GRACE UNITED CHURCH
Scroll down to have a look at the personal memories shared by the members of Grace Church over the years, and to learn more about Grace.
Elizabeth (Liz) Guccino
I was baptized at Grace in 1945, in my paternal grandmother's church. Her name was Mary Ethel Porter and she was a widow, who first spent the WW II years on a farm in Snelgrove, and later moved to 17 Church St. just up the road from Grace. If memory serves me well, Grandma Porter played the piano, and later, the organ, at Grace for many years. My Uncle Jim, (Dad's next eldest brother) was part of the choir and was often a tenor soloist. Jim married Blanche Fielding and they continued to live at 17 Church St. until his demise. Blanche was very fond of flowers, supplying the church, and later, delivering them to residents of local nursing homes. Grandma Porter did the same in her day, and I well recall going on these little visits with each of them.
When my parents decided to move to Sarnia in 1952, I spent an entire summer with Grandma Porter and Uncle Jim (who was still a bachelor at that time). I was just 5, going on 6, that summer, but I have many fond memories of that time and place. I stayed there, while my mother finished her employment in Toronto, and sold our house, and my Father was in Sarnia establishing a new business.
Some of my memories of the summer of 1952 involved playing hide and seek with the minister's sons (2, I think) across the road from Grandma's house. There was a large drive shed behind the manse with lots of good hiding spots. Their names escape me unfortunately. Another little girl, Jane, lived closer to the church, and she was just my age. We went to church together, and to a summer day camp, up the road, near the old tennis courts where my Uncle played often. Some evenings, we would watch him, and other times, we went to Gage Park to hear a band play.
She was a good cook, sewed, mended, and hooked rugs, took in roomers to supplement her income, grew roses like crazy, practised her piano and did the newspaper crosswords in the front parlour. Both she, and the other faithful ladies of the church auxiliary, served beautiful refreshments at family funerals and other functions. Grandma Porter was famous for her butter tarts and tea biscuits.
Grandma was also a very diligent campaigner for the Honourable William Davis, and although I lived 4 1/2 hours away from her at that time, I probably knew more about Mr. Davis than any politician in our own area, and more about his tenure as Minister of Education than any other student in Sarnia, ON. Are you, by any chance, related to this gentleman?
Of the things in her life, my grandmother’s primary attention was to her church and her responsibilities there. She was a wonderful example of faithfulness and commitment to her Lord, her duty, her country, family and friends.
In October, 1960, Lorne and I moved to Brampton with our one-year old daughter, Sandra, as Lorne had been transferred here by his job with what was then, Ontario Hydro.We had been living in East York and attending a small, new suburban church, Presteign Heights United and were impressed by the beauty of the sanctuary at Grace and by the ministry and preaching of Dr Bernard Ennals. Sandra wasn't quite as impressed at being left in the nursery and we could hear her cries, comforted by the patient care of Joyce Archdekin.
Our son, Ken, was born in June 1963, and was baptized here by Rev. Howard Pentland on September 29, 1963. He now lives in Arviat, Nunavut and works for the Department of Education as the Social Studies Curriculum Co-ordinator for Nunavut.
At some time in 1964, we were invited to join a group of couples to study the new curriculum books recently publisched by the United Church. We were six couples who met in each others' homes every Sunday night for three years. The others were Gerard and Geraldine Feltham, Cathy and Bruce Adlam, Ruth and Murray Thompson, Jean and Ralph Tindale and Barbara and George Wilson. Of these, four have died, three have moved away and five still attend Grace Church. The books were "The Word and the Way" (an introductory book) and the three study books, "God and his Purpose", "Jesus Christ and the Christian Life", and "The Church and the World". It was an amazing new way of experiencing the church for many of our group and we had great discussions. Personally, I had not attended church or Sunday School as a child, so didn't have to rethink or unlearn as much as the others. We all had young children and often brought them to each others' homes in car beds. Our daughter, Sandra, told us later that she lay in bed and listened to our discussions, probably nurturing her interest in ministry. Since we lived in a bungalow, her room was near enough to hear us. Our group also visited Tullamore Nursing Home occasionally and provided entertainment and sing-songs.
In 1968, we adopted Colleen, who was almost three years old and she was baptized by Rev. Amos. We always remember how special she felt, dancing around in her white dress. She still lives in Brampton with her two sons, Jamie and Sammy, who were both baptized at Grace.
Sandra and her husband, Bill Richards, live in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan where she is professor of Church History and Ecumenism at St. Andrew's College. Bill has recently retired from the Anglican College of Emmanuel and St. Chad as New Testament Professor.
During our 56 years at Grace, Lorne and I have both been involved in several ways. I taught Sunday School, served on the M & P Committee and chaired it several times, chaired the board for one (forgettable) year, was a member of a Pastoral Relations committee, and particularly enjoyed my years as as Presbytery Representative and attending the annual conferences. At present, I attend the Wednesday morning women's book club meetings and try to get to Ladies' Night Out. Lorne served on the Property Committee and worked on the fire alarm system and elevator, and he was a member of the Grace Court board for many years. We both enjoyed helping with the Regeneration breakfast program every Monday for several years after it began. This seemed like a wonderful outreach program that we were thrilled to be part of and are amazed at how it has expanded. Until recently, we were always part of the Couples Club and Tri-M groups.
We have many special memories and can't possibly mention them all but the following come to mind:
- Easter sunrise services with Rev. Ken Van Allen at Cedar Glen
- Winter outings at the Koehler's Farm
- Couples Club Week-ends at the Wights' cottage
- The play "Maybe One" written by Scott Douglas and
performed by the Tri-M group, directed by Rev. Cathie
Ellarby. This was a humorous history of the forming
of the United Church and we performed it during a
- Of course, we also remember the many funerals and
memorial services for friends, young and old, who are no
longer with us.
Although we are both retired" from most church activities, we treasure the many friends we have here and have been greatly blessed to be part of this wonderful "family".