125 Stories

During this 125th anniversary we want to tell some of the stories of this place and the people here. A number of histories of the parish have already been written. Here, we want to tell the stories of the people of St. John's. Your stories. How did you come to worship and serve here? What is your connection with us and our neighbourhood. What is meaningful to you?  We want to tell the stories of the people of St. Johns.

Catharina Jager: How I Found My Singing Voice at St. John's

I’ve always loved to sing. When I was small, I sang alone, each night when I was in bed, I would sing about all the things I had done that day. It took me years before I figured out how my mother always knew exactly what I had been up to that day.

Unfortunately when it came to singing with others, I was often told not to sing. I was told I sang off key or was losing the melody. At school, during music time, I was told not to sing. Even in my parents’ car, on Sunday afternoon outings while they were singing the old ballads I enjoyed, I was often asked to not join in.

Still, even with the discouragement I was subjected to I still loved to sing especially together with others. Like at church, young people’s, girl guides and church camp.

When I moved to Canada in 1965 I still sang in my heart but not too much out loud in public. Over the years, whenever I attended a church I did sing along with the hymns but I felt that the people around me could hear me and would know how badly I was singing.

One positive outlet for my love of singing came when the union of which I was a part went on strike. One of our coworkers walked the picket lines with a guitar singing protest songs and someone suggested, “Let’s start a choir”. While I wasn’t actually one of the original choristers I made it a point to join as soon as we were off the picket line.

One of the choristers was Rebecca Clifford, daughter of Barbara & Paul Clifford. I worked in the same department as Paul at McMaster so there was a double connection with the Clifford family. I was invited to their home a few times and there would often be singing. I remember the first time I sang at the Cliffords and Barbara indicated she was not impressed with my vocal skills. However, bless her, she saw potential in me to improve, and invited me to join the choir at St. John’s. I declined the invitation at first, but Barbara kept inviting me, suggesting that I could at least come and have a listen of the choir to see what I thought. Eventually, one day in 2005, I came to St. John’s to have that listen, and was struck by the friendliness of Hal Devins who greeted me saying, “Are you Catharina?” Hal had been prepped to look out for me by Barbara.

I decided to attend a choir practice convinced that within two weeks I would be asked to stop coming.

I was placed between Mariana Brown and Robin Ehlert who were very kind. All choir members were kind and encouraging even when I struggled to hit the high notes.

It turned out that Robin Ehlert wasn’t so confident in her singing either and so she and I took to coming early to practice so that we could listen in on Islay-May Renwick’s Intermediate Choir practices. We were so impressed that we asked Islay-May if she could teach us. Consequently Robin, Carmen Wilson and I were actually invited into the Renwick home for some special introductory lessons which proved very helpful. (Bill Renwick told me to imitate a siren on a fire engine to prove that I could reach those high notes. He convinced me!) That did not necessarily make me a singer all of a sudden but it gave me the confidence to try.

I was familiar with many of the hymns from my Christian upbringing overseas. I especially liked the Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving hymns since they were often the same melodies as those I had sung at home in Dutch. One of the hymns the choir sings here for Thanksgiving is one I learned as a young child. (Even though I wasn’t allowed to sing I still had to learn the words).

The choristers and congregation at St. John’s have been very supportive, kind, and inclusive. I feel most confident singing near strong singers like Adrienne Devins or Susan McKay, but because of everyone’s encouragement, I now find myself singing with my full voice even when they are not there. This makes me feel very good about my singing.

Due to my desire to be a strong contributing member of the ‘St. John’s team’, and in keeping with my belief in the importance of service to others, I have taken on a few roles over the past several years. I have enjoyed organizing and cataloguing the choir’s music as the choir librarian. I am also involved with the knitting circle and participate as a member of the Income Tax Clinic we offer to people with low income who need help filing their taxes.

To finish let me say how grateful I am to the people at St. John’s. You have helped me to find my voice in more than one way and you have made me feel like a real member of the congregation. (Almost an Anglican)

Posted 2016-09-09 


Lynda Winter 

I came to St John’s about 23 years ago. Stephen and I were at the Cathedral and our favourite priest, Terry DeForrest, was leaving. There were very few children left and I felt that Stephen needed a larger Sunday School and one where his Mum was not his Sunday School teacher! So I decided to look for a new church. I was familiar with St John’s because I often drove along Charlton Avenue. We stopped to look at the church one day and Father David Sinclair just happened to be coming out of the church. He offered to give us a tour of the church. As soon as I entered the sanctuary, I felt the Holy Spirit’s presence. I decided then and there that this was the place for us.

