riverside and Tecumseh and the two congregations were one charge until 1934. Rev. G.E. Mitchell and Rev. H.E. Moorehouse followed in 1937 and in 1938, Rev. W. Prudham (retired supply) and Rev. A.E. Waghorne served the congregation. In 1943, Rev. James McAvoy was the Minister and during his tenure the Church on St. Pierre Street was built and dedicated. The Afternoon ceremony was held June 16th, 1946 with the laying of the corner stone, with Rev. G. Everett Ashton, Minister of Ottawa United Church Windsor and President of the Presbytery, presiding. Over 200 were in attendance and during the service special music was provided by the Salvation Army Band from Essex.
The Church building on St. Pierre Street was the first Protestant Church to be built in Tecumseh and was erected after much soul-searching because there was very little money on hand – $97.00 to be precise. But, with the knowledge that the Women's Association was ready with $500.00, it was possible to start and by the time we were ready to build, the Women's Association had gathered together an amount of $1,100.00.
Consultations were held with Rev. Dr. Dorey, Chairman of the Home Mission Board of Toronto – plans were considered – and following a congregational meeting, we had a promise from Dr. Dorey that he would lay the matter before the Home Mission Board and use his Influence to secure a grant of $1,000.00 and a loan of $3,000.00 to build our Church. This promise was fulfilled and the contract was let at $6,100.00. On the Monday night after the dedication of laying the cornerstone, a tornado struck this area damaging part of the roof. A general canvass of all Protestant families in the area was taken and enough contributions were realized to finish the building by November 1946.
Every family in the community and surrounding area was canvassed and Father G. Pitre at St. Anne's Church asked the people of his parish to help us with finances for our new Church. The people of St. Anne's were most generous in their givings as were people of other faiths which was very encouraging to the canvass teams.
On June 14th, 1945, two lots were acquired on which the St. Pierre St. Church was built – one had been exchanged for the property owned by Mr. Malcolm S. Clapp redeemed by the Women's Association and the other was donated by Mrs. Ida M. Brooks in memory of her son P.O. Frank Brooks. Later, another parcel of land was acquired by the Church for parking space.
The general contractor for the new Church was Mr. Wilfred LaPorte. The building was completed about the end of October 1946 and on November 3rd, 1946, the first service was held and the new Tecumseh United Church was dedicated by the Rev. Henry Mick of Essex Presbytery.
Mrs. Minnie Ballard who had been looking after the music at Victoria School carried on as our organist until this position was taken over by Mrs. W.T. Balman and a choir was organized. Mrs. W. Mitchell was elected Sunday School Superintendent. After Tecumseh United moved into the new Church there was much to be done both inside and outside and every member of the congregation gave all the time and effort they could to accomplish the tasks.
On July 1st, 1947, Rev. J. McAvoy who was serving the dual charge of Riverside and Tecumseh was moved and Rev. G.E. Wood took over the charge.
The congregational meeting on June 18th, 1952, approved the building of an addition to the Church because of the rapid growth of the Sunday School. The original loan on the Church from the Home Mission Board was paid off in full by December 31st, 1952.
The Committee in charge arranged for a second loan of $2,500.00 from the Home Mission Board to be repaid at the rate of $500.00 yearly with interest at 4%. The work on the addition was started in the Fall of 1952 and completed by mid-summer 1953.
In 1954 Tecumseh became a separate pastoral charge with the Rev. W.H. Smith as a retired supply and a Manse was rented for our first resident Minister and was later purchased in 1955 for $12,000.00. The money was raised by a grant of $2,000.00 from the Mission Board and a loan of $3,000.00 from the same Board and the balance was paid off by money raised locally.
In 1959, the Rev. T.O. Lindsay became the first full time active Minister and before he took up residence, the Manse was repaired and decorated throughout by members of the congregation. The Women's Association took care of the cost of refurnishing the Manse for the new Minister.
In the early part of 1961, Rev. Lindsay asked to be relieved of his duties and on July 1st, 1961, Rev. J.A. Walker became Minister coming from Sandwich United Church. Through his splendid work and guidance Tecumseh United Church progressed greatly.
On July 1st, 1965, Rev. C.G. Brown took over the duties as Minister coming from Amherstburg United Church. As the congregation had increased, it was apparent that a new and larger Church was required. In 1963, a Building Fund was established and during that year a new Church site on Lacasse Boulevard was donated by the family of Percy J. Clapp, who passed away October 18th, 1955. Mr. Clapp was a dedicated church member from its commencement and was Clerk of Session for many years.
Under the leadership of Rev. Brown, steps were taken to erect a new Church in 1967. During the preparations, Rev. J.M. Boyd, Superintendent of Missions showed a great deal of interest in the planning stages and contributed a great deal of help.
In 1966, Rev. CI. Brenn of the Capital Fund Service Committee directed a successful stewardship campaign and with the great work of the committee in charge, one step successfully followed another until the dedication of the new building on December 10th, 1967.
On Sunday, May 11th, 1968 a turning of the sod and dedication ceremony was held for the new building at Lacasse Blvd. and Little River Blvd.
