Historical Background of the Church of the Nazarene
The Church of the Nazarene is a denomination in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition. Our roots go back to the teachings of John Wesley, as well as to various elements of the Holiness movement of the 19th century. Today there are about 1.8 million members in the Church of the Nazarene, making it the largest of the Holiness movement denominations.
From the very beginning, the focus of the Nazarene Church has been personal holiness for believers. The goal is that all believers “experience a deeper level of life in which there is victory over sin, power to witness and serve, and a richer fellowship with God, all through the filling of the Holy Spirit.”
As a result, there is a real emphasis on working to maintain that right relationship with God. The Church of the Nazarene is an evangelistic, missions-minded body that takes our relationship with God seriously and desires to share that reality with the world around us.
As Nazarenes, we are a faith-community energized by God's Spirit.
In October of 1908 the Church of the Nazarene was established as the result of widely diverse groups bonding in an environment of joyful praise, compassionate concern, and interest in spreading this dynamic, life-changing message. With 228 congregations comprising of 10,414 memebers, the Church of the Nazarene took its place in the family of Christian denominations, taking it's name after Jesus Christ, who was a Nazarene, having been born in the Town of Nazareth.
Keeping the faith for a changing world...
God's offer to humankind in Jesus Christ, His Son, is radical freedom and transformation. Unencumbered by politically-driven panaceas, Nazarenes joyfully proclaim forgiveness from all sin, along with the possibility of newly transformed individuals living in a community of worship, service, and proclamation.
Next door and down the freeway...
Using every available tool, Nazarenes have proclaimed God's peace and reconciliation, along with His radical power to effect transformation in every aspect of human existence. Congregations of the Church of the Nazarene are located in every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and in nearly 150 world areas.
Finding your place in this family...
At the heart of Nazarene congregations you will find an emphasis on the individual. Obviously, we gather at the table of our Lord as a body...we administer the sacrament of christian baptism, marking those who by faith have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, as members of the visible Body of Christ. Our recognition of the person, however, means addressing educational needs, equipping for service and personal ministry, engaging spiritual gifts and graces.
The Village Church: A Historical Sketch
218 Main Street, Unionville, was originally owned by St. Philip’s Anglican Church. Its history dates back to 1794 and the Dutch, German and Danish Lutherans who settled in Berczy Village as the area around the church was then called. In 1829, unable to find a German speaking Lutheran pastor, these settlers received into their midst the Reverend Vincent Mayerhoffer, an Austrian Roman Catholic priest who had recently been ordained in the Church of England (Anglican). For almost ten years Mayerhoffer pastored a combined congregation in the Lutheran Church which stood across Kennedy Road where the Lutheran cemetery is. There was a German Lutheran service in the morning and an Anglican one in the afternoon.However political developments on the national front would have serious consequences for this otherwise happy arrangement.
In 1837 the country was embroiled in the Upper Canada Rebellion. There were local repercussions as Lutherans sympathized with William Lyon Mackenzie, while the Anglicans supported the Family Compact. The story goes that one Sunday the Reverend Mayerhoffer arrived to conduct the usual Anglican service only to find the church locked and an armed guard and guard house in place. Undaunted, Mayerhoffer moved his congregation, and the name, across the road to where the cemetery is.
The congregation worshiped there until the early 1900's when shifting demographics called for a change. The arrival of the railway caused the town to develop where Unionville's historic Main Street is today. On March 9, 1913, the last service was held in the old church. Services were held in Victoria Hall while the building was dismantled, substantially modified, and rebuilt at the corner of Main and Carlton.The frame of the original building forms the basic structure of the present-day building. It is still there on the north side of the Fred Varley Art Gallery where it is now home to The Village Church of the Nazarene.
The Village Church congregation started on November 22, 1987, with its first service in a rented school gymnasium. On October 6, 1992, The Village Church purchased 218 Main Street, Unionville, ON and we have been here ever since.
The Village Church Building as a Markham Heritage Property
(Information by the Markham Historical Society)
The building is a one storey, rectangular structure, with a single side tower with spire, in Gothic Revial architectural style. The roof shape is high gable. The windows are segmental shaped with radiating voussoirs and concrete lugsills; sash fixed on east and west elevations. The door is segmental shaped with radiating voussoirs; double leaf, vertical planked door. The porch is a stoop with straight shaped stair. External brick chimney, external entry to basement, vestry (now coat room).
The original structure was a wood frame.The main body of the church building, containing the nave and chancel areas, measured 28’ x 40’.Located in the centre of the main façade was a tower, 7’ x 9’, containing the belfry and entrance and topped by an octagonal spire.
The entire building was sheathed in horizontal wood siding and contained two windows along the length of the nave on each side and a window or vent on either side of the tower.
The pitch of the roof was low and a single central chimney at the rear of the church.
After the building was dismantled and reconstructed it bore little resemblance to the original one.The building is no longer faced in wood but brick; the tower has been moved from its central location to the side; the roof pitch is much greater; the number, shape and location of the window openings have been altered; and the area, occupied by the chancel, has been added to the west end.
This present structure still measures 28’ x 40’ for the main body but the tower measurers 9’ x 10. It was necessary in the late 1940s to reinforce the floor joists, floor beams, and posts in the basement as a result of extensive rot in these timbers.The upper wall of the nave is braced across its width by three tie-rods and diagonally across the northeast and southwest corners by an additional tie-rod in each corner.
The exterior east wall presents further irregularities.The width of the wall just above the foundation is greater than the width of the wall under the eaves.This discrepancy existed at the time of construction for the extra width is filled by means of a partial brick which increases in size towards the base of the wall.
These factors suggest that the original church was dismantled from March 11 to 14, 1913 and the frame moved to the site in town and set upon a new foundation.It is likely that a new tower was constructed and located on the side of the building as the lot was not deep enough to permit a central tower location. No original pews remain.