This is the story of how VCC came about as per our own late special friend and one of the first members of our church, Mabel Patterson.
“The Apostolic Church in Montreal really started when two men, Mr. William Evans and Mr. Nally, along with Mrs. Evans and her brother emigrated from Wales to Montreal to work at the Royal Victoria Hospital. They held services in their own home which Norma’s father and Mabel’s mother attended.
In the meantime, a group of Pentecostal Christians, formerly members of the Drummond Street Church, were without a pastor, so Willie Evans suggested that the Apostolic Church, with headquarters in Toronto, could supply a Pastor under the Apostolic banner. They all agreed and Pastor Noot, the President of the Church in Toronto came on loan to fill in.
The first church building was at the corner of Bleury and Mayor Streets, right downtown, which had been used by a group of Holiness Christians. The church was by no means posh, and all the Elders, seven of them, sat on the platform, which barely held them. However, there was a nice small fenced-in plot right on Bleury Street, so an openair meeting was held there outside every Sunday just before the evening service. Norman Rideout’s father was always there giving his testimony. They had no mikes in those days so you needed good lungs to be heard.
In September 1938 Pastor George Evans with his wife and young son, Gareth, arrived from Wales at the Port of Montreal, and he was the first pastor of the Apostolic Church in Montreal. There was also a group of French speaking people who sat at the back of the church with their own interpreter. Claude Belec is a grandson of the leader of that group. The first wedding in the little church was a french couple- Claude’s aunt and uncle.
In January 1941 Pastor Poole, his wife and family, Barbara, John and Peter arrived from Wales, also by boat. It was a terrible time to cross the ocean as the war was raging and the U-boats plentiful, but the Lord brought them over safely.
While here, Pastor Poole had a choir of all the young people with practices after the young people’s service every Friday evening. We had four part harmony, but the boys singing bass could not read music, so the altos, in practice, stood behind them and sang the bass loudly in their ears until they got it. They sang some lovely Cantatas for Easter and Christmas. Regardless of how good or bad they were, the congregation loved them.
In the meantime Pastor Will Gummer with his wife and young son had escaped from France on the last boat to Britain. They had been missionaries in France. They were sent to Montreal in 1941 to begin the French Apostolic work, which was started in Cote St.Paul. The church grew in several different locations until they bought a church in the North End on Dante St. This was really in Little Italy, so it was eventually sold and they purchased one in a French neighbourhood in the North East of Montreal.
The little church on Mayor and Bleury was sold around 1948 for $27,000 which was a lot of money back then. As we were only renting, we had to move to another location, but a good many of us received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit in that little church basement and to us it was a holy place.
As a good many of the congregation were living in Verdun, it was decided to buy a piece of land there and have a church built. A lot was purchased on Gordon Ave. and while awaiting the construction, we held services in the YMCA which was right next door at that time.”
What a beautiful account of where our church began, thank you to Mabel for keeping this wonderful piece of our history and for Sheila Patterson for sharing this with us.
Today, we are called Verdun Community Church and we are part of the Apostolic Church in Canada.