St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Petrolia
On December 24, 1858, thirteen members were enrolled in the first Presbyterian congregation in Petrolia. During the summer of 1866 the Petrolia they built a substantial church on Pearl Street, in Petrolia’s east end. It was opened for public worship on August 26, 1866. In June 1873, that church was sold and a larger church was built on the south side of the flats, immediately east of the Bear Creek Bridge. At that time, the flats were about 15 feet lower that they are today; so the church was built on pilings to save it from periodic flooding in the area. Occasionally, water was heard lapping at the floor during services!
A beautiful organ was purchased and first used on January 1, 1876. By early 1888, the church in the Flats was deemed too small, so the Session and Board of Managers considered building a new church in the western section of town. Subsequently, the lot on which the present church stands was purchased for $5,300.00
On April 15, 1889 the plans of Mr George Durand of London were accepted.. Visitors are invited to view framed copies of these drawings in our lobby at the back of the sanctuary. In September 1889, the cornerstone for the new church was laid. It’s Inscription: “The Foundation of God Standeth Sure”.
The new church was erected by contractor George McCormick of Forest and was officially opened on December 28,1890 and on December 6, 1903 our magnificent pipe organ from Casavant Freres, Montreal was installed. Guest keyboard players rave about the calibre of this instrument.
The mortgage on the church was lifted by the Kerr family in memory of their parents.
In the autumn of 1949, a memorial plaque was unveiled when the congregation paid tribute to the memory of the men of the congregation who gave their lives in the Second World War.
On January 17, 1965 St. Andrew’s opened it’s brand new $40,000 Christian Education wing. This addition features several class rooms, a large meeting room, church office, minister’s study.
The Lambton Health Unit briefly had an office in congregation hall, followed by the Living Message in 1976, staying until 1987 when it moved to Toronto.
In 1981, nine windows on the north side of the building were covered with plexiglas. Since 2001 there has been ongoing restoration of our numerous stained glass windows. In 2005, a stunning window depicting Jesus with the children was donated. For the past 10 years an enthusiastic group of Bridge players gather in the basement every Tuesday to match wits.
The year 2008 marked the 150th anniversary of St. Andrew’s church.
Our sanctuary has marvellous acoustics. The Lambton Youth Choir has provided us with special music on several occasions and last October, the Black Family performed a concert here to a sold out house. In 2010 and 2011 a very popular Christmas Cantata has been performed both years. This year our concert artists will be Eduard Klassen a Paraguayan folk harpist and we are renting Victoria Hall to present the Walter’s family.