It’s important for any organization to be reminded of their origins. The same is true for Cremona Congregational Church. So what is our history?...
The congregation began in 1937 under the auspices of the United Church of Canada. As the needs of the local church changed, a congregational decision was made to move under the banner of the Congregational Churches in Canada in 1989.
We worshiped for a year or so, in rented spaces until a meeting was held in 1992 and the decision was made to move forward with the construction of a new church building. The property that this building stands on became available and was purchased. We were grateful to be able to use the blueprints from the recently constructed Bergen Church free of charge . The building was constructed in record time with mostly volunteer labour and no mortgage. The Fall of 1992 yielded terrible harvest conditions, but this proved a blessing in disguise as it freed up the farmers to help with construction. Local talent provided much of the adornment and furniture.
On Christmas Eve 1992, we celebrate our first service in the unfinished sanctuary, seated on lawn chairs. It was a memorable service, surrounded by the stud walls liberally enhanced with scripture verses.
Over the years, this church has drawn many to it who were brought up to worship under various traditions; United, Catholic, Methodist, Anglican, Lutheran, Baptist and Evangelical. We have an ecumenical style of worship service with respect for the long-held traditions of the Church, and an open door that welcomes all seekers of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The history of The Conference of Congregational Christian Churches in Ontario (now known as the Congregational Christian Churches in Canada) finds its roots in the Second Great Awakening in the United States. In common with Church reformers of former times, the founders of this fellowship of churches believed that Christianity had become burdened by man-made traditions which, they believed, had to be jettisoned so a pristine New Testament Church might be restored; a church without restrictive traditions and denominational encumbrances.
They amalgamated from three distinct traditions:
1. James O’Kelly, a presiding elder and evangelist of the Methodist Church, formed the "Christian" Church in Virginia and North Carolina in 1794.
2. Abner Jones and Elias Smith, Baptist preachers, organized another "Christian" group in New England in 1802.
3. In 1804, Barton Stone, a Presbyterian evangelist, was instrumental in the formation of yet another “Christian" fellowship in Kentucky. All three movements formed independently of each other.
The three “Christian” groups became aware of each other and began to communicate and fellowship together. In 1817, they joined together for the first national conference and in 1820 it was agreed that the United States Christian Convention be organized. By 1832, they had 1,200 "Christians" and 20 of their churches were in Upper Canada.
In the last decade of the twentieth century some felt the need to break ranks with the United Church of Canada in order to reaffirm the infallibility of the Scriptures and the autonomy of the local church.
On September 13, 1988, some seventy-five ordained ministers and church workers along with approximately one hundred lay people met at Niagara Falls, Ontario. A National Steering Committee was elected and empowered "to begin steps to formally establish what would become known as, The Congregational Church of Canada.
Within days of the Niagara Falls meeting, the National Steering Committee became aware of the existence of the remnant of churches that had refrained from the 1925 union of Methodists, Congregationalists and Presbyterians that formed the United Church of Canada. That remnant of churches was, The Conference of Congregational Christian Churches in Ontario. Both groups met and voiced the common goal to establish a national association of churches. Discussions, conferences and committee meetings took place over the next year and resulted in the decision to amalgamate under the Charter of Christian Churches. On December 4, 1989, the Congregational Christian Churches in Canada was formed.
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