Early Methodist Churches of Niagara Falls

The Lundy's Lane United Church has a long history which dates back to the construction of the little Red Meeting House on Lundy's Lane at Green's Corners in 1817.

Red Meeting House

The first travelling Methodist preacher to come to the area was the Reverend William Losee, in 1790. No preaching circuits had been established, so Rev. Losee was instructed by the New York Conference of the Methodists to preach to all who would listen, and to form classes where numbers were sufficient. The first class to be organized in the area near Lundy's Lane was at the home of Jonah Howey on Montrose Road just south of Lundy's Lane. The first meeting of this class, in 1794, marked the beginning of the Lundy's Lane congregation. Classes were established at the House home in 1806, and at the Corwin home in 1816; both of these were to the north of Lundy's Lane. In 1817, the three classes joined together and decided to build a meeting house at Green's Corners and Lundy's Lane. It was a large building, 36 feet by 56 feet, and was painted dark red, as a result of which it became known as the Red Meeting House.

The Red Meeting House became the centre of Methodism in this area, drawing members from miles around. Indeed, so influential was this early Methodist church that it hosted The Genessee Conference in July, 1820, which was attended by over 100 preachers from all parts of Canada and New York State. The number of Methodists in the area increased rapidly, and in 1843, the Methodists in Drummondville Village requested permission to hold services and Sunday School in the Drummond Hill Presbyterian Church. This request was turned down, and so the Methodists decided to erect a brick church across the street from the Drummond Hill Presbyterian Church, on the site that became the Lundy's Lane United Church. In 1846, around the time that the "New Drummondville Methodist Church" opened, the Red Meeting House was renamed the "Lundy's Lane Methodist Church." Services were held in both churches for 12 years, until it was decided that duplication of services was not necessary. Although there were many people opposed to closing their original place of worship, farewell services were held at the Red Meeting House in 1857. A stone cairn commemorating the Red Meeting House was unveiled by the Lundy's Lane Historical Society on September 14, 1936 near Lundy's Lane and Montrose Road.

New Drummondville Methodist Church

A decision to build a new Methodist Church in Drummondville was made in 1845. Land for the church was donated by John Latshaw, a prominent area architect and contractor, on condition that it be used for a Methodist Church; if the land was used for any other purpose, the land would revert back to his estate. The new church was dedicated on February 8, 1846. After the Red Meeting House closed in 1857, the New Drummondville Church was renamed the Lundy's Lane Methodist Church. In 1863, an addition was built to house the Sunday School, and class meetings were held there before and after the Sunday services, and on Tuesday evenings. By the 1880s the congregation had grown so large that a new church was necessary.

Black and White photograph of a gable-ended large church building which was on the north-side of Drummond Hill in Niagara Falls. The building is a cruciform structure and appears gothic in nature signified by the rosette window and arched windows. A bell tower stands at the right side of the building This building would be replaced, in 1961, with a post-modern structure which stands there today, although the congregration no longer meets at this location. On May 24, 1888, the cornerstone was laid for a new church, which was dedicated on November 12 of the same year. In 1892, women were first elected to the Board of Stewards which were responsible for the administration of church affairs. By 1923, a new Sunday School, including a large gymnasium and auditorium, was added to the church. The Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational Churches were united in 1925, and the name of the church was changed to the Lundy's Lane United Church. The proposal was debated and voted upon by each denomination in the area, and although the Presbyterians narrowly defeated the union, the 72 members who had supported it transferred to the Lundy's Lane United Church in July, 1925. In August, the officials at the Lundy's Lane Methodist Church resigned and awaited directions for the appointment of new officials.

In the years following the Second World War, the church grew rapidly, and in the 1950s, a massive building program was undertaken. The construction of a new Christian Education Building housing the Sunday School, a new chapel, kitchen, office, and church parlour, commenced in 1952. This building opened on September 10, 1956, at which time the parlour was named the Rose Spencer Room, for a member of the congregation who had been active in the church for many years.

The second phase of the construction project was the building of a new sanctuary. On April 2nd, 1961, the last services were held in the old church, and resumed at a new church on April 8, 1962. In the interim, the congregation met at the Niagara Falls Boys' Club on Carlton Street. By the 1970s, with the church facing declining attendance, they began offering different services to attract members. In the 1980s, the church was made wheelchair accessible with the addition of an elevator. In 1992, Kitchener Street United Church amalgamated with the Lundy's Lane United Church. The last services were held at Kitchener Street on September 27, 1992, after which everyone proceeded to Lundy's Lane United Church for the remainder of the ceremony. In 1994, Lundy's Lane United Church celebrated its 200th anniversary, and adopted a motto: "Remembering for the Future." In 2015 the Lundy's Lane United Church closed due to rising costs and further declining attendance.

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