I am part of a small Bible study group, Bibles and Bagels and have been a member of Parish Council on and off for many terms, including the first year that we joined the church. I am also presently a Sunday School teacher.

As a single Mum, things can get tough. Marion and Jack Fair helped Stephen and in many ways, including food, clothing and bringing me home from the hospital after surgery –with a home cooked meal of chicken and all of the trimmings. David Little had a great impact on my faith journey. I cannot even tell you how because it has become part of the person whom I am today. I have very happy memories of St John’s, too many to write here.

I don’t belong to a church. I belong to a community. The prayer support of this community during some of my darkest times has been a wonderful gift.

I had a bad back injury in 2010. At the time, I was a member of a small group studying Rick Warren’s book “A Purpose Driven Life.” Some sessions, I had to lie down on a table to participate in the discussion. The women were very supportive. They were concerned about the way I was being treated at my job. They collectively said that they would rather I not be working there for my mental health and well-being. I felt overwhelmingly that I should quit my job, when I recovered, and try to get a job as a church secretary. Jane French, our long-time church secretary, retired in 2011 and I volunteered to do the job. I feel great joy from this ministry and hope to be here for a long as I have my faculties!

I was confirmed in the Anglican Church in 1979 at Christ Church Flamborough. I joined the Anglican Church to encourage my husband to go with me. I believed that he was Church of England because his mother went to the Cathedral. I was mistaken. They had been Methodist in England! So I say, “I joined the Anglican Church for the wrong reasons and stayed for the right ones!”

Posted 2016-05-20


Adrienne Devins 

I have spent my entire Christian life at St. John the Evangelist, where I was baptized by Padre Holmes as a baby. While being nurtured in my Christian faith by parish family members as I grew up, I participated in the groups that were available from the girls’ choir to the Anglican Young People’s Association (A.Y.P.A.) the youth group. As an adult, I held roles of responsibility, which included chairing the Bazaar and being the Envelope Secretary for seven years. I was blessed with wonderful Christian models, as I grew up in the church. Hopefully, I was a role model for our children, as they made their own Christian journey here.

I’m going to concentrate on one area of my Christian life here at St. Johns. I joined the Girls’ Choir at the age of seven. This was the entrance age for the choir. We sat on chairs in the Baptistery, around the font and along the back wall. There wasn’t any room for us in the chancel. The pews were filled with the Boys’ Choir and the Adult Chancel Choir. I retired from this choir when I was thirteen.

My stint into the Adult Chancel Choir, with my mother, began when we were invited to sing for Easter in 1973. (two new additions – one soprano and one alto)  I have been a faithful member since. I thought about the amount of time I have spent weekly in the chancel for practises and regular services (about four hours) let alone special services throughout the year.  I have spent a large portion of my life in the chancel. But the chancel is a beautiful place to be when praising God, and I want to tell you about it.

The original 1892 ceiling was plastered and painted blue. In 1927, the plaster was badly cracked and discoloured. It was stripped, replastered with the present beautiful decoration added, while the services were held in the old Parish Hall. The drawing for the ceiling was prepared and presented as a gift by C.V. Hodges, an architect and parish member. The ceiling was dedicated on May 30, 1927.

Another beautiful item in the chancel is the altar and reredos. Canon Daw planned a memorial for his two sons, Fredrick and Herbert, and their cousin, Alexander Fraser, who were killed in WWI. This memorial was dedicated in December 1920. I remember the reredos being flanked on both sides with colourful tapestries, which changed with the church seasons.

The last item that I would like to talk about is the east window. The original was donated as a memorial by Maitland Newman, when the church was built. The coloured stained glass was the same as in the other windows around the church, which you can see today. The stunning colours of the stained glass that you see in the restored east window now, was a memorial given by the Marshalls in 1967. The saints and Jesus from the old window were incorporated in the new.

So, the next time you are in church, or waiting your turn at the high altar for communion, pause and take a look around you and enjoy the beauty.

Posted 2016-05-10


The Building of Artaban Place 

This photo was taken in 1990. From left to right, the old parish hall, our playground, the Sawatsky house and the church.

My story is not about my arrival at the Church of St. John the Evangelist. I can tell that in two sentences. I was fortunate to be born into this community and was raised here. I left to live in London and Burlington for four years, and then returned to Hamilton and St. John’s with my husband David.

No, my story is about a time when our church worked to build, welcome and support a new community – Artaban Place. This story actually goes back to 1985. Canon Ralph Price was our priest and had a reputation for building community by finding a project that the entire church could embrace. At our church, we decided to update and re-configure our parish hall, removing the stage, and creating a gym area, updating meeting areas and the kitchen.

