Kars, ON, Canada
Trinity United Church, in Kars, was originally a Methodist church with roots going back to the early 1800s as part of the Rideau Circuit. In 1860, North Gower was formed into a separate circuit comprised of North Gower, Malakoff, Wellington (present day Kars) and Manotick.
It is now one point of the two-point charge, Osgoode-Kars Pastoral Charge of the United Church of Canada.
The first building on this site, land donated by Robert and Margaret Eastman, was officially dedicated on March 10, 1861. It was a wooden structure, 30' x 60' with capacity for 150 people.
The current building, known as Wellington Methodist Church until Church Union in 1925, was completed in 1895. The locally quarried stone building was designed in the Gothic Revival style with a flat mill-cut stone trim of an earlier time.
Two distinctive front entry porches invite worshipers and village visitors. Trinity was designated as a Heritage Building by the Rideau Township Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee (LACAC) in 1983.
The bell tower contains an 1896 bronze cast bell approximately 3 feet in height and 3 feet in diameter that still rings every Sunday morning.
The church bell was donated by Mr. John Greer just a short time before the church was dedicated in March 1896. It is inscribed Trinity Methodist Church, of Kars, Carleton Co. March 19, 1896 and was manufactured by the E.W. Vanduzen Co. Of Cincinnati.
In early days the bell was rung continuously to signal a fire emergency in the community. Neighbours to the church had a key so they could go in to ring the bell. Older members also remember the continuous ringing of the bell to ring out V.E. Day in 1945.
The bell also rang in the new millenium.
Inside are two aisles, a central pulpit platform, and raised choir loft backed by a large original stained glass window.
Three families with early beginnings in the local Methodist Church, i.e. Chambers, Arbuckle, and Jamieson are noted in window memorials. The hardwood pews are curved; mounted on a sloping floor. Overhead, v-jointed geometric patterned panels and supporting beams show careful workmanship and the warmth of aged wood.
Interesting Facts & Ramblings
The nails that hold Trinity timbers together are square.
Trinity's church building (Wellington Methodist) debt was wiped out by three pledges of $500 each at the opening worship service in the fall of 1895.
Our church has an in-ground time capsule.
Our building is also a survey marker for Mapping and Surveys Canada. (See the north wall.)
The cement blocks in the front porches are not original but were added in the 1950's and are in their own way becoming historic because they were manufactured by Boyd Bros. in Osgoode, famous for the "Boyd Block" house.
The late Betty Dillon and her husband, Randolph remembered Randolph's father, Richard Howard Dillon describing how, in 1894, at the age of 14 years, he helped to load and drive horse-drawn wagons of stone from the quarry on Limebank Rd. to the building site for Wellington Methodist Church.
In the 30's and 40's an octopus-like monster of a wood furnace of the circulating hot air variety heated the church sanctuary. An older member recalls helping to unload wood - beautiful two foot lengths of split ash, beech and hard maple - from a farm wagon for use in the church furnace. Roy Wallace, was caretaker and fired up on Saturday afternoon. Portions of the Sunday School were also heated by circular space-heating stoves using smaller sticks of wood. Firing and snow shoveling often made Saturday afternoon and early Sunday morning a busy time.
In the days of non-carpeted wooden floors, not every penny got to the collection plate! Many dropped to the floor, rolled noisily down the sloped floor and came to a clanking stop in the depths of the large, cast iron, cold-air return register at the front of the church (now covered with plywood and carpet). Today's coin collectors would like to be on hand when the register cover is raised for floor repairs in 2100 or so.
The first Methodist Church building on this site, a wooden frame building was built by James Latimer and could accommodate 150 persons. It served as a nearby community hall after the new 1895 stone church was built.
Cemetery established on surrounding land. Named Rideauvale in 1925 with separate Trustee Board.
Present building completed
Quarry Stone by horse and wagon from Limebank area: $200.
Contractor, S. Stevenson Ottawa Masonry: $820.
One of the stonemasons, Wm Henry Craig, Carsonby
Contractor, Joseph Johnston, Carpenter: $1620.
Trim stone from Hull, O Wright Bros,: $181.
Transportation of Stone $262. (by water to Kars and wagon to site)
First wedding in the new church; Sept. 20, David Ross McCurdy and Mary Ann Fennell. Minister - Rev. Wm. Treadrea
"Drive Sheds" built on north-west corner of the church lot as shelter for horse and vehicles.
Cement floor added to basement, $10
Sunday School rooms built in basement.
Union of Methodist, Congregational and some Presbyterian churches in Canada to form United Church of Canada. Kars and Osgoode (St. James United) congregations became joint charge.
Active organizations: Sunday School, Choir, Women's Association, Women's Missionary Society, Mission Band and Young People's Union.
Major Addition: entry, washrooms, and Sunday School meeting room added to south side of building. Inside washrooms at last!
Exterior and interior sound systems installed.
"History of Trinity United" written by Audrey Renton as a Sunday School project and to mark the 50th year of the United Church of Canada.
Celebrations of 100th anniversary of church building, special services/community events/commemorative tree and time capsule planting.
Building survives severe Ice Storm of Jan. 1998 except for damaged heritage maples along south-east property line (and in cemetery)
Building shared for a few months with congregation of St. John the Baptist Anglican church, Kars, during extensive renovations to their historic building.
1975 - 2002
Changes and upgrades to organ, sanctuary lighting, carpet, heating, electrical, window maintenance, porches, masonry, grounds, shrubs, planting of a tree to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the building.
The church basement is redecorated. New carpet and paint and a good de-cluttering breathed new life into the space.
For More Information On the History of Trinity United Church:
Tweedsmuir History by the Women's Institute of Kars
Kars on the Rideau by Coral Lindsay, 1972
History of Trinity United Church by Audrey Renton, 1975
Carleton Saga by Harry and Olive Walker, 1975
Who's Where - A Guide to the Cemeteries of Rideau Township by Jim Kennedy, 1980
Trinity Memories 100th Anniversary Booklet, 1995