Corunna - Corunna United Church

Brick church with square tower and trees

The church union of 1925 gave birth to the Corunna United Church. Although only several of the Corunna Presbyterians made the decision to join the union, the entire Methodist congregation of Corunna joined as a whole to form the United Church. Due to the enlarged congregation it was decided that the former Methodist church on Hill St. was too small and plans for a new building were made. The minister at that time was Rev. James Finlay. He was succeeded by Rev. T.W. Hazelwood and during his ministry a building committee and a finance committee were formed.

The beloved "White Church" was torn down on June 13, 1927 by members of the congregation in preparation for the new church, which was to be erected on the same site on Hill Street. John Elnor was the contractor for the new red brick structure. These bricks came all the way from Milton by boxcar and were then carried to the church site by a team and buggy over the ruts in the roads. Bob Murray was responsible for the bricklaying while Seth Watson completed the carpentry work on the new church. Thanks to volunteer labour by the community, the cost of the larger house of worship was kept down to $18,000. Money was raised for the building fund through pledges and church activities.

The cornerstone-laying ceremony took place on July 27, 1927, with Robert Hicks, then president of the London Conference of the United Church, as guest speaker. He was assisted in the ceremonies by Rev. J.R. Hall of St. Paul's Church in Sarnia. Several different church organizations had the honour of laying stones. The Trustees’ stone was laid by Ernest Parker, the W.M.S. stone by Mrs. C. Annett, and the Ladies' Aid stone by Mrs. Wm. Scott Sr. Dedication and opening ceremonies took place the following November under the capable leadership of Rev. Hazelwood. The following Tuesday the opening was celebrated by a 75 cent turkey dinner. Entertainment featured a violinist and an elocutionist.

Over the next several years, Corunna United continued to prosper. An important decision was made in 1928 to serve communion to the congregation in their seats.

The church was always very community-minded. During the financial difficulties of the Depression years, members of the church struggled together to meet their obligations. People stuck with the church and formed work bees to help each other. They also chopped wood for heating the church in order to save money on the gas bill. In 1939, the church became involved in the community War Effort by sending parcels overseas and raising Red Cross money. The year 1942 was special for the congregation since they were able to burn their mortgage that spring. A choir had existed since 1925, but although organs had been used throughout the time of the white church, the United Church used a piano until 1946. In that year a Minchall electric organ was purchased for $1,083. This first organ was replaced by a Hammond organ in 1955. This organ was dedicated in the memory of those who served in the First and Second World Wars.

Corunna United Church continued to grow until an extension to the red brick church became a necessity in 1954, especially to accommodate the Sunday School. Rev R.G. Gillingham conducted a dedication service in the fall of 1954 and canvassers went out to raise $24,000 in pledges. Sod breaking ceremonies were held in May 1955 and the cornerstone was laid in July. In September the $82,000 extension was opened with the building debt cleared only five years later.

 The United Church Women's group was created when in 1962 the Ladies' Aid and Women's Missionary Society became one group. Two years later the church allowed the weekly meetings of the Alcoholics Anonymous group to be held in the church.

The church continues to hold services and be used as a place for community group meetings, such as Brownies, Guides, cribbage and choir practice as of 2020.