John Lidgey, Dave McKay and Hal Devins were the coordinators of this project. John brought his skill and wisdom as a contractor. Dave was a church warden and took care of ordering all supplies for the work parties while Hal provided the volunteer manpower. Most of the labour was donated, cutting a potential $100,000 bill to $40,000. At vestry our parish voted to raise $15,000 in addition to our regular givings that year, and pledged to pay $5,000 off our $25,000 loan each year for the next five years. We held our first church-wide annual Bazaar where all of the proceeds were given for the Church’s use, as part of the fund-raising in 1985.

As a parish, we did everything that we pledged to do, making our final payment in January, 1990 – our Centennial Year. Our parish hall was being used for rentals in addition to our regular activities and special church dances, corporate breakfasts and volleyball nights.

And then it burned down in the early morning hours on February 10, 1990.

Through the parish hall project, our community had shown that we were capable of taking on a project and working in unity to its completion. Now was no exception! The Centennial Committee, led by Edna Russell, got busy and found other locations to celebrate our first 100 years. The Space Allocation committee, led by Jim Muirhead, got down to the business of prioritizing the parish needs and meeting them. We were so very thankful for the support we were given by Melrose United Church and Earl Kitchener School, providing space for our many programs. All Saints Anglican church also offered us the use of their hall for our 100th Anniversary Dinner and Dance. The crypt kitchen was created out of the Wardens’ office and we held a Bazaar in the crypt! Amid all of this activity, something unusual began to happen. John Lidgey, fueled by early encouragement from Peter Noel, began to show up at parishioners’ homes at all hours to discuss the possibility of building a subsidized housing unit. It would mean applying to the New Democrat Government for funds, giving up our own property and potential parking space, plus purchasing David and Allison Sawatsky’s house beside the church. We did all of these things with the support of most of our parishioners.

Just to give you a sense of the depth and breadth of this effort, I list the following committees:

Board of Directors: John Lidgey (chair) Shirley Bimson, Leslie Brown Muirhead, Jack Fair, David Holmes, Don Kaye, David Little, Thelma Maskell, Susan McKay, Edna Russell and David Shuttleworth.

Space Allocation: Jim Muirhead (chair), Shirley Bimson, Richard Gumbinger, Susan McKay, Amy Quinlan, Edna Russell, Henny Veltman.

Community Planning and Development Committee: Thelma Maskell (chair) Susanne Adams, Leslie Brown Muirhead, Roly Lee and Susan McKay. This committee did the research into the actual non-profit housing needs in this community.

Parish Hall Design Committee: Dave McKay (chair), Lionel Downes, Don Kaye, Pat Noel, and Gayle Shears

Finance Committee: Les Jarrett, Dave McKay, Carol Hardman and Jack Fair (treasurer of Board)

Communications: Hal Devins (chair), David Little, Shirley Bimson, Del Collyer, May Jarratt, Roger Munn, Sandie Shepherd and the rector, Mervyn Dunn, followed by David Sinclair

Buildings and Facilities: John Lidgey, Leslie Brown Muirhead, Richard Gumbinger, Peter Hill, David Holmes, Diana Holmes, Don Kaye, Roly Lee, Thelma Maskell, Edna Russell, Gordon Sampson

This is just a small indication of the number of people who were involved, in addition to those people who were leading the regular activities and business of the church.

Communication was essential for the successful completion of this project. Countless questionnaires were issued to get accurate feedback. There were many vestries and information meetings, all in the whole-hearted effort to communicate, communicate, communicate with the parish and the community.

We issued a monthly newsletter called The Hub (Holy Update Batman!) which was written by David Little for our parishioners and the broader community. Under Hal Devins’ leadership, many of us went door to door hand-delivering the newsletter and answering questions. We covered Charlton Avenue West (Kent to Dundurn), Chatham Street ( Locke to Dundurn). Herkimer Street (Locke to Dundurn), Reginald Street and Alexander Street. In addition to this door to door contact, David Little and I spoke to the local Home and School groups and other community groups to tell the story of Artaban the Fourth Wiseman, and to answer their questions. In spite of these efforts, our application to the city was challenged by a group from the neighbourhood and we were headed for an OMB hearing ( Ontario Municipal Board). We had spent so much time at City Hall to explain each aspect of our project, but to no avail. One of our aldermen felt that she had to support this group, so we lost one of our best advocates at City Hall. In preparation for the hearing, we encouraged all parishioners to attend to show broad support for the project, and we arranged to have as many speakers as possible.

