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175 days of 175 years

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From May 21 2023 to our anniversary, November 12 2023, check social media every day (insert links) or this page, to see new historical tidbits about our church’s life, growing up in Brighton Ontario.  


What to expect

Section one: building history 

Section two:  Members Stories

Section three:  Evolution of our faith

Section four:  Impact on our community

Section five:  Why do you like coming

Section six:  Indigenous relations

Section seven:  Where are we going.

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Before even becoming affirming, Trinity St Andrew’s made a commitment to celebrating love. Just love. In early years we approved a policy that would allow our clergy to officiate at same sex marriages in our sanctuary. Each year since becoming affirming we have celebrated with… food of course!

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Rainbow Steps:

In 2021 Trinity Council voted to paint the front steps rainbow coloured to announce that we are an affirming congregation. Shortly after the stairs were painted by the now-Rev. Kaitlyn Ostrander and Ron Saucier, a rainbow crosswalk was defaced in town, and TSA organized a rainbow walk in support of the LGBTQ+ community in Brighton. WIth short notice, at a time when we could not gather in groups larger than 25 people, 75 people showed up to march in three waves of 25.

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After a year of learning, discussing and praying, Trinity St Andrew’s became an affirming congregation in June 2012, making it one of the first United Churches in our area to be radically welcoming of everyone. Affirm United, which grants the designation, is a proud partner of The United Church of Canada for the support of all gender identities and sexual orientations.

In this photo TSAUC holds a flag granted by the East Central Ontario Regional Council, as the affirm and equity committee passes a cheque in support of the new Rainbow Youth Room at the Tin Roof. Pictured are Barry Street, Rev Wanda Stride, Jeanette Cournoyer, Charlotte Hastings, Dane Record from the Peterborough AIDS Resource Network and Meghan Fox of the Tin Roof.

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Help Ukrainians Get Settled in Brighton

HUGS is a community partnership that has inspired many members of the congregation to open their homes to Ukrainians fleeing the war with Russia, to donate furniture, money, and to volunteer to help with dinners and events. HUGS holds meetings and events free of charge in TSA space, including this early-days Perogie dinner that raise almost $9,000 for the yet unnamed community group. To date HUGS has helped 44 Ukrainians find refuge in Brighton and neighbouring communities, by walking alongside host families, helping with grocery cards for the first three months, paying for cell phones, immigration medicals etc.

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Pastoral support:

Every month you can find Trinity St Andrew’s volunteers and musicians visiting Maplewood, Applefest and Seasons in Trenton, offering worship services and hymn sings to the residents. You are welcome to join us!

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COVID help

When Covid shut down the world as we know it in March of 2020, TSA volunteers stepped up to organize grocery shopping, a phone chain, online zoom training and daily devotionals on Facebook live for 150 days straight. We continue to offer weekly worship on Zoom and Facebook Live.

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As TSA tries to develop relations with local First Nations communities, we have also tried to learn more about the history of our country. By no means an exhaustive list: in 2019 we hosted a blanket exercise, and in 2020 we studied “21 Things you may not know about the Indian Act”, then organized a “trekking across Canada”, encouraging people to walk, record mileage, and collectively track our mileage on a map of Canada. Wherever we landed each week, we invited an elder or spokes person from that indigenous community to join us on Zoom and tell us about their history, their reality. And when the unmarked graves were discovered in Kamloops BC, we devoted online time to reading the names of children at all United Church run schools who were reported missing or who died at the schools. In Lent 2023 a group of us, including members of the wider community, watched videos and discussed the program “Home on Native Land”.

We admit these are very small things, but they are a beginning.

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Education events

Trinity St Andrew’s, especially through the United Church Women, has made a commitment to life-long learning, awareness and advocacy. Programs have varied from suicide intervention training with Frank Blanchet, to UCW-sponsored anti-racism studies online during Covid with Janet Kivisto.

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Youth groups

over the years TSA has made a commitment to helping the youth in our town. From helping to start the Beacon, the recent donation to the Rainbow Youth Centre, we have also provided a safe, fun space for young people to gather in our church building. We have gone on trips, watched movies, eaten pizza… anything just to hang out. Join us this summer for movie nights!

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Day 90, August 18

Shortly after she retired from teaching, Janet Enns started an after school club at Trinity St Andrew’s. In 2006 she noticed some of her former students had nothing to do after school. We did it once a week, called it after school club and they came straight from school.

We would have up to 20 kids, which is not a huge crowd, but we had board games, snacks puzzles and skipping ropes.There was no program, just a safe place where they could come and meet their friends. Sometimes they helped make the snack.

Lasted five years and then we tore the building down so it stopped.

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Ministry transformed

In 1965 the Hilton Manse and lot adjoining the church were sold by the Trustees. That sale made it possible to buy the Edwards property and later build the Christian Education Centre when the old house was torn down. The first Clothing Depot was in the old house. What an improvement when the new building was completed. Sunday School classes and mid week meetings were held upstairs.

