A Family Church: St. Andrew’s, Barrie

St Andrews Presbyterian Church, Barrie, Ontario

A Family Church: St. Andrew’s, Barrie

The Steward family’s church in Angel of Mercy is St. Andrew’s in Barrie, Ontario. Why St. Andrew’s? The church is Presbyterian, which kept with the family’s Scottish roots.  I also used it because Presbyterian was a very large denomination at the turn of the 20th century.

History of St. Andrew’s

St. Andrew’s began in 1843. It was referred to as Barrie Presbyterian until 1898, but the name St. Andrew’s didn’t come into common use until the 1920s.

The church moved to its present location in Barrie in 1880 and held its first church service in 1883.

In the 1920s, a Sunday school annex was built as a memorial to those who died during World War I.

The church is part of the Presbyterian Church of Canada.

The Presbyterian Church

Don’t know much about Presbyterianism? Here is a short primer.

The Presbyterian church is a Protestant church with its origins in the United Kingdom, in particular Scotland. It was founded during the Protestant Reformation.

What makes the Presbyterians different from other Christian denominations?

  • They focus on lifelong learning of the scriptures and church doctrines.
  • The pastor is known as the teaching elder or the minister of the word.
  • Congregations are ruled by a council of elders (presbyters) elected by the rest of the congregation.
  • Groups of presbyters make synods, and groups of synods comprise the general assembly. These groups dictate church practices.
  • They confess their faith, but scriptures are open to interpretation.
  • Church services can vary from evangelical to informal, depending on location and the congregation.
  • There are two sacraments: Baptism and Communion.
  • Until about 120 years ago, church buildings were referred to as meeting houses. The word church referred to the congregation.

Famous Presbyterians include astronaut Buzz Aldrin, actor Ralph Waite, children’s TV host Fred Rogers and U.S. President Andrew Jackson.


Updated: 23 October 2020
Melina Druga
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Most kids have an active imagination. My imagination has stayed strong into adulthood, and I’ve funneled that creativity into a successful writing career. I write history, both fiction and nonfiction, because although your school history classes may have been boring, the past is not. My goal is to bring the past to life in all its myriad of colors.

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