St Paul’s History

1845 – 2020

When Aaron Price came to Aylmer in 1840 from St. Williams, in Norfolk, he was disappointed to find no Methodist Church. Being an enterprising young man, he found several families interested in forming a church, and arranged to hold a service in the schoolhouse in 1845.  However, when the group assembled at the school, they found it locked.  Undaunted, Mr. Price mounted a tree stump and preached from there, inspiring the group to form a Methodist Church.  Services were held in a carriage paint shop on the main street until a frame church was completed in 1847 on the southeast corner of Queen and Sydenham Streets.

By 1873, the congregation was outgrowing the little frame church, and construction began at the present site at Talbot and Queen Streets.  The Rev. Egerton Ryerson was the guest preacher at the dedication service in October 1875. The church, similar in plan to Metropolitan Wesleyan Church in Toronto, seated more than 700 persons, boasted a 156 foot steeple and was reported to have cost $21,000.  A manual pipe organ was installed by the Johnson Organ Company of Boston at a cost of $1,300.  Through the years the organ has been enlarged, modernized and carefully maintained, but the original Great pipes are still in use.  Up to 1918, the pews were rented at $9. A year. Balcony seats were free.

In 1897 the basement was excavated to provide classrooms for an expanding Sunday School.  About the same time it was necessary to lower the steeple by 50 feet because of rotting wood in the base.  Unfortunately, the tower had to be lowered again in 1937 and in 1949.  In 1923, a steam heating system was installed and an annex built on the north to house the boilers and provide a ladies’ parlour.  That same year the sanctuary was beautified by the addition of 13 stained glass memorial windows.

In the summer of 1955, the sod was turned for the new Christian Education building.  It was completed in 1956, and contained an auditorium and stage, Fellowship Room, church office, classrooms, kitchen and washroom facilities.

Through the years St. Paul’s has grown through union with others.  In 1876 the New Connection Methodist joined.  Then, the Episcopal Methodist, who built the present Trinity Anglican Church building, joined in 1884.  Knox Presbyterians began meeting with St. Paul’s congregation in 1923, and became fully united when church union occurred in 1925.  Later many members from Orwell and Summers Corners were welcomed when the smaller churches closed.

In 1995, St. Paul’s celebrated the 150th anniversary of the congregation by making the building wheel chair accessible, and publishing a complete history, “A Journey of Faith…1845-1995 .

The year 2000 marked the 125th anniversary of the church building, which now includes extensive libraries of books and videos for adult and children, a modern sound system and computerized office.  The heating system was updated to be more cost efficient in 2001.  In 2002 the kitchen was expanded and updated and a video screen added to the Sanctuary. In 2019 our Sanctuary was revitalized with a new sound board as well as a platform renovation to allow accessibility for all. 

Choirs and Praise Team now share in the ministry of music, but the big old Bible on the pulpit remains the focal point.

The steeple may be gone but the Spirit lives on.