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$170,150.68 given back to the community from 2011-2022

The Trinity St Andrew’s Clothing Depot has given donations to many charities over the years, including include ENSS bursaries, Brighton Area Public Schools, Community Care, Sail and Sailability, Breakfast Programs, New Life Girls Home , Brighton Arts Council, The Food Bank, Cornerstone Family Violence Prevention Centre-Cobourg, Three Oaks Women Shelter in Belleville, Camp Trillium, Big Sisters, Proctor House SOHO and Northumberland SPCA, as well as area churches and global organizations. Phew!

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Nobody knows for sure how many volunteers have folded and sorted donations, scrubbed floors, built shelves, guided shoppers etc over the past 58 years, but the community is grateful for each and everyone who has committed their time to this important ministry. This photo is from the last volunteer recognition dinner in 2019 (pre covid).

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Brighton Clothing Depot...

In 1965, Lucy Hunter Scott retired from teaching kindergarten in Toronto, and found a new home in Brighton. Soon after her arrival, public health nurse Vera Clark learned about Lucy's work gathering clothing for her young students in Toronto, and convinced her of the same need here in Brighton. After introducing her to Rev. Charlie and Elda McLaren, the Clothing Depot was born. Initially in the old Edwards House, it is now housed in a "new" Christian service building on the same site, just south of the main church building.

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The dinners are held in the Trinity St Andrew's Hall because of its central location. Not everyone needs to drive to get there!

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Supper's Ready

Each Wednesday there is a range of 70-100 diners. It is a free meal and free will donations usually cover the cost of food. Any additional funding comes from community groups such as the Brian Todd Foundation, the Municipality of Brighton and the Brighton Clothing Depot.

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Supper's Ready

Volunteers are not quizzed about what church they go to. It became its own identity a couple of years after we started up so we could give income tax receipts and get grants. You couldn’t apply for a grant unless you were a registered charity.

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Supper's Ready, formed in 2013.

In the beginning: started with outreach committee here wanted to know what was needed to be done in the community. We asked the community care coordinator at the time, Judy Murtha. She said they needed a weekly meal. They had tried a once a month meal and it didn’t work. We knew we couldn’t do it alone so appeals were sent out to the other churches for start up money and for volunteers. We got a good response on both. We asked each church for $100 to get us going and then we paid that back. Then we incorporated as a community organization. We never wanted it to be just the churches involved. It’s called Supper’s Ready Brighton.

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Collective kitchen

In 1995 Unit Six of the UCW decided they wanted to offer a collective kitchen. Young parents could come in and make food, then share the meals they prepared with their families. Mary Gibb, with a crew of volunteers, found a way to make that happen. Over the next decade and a half, the program evolved from the collective, to a family lunch run by the parents themselves, with babysitting and an educational component. Eventually they partnered with a preschool in town, and finally morphed into an exercise class. Sometimes the program was hosted in the church hall, then the Lions Hall, and back into the church hall until the hall was demolished in 2012 to make room for the new community hall.

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Migrant worker outreach:

We are fortunate to have many supportive farmers in our area who care about their workers and who aren't afraid to work with us.

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Migrant worker outreach:

We went on tours like Ottawa and Canada’s Wonderland . We got money from a union that wanted to do something for migrant workers. They gave us money to use for transportation and that paid for the bus trip to Ottawa, for example. We took them to Presqu’ile for picnics. We helped them find friends to drive them to appointments, getting dental care. We have developed a list of “Friends of Migrant Workers” so people didn’t think they had to be part of the church to help a migrant worker. We’ve also helped them for out scholarships for family members.

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Migrant worker outreach:

We are becoming friends with these men who have been coming to this community for 30 years. First thing was to get to know them as people, not just “migrant workers’. That happened through dinners first, then helping them find things that they wanted to ship home at the end of the season. We put that out to the congregation. Things like washing machines, bicycles, clothing… all manner of things. The clothing depot was part of this. Initially it was one meal, then it was a meal every other week. These days the men are asking for work boots and suit cases.

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Migrant worker outreach

The first Migrant Worker dinner grew out of our UCW program for that year. We had used the "Simply In Season" cookbook and study guide to learn more about our food and where it comes from. Elizabeth Scriven was a leader in that study. That led to a greater awareness of the role of migrant workers and their presence in our community. The first dinner was held at the King Edward Park community centre, as our new hall was not yet built.

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The next 25 days we celebrate the impact Trinity-St. Andrew's has had on the community. From annual Vacation Bible School (pictured here!), to helping local migrant workers, our work with Affirm United in creating safe spaces in our building, to community partnerships like Supper's Ready, after school programs, lunch programs, Helping Ukrainians Get Settled in Brighton and so on... celebrate with us!

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