McGill Allan were the contractors and Mr. W. Hilliker was the architect with Rev. Brown on hand daily during the building of the Church, overseeing the construction and taking many trips out of town to procure the best of materials. On each anniversary of the Church on St. Pierre Street, a turkey dinner had been held and this event was extremely popular throughout the area and the Women's Association received much credit for making these events a grand success. On October 1st, 1967, Tecumseh United was highly privileged to be visited by the Rev. Wilfred Lockhart, Moderator of the General Council, who conducted a service of dedication and Communion at the new Church Building on Lacasse Boulevard.
The building at this time was about three quarters complete and shortly after this a number of men from the congregation under the leadership of Rev. Brown, started placing the large stone sections at the west side of the nave. Rev. Brown stepped on a loose board on the scaffold and fell fourteen feet to the cement floor causing very severe shoulder and neck injuries. He was rushed to Metropolitan Hospital by ambulance where he remained for several days and later was confined for some time at home.
On December 10th, 1968, the official opening of the new Church took place. The Rev. J.M. Boyd, Superintendent of the Home Mission Board for Southern Ontario was the guest preacher. Rev. Gordon Geiger, Chairman of Essex, also assisted in the opening ceremony, along with Rev. C.G. Brown and the Church was filled to capacity.
So many of the people of the congregation worked so hard to bring our Church to the opening ceremony, it would be difficult to thank each and every one, but one individual necessary to mention in particular is Mr. R.M. Rennie who put so much effort in the planning and financing of the building program.
Early in 1968, the old Church property on St. Pierre Street was sold and the money derived therefrom was applied to the building fund of our new Church.
In June 1969, the Trustee Board received a request from the Essex County Board of Education asking to rent the Christian Education building of the Church which rental commenced September 1st, 1969. The Board of Education took care of the insurance for the School's use of the building, plus janitorial services and this arrangement lasted until June 30th, 1971.
Much work remained to be done after the new Church was opened on the grounds and the parking lot and fund raising continued to pay for this work and the construction costs of the new Church. Minister Rev. C.G. Brown is remembered with gratitude for his untiring work and time increasing the attendance at Church and Sunday School. It has been remarked many times that if Rev. Brown had not been with Tecumseh United at the right time, new Church and Christian Educational Building would not exist.
On November 30th, 1970, Rev. Brown was appointed to a new charge in Kent County. The Rev. Dr. V. McEachran took charge of our services at that time – serving until the appointment of Rev. Ronald Barnum on May 1st, 1971. In 1971 Tecumseh and Belle River were made a dual charge by the Presbytery and this arrangement continued until September 30th, 1973.
During 1975 bequests from the Chenoweth and Kull Estates totalling $29,146.19 were gratefully received and part of that money was used to pay for extensive renovations on the Manse and to make part payment on the new Baldwin organ that was installed as the old organ was beyond repair.
In 1973 our congregation was proud to recommend Mr. Tom Watson as its first candidate for the Ministry.
Tom was responsible for the introduction of the TUC NEWS in the Spring of 1972. In 1974 a new Constitution and Restructuring took place and this new system proved to be very beneficial.
In 1973, under the direction of Rev. Barnum, a Gourmet Club was formed for those Church members interested in fine food and sociability. This Club served as an additional purpose in donating financial help to various Church projects.
A new platform arrangement was added to the choir loft, new carpeting installed in the loft, stairwell and choir room, and a new sound board and ceiling lighting in the choir loft added to greatly increase its effectiveness. A new filing system was also devised for the Music Library. The Choir has become well known throughout the district for its excellence under the leadership of Rev. Barnum, himself an outstanding tenor, and his wife Jane Gerrie Barnum for her excellent work as organist. For several years the Choir hosted the Annual Barbeque which had become a great success locally. In addition to the Senior Choir and the Junior Choir, a new singing group “The Plus Four” added a new dimension to our services with their unique singing style. The combined Choirs cut a very successful record in February 1977 to raise money for the organ fund and the sales were most gratifying.
A new stage was added to the C.E. building and the ceiling lowered and insulated to improve the acoustics and lower the cost of heating the building. Sunday School attendance steadily increased.
The United Church Women, formerly the Women's Association, continued to hold regular meetings. Members gave unstinting support to Congregational meetings, pot luck suppers, coffee hour after Church service and the highlight each year was their Tinsel Bazaar. This group contributed much financially to the Church each year and without their help it would have been difficult for the church to operate.
On December 11th, 1977, the 10th Anniversary of Tecumseh United Church on Lacasse Boulevard was celebrated – a very special occasion for all members. At the service Mr. C.M. Clapp spoke in honour of Rev. C.G. Brown on his loyal and splendid planning and work while this Church was being built. The film “A World of God’s People” was shown and the new organ was dedicated by Dr. Moorehouse in memory of Mrs. Marion Chenoweth and the E.C. Kull Family and was received on behalf of the Congregation by A.V. Graham. The new hymn books were dedicated by Dr. Moorehouse and received on behalf of the congregation by Mrs. G.M. Clapp.
The history of Tecumseh United Church past 1977 is currently being compiled.
Please check back soon.