Why was this hearing called? The community was afraid that we would be inviting undesirables into our midst – alcoholics and ne’er-do-wells who would be reeling down the street to the liquor store. They were afraid that the difficult parking situation on Charlton would be worsened, and wondered where all of the cars would be parked as there weren’t enough spots available for the units planned. They were afraid that they would lose the privacy in their backyards as residents would be overlooking them. They were afraid of this change in their community. “Not In My Backyard” had raised its ugly head. We were reminded that God did not say things would be easy.

We did carry the day, and were given permission to go ahead with our existing plans. The project took 4 years to finish from the time of the fire until opening day in May, 1994. It was not until we welcomed our first residents to Artaban Place that the community settled down. It was the residents who put an end to the fears, and our faith in answering God’s call was fully affirmed.

Submitted by Susan McKay

Posted 2016-02-03


Marion Fair

Jack and I arrived in Hamilton from Saskatoon in August of 1949. We started attending St. John’s … because it was close and it was Anglican, and we never looked back.

Our oldest daughters Susan and Marilyn were confirmed at St. John’s. Our other children, Jean, Ruth, & John were baptized, and later confirmed, at St. John’s. It is impossible to name all of the wonderful people who contributed to their development over the years. Scouts, Sunday school, Girls’ Auxiliary, choir, Camp Artaban … each helped mold them under the guidance of the wonderful leaders we had.

We had wonderful Sunday Schools. There was a young chap – John Bartlett, an RCF recruit stationed at Mount Hope who made St. John’s his Hamilton home during the time of Canon Holmes. John used to teach a class to the children in the parish hall. One Sunday after the class, he came into the church to report to Canon Holmes that 150 children had been in his class.

My husband, Jack, was always interested in Scouts. He helped with the sale of Christmas trees … a freezing job that provided financial support. He was also their treasurer. We used to serve breakfast for the scouts once a month. Syd Knowles brought the food makings, while I cooked the bacon. At the end of the meal, I always drained all of the fat from the pan on the side of the stove into a juice can. Syd always said I was the only cook who was so consistent.

Someone had salvaged 2 full-length pews which were placed against the wall in the Parish Hall. Those were very useful during any kind of sale for folks’ coats and parcels. They were each about 20’ long with ends which tended to collapse. Harry Jarrett and Art Townsend came one day with two 20’ steel construction bars, and put them, one at each end, to hold the “arms” upright. A Big help!

Dora and Bunny Adlum were our neighbours. Dora carried a child’s sand pail to clean up after her Scottie dog. They were called “The Welland Canal Boys” as their father was chief engineer during the building of the Welland canal. “Bunny” got her nickname because Dora always wanted a rabbit for a pet. So, when her younger sister was born, she was called “Bunny”.

Harry Jarrett had a good voice. One time, he and 3 others sang some of the old songs. The choir had been famous for producing Gilbert & Sullivan musicals.
May Jarrett, and the Russell girls (Edna and Shirley), did a lot.
Marie Richardson taught Sunday school.

So many wonderful people contributed. You can’t hit them all.

Canon Holmes was responsible for starting Camp Artaban against strong opposition as the track (road) ran through private property. Olive Lidgey came daily to buy vegetables and had to argue with the owners in order to gain access.

Overall, I have wonderful memories of St. John’s.

Posted 2016-02-03


The War Memorial 

During our 100 years as a parish church we have experienced 10 years of devastating World Wars. In the First World War we had 84 parishioners enlisted and 17 of these paid with their lives. The Second World War saw 156 parishioners answer the call to the colors and 11 paid the supreme sacrifice.

The horrible slaughter of four years of trench warfare during the First World War is evident in the fact that 20 per cent of our parishioners who participated in that war were killed. During the six years of the Second World War seven per cent of our volunteers were killed. We, as a parish, must never be allowed to forget the names of the 27 men and one woman who gave their lives in order that Canada would remain a free country.

In 1961 Padre John Bartlett and his Wardens, William Page and Ray Walker, took steps to create a worthy memorial to those from our parish who were killed during the two wars. Our original idea came from the War Memorial located in the Peace Tower in Ottawa.

The total cost of the Memorial was borne by the veterans of both wars who were parishioners in 1961.

Although 28 names are mentioned there are actually 29 names on the Roll of Honor. The name of Rifleman M.W. Pocock is inscribed on our memorial although he was not a parishioner of St. John’s. He was the brother of Mrs. Mabel Grinstead, a long time, valued member of our choir. Rifleman Pocock was killed in France in 1916 and his memorial was located in a church in London, England. During the blitz on London in 1940 the church was completely destroyed and there is therefore no final memorial to Mr. Pocock anywhere in this world. We consider it an honor that he be remembered with our very own loved ones.

The Memorial at the front of the church was dedicated on November 12, 1961. Representing the mothers of the veterans was Mrs. W. Tinsley whose son, George, was killed at Dieppe in 1942.

To perpetuate the words of the poem “At the going down of the sun and in the morning / We will remember them,” it was arranged that the pages of the Memorial Book would be turned each Sunday immediately before the 11 a.m. service. This is the responsibility of the Crucifer, who represents the parish in paying our respect to those listed on the page turned for the coming week.

Submitted by Ray Walker (for our 100th Anniversary book). Note: Ray Walker is the father of Adrienne Devins and Susan McKay.

25 Years Later

The pages are not turned as in the past, but rather turned each Sunday by one of a few “unknown page turners” in our congregation.

The War Memorial now includes:

  1. A palm cross that was carried by Fred Dodd in his bible during the Second World War.
  2. A picture of Vimy Ridge Memorial plus two replica medals donated by Peter De New and his family who visited Vimy Ridge in 2007.

Submitted by Hal Devins

Posted 2015-11-02


Brent, Rosalee & Nora van Staalduinen

When we returned to Canada in June 2011 after six years overseas, one of our main concerns was finding a church home. Thanks to Google – and, we’re convinced, a God who can easily shift search algorithms – St. John’s quickly stood out. We had readied ourselves for a lengthy stint of church-hopping, but God had other plans – after just one visit we could tell that there was something about that “Rock on Locke” that made us want to come back.

In terms of who we are, you could say that we’re “born again Hamiltonians.” We attended Redeemer, but neither of us had much experience with the core or those strange, earthy folks from “down the mountain.” It’s funny how things turn out – although we both grew up in big homes in quiet neighbourhoods, we were led to adopt an urban lifestyle in Kuwait and Seoul, which may have been God’s way of readying us for our return to Canada.

Our time in Hamilton thus far has been marked by big change—career shifts, becoming property owners, and becoming parents to Nora. But one of the constants has been our church family at St. John’s. We have felt the continuous support of this community through prayer times with our small group Bible study and at the back of the church on Sunday mornings, the baby shower before Nora’s birth, the home-cooked meals after Nora’s arrival, the interest in Nora’s spiritual growth at Messy Church, and the ongoing warmth and concern of good friends. And we are thankful for this human embodiment of God’s grace and presence with us as we anticipate the arrival of another van Staalduinen and even more change in the days ahead. 

It a joy to be part of this family—happy 125th, SJE! 

Posted 2015-09-14


The Pink Pig

This story is about a pig. This pig was very special. He went to church school every Sunday for a year. He enjoyed being with the children, seeing their smiles, hearing the stories about God, listening to the songs they sang. He looked forward to each Sunday morning so he could see the children.

Every Sunday during the opening worship time, the children would place their collection inside the pig’s belly.

Eventually, his belly became full and it was time for him to go away. In order to get at the money, minor surgery had to be performed. He was placed in a secure waiting room for a couple of weeks until two people could be present to count the money inside the pig’s belly.

When the two weeks were up, Hal Devins went to get him. He was not there!
Hal looked everywhere for him, he even called me to ask if I had already performed the minor surgery. He also called the Rector and church wardens. Hal was puzzled about where the pig, and the money, had gone. It was just last week that he and I both saw the pig in the waiting room.

How did he escape?

The next day, Father Tom Wilding and Hal went back to that room to look once more.
How could they miss him? He was painted a bright pink. You will not believe what they found. Wait until you hear this!

They discovered another family was in more need of the pig, much more than we thought. That family was a family of mice. The mice ate the pig, but left the money nicely piled in the corner on the floor exactly where the pig was. They had no need for the money but they sure were hungry.

So in the end, the pig helped two families. The money that the mice left behind (the church school collection) went to help Rahama (our sponsored child) and was used to buy clothes, food, school supplies etc. for a whole year. In addition, the paper maché pig helped feed a family of mice.

Submitted by Susanne Adams

Posted 2015-09-07


David Anderson

Kathy and I were not sure we wanted to come to Hamilton. A little over nine years ago, Bishop Ralph Spence called me into his office and asked me to meet with the parochial committee from SJE, which was beginning their search for a new rector. When I went home and told Kathy we just were not sure this would be a good move for us.

To be fair, our knowledge of Hamilton was limited. Kathy and I had been born and raised in St. Catharines. We really only knew Hamilton as "that smelly place on the way to Toronto."

We had lived in St. Catharines, a small city. We had lived in Toronto, a big city. At the time of my conversation with Bishop Ralph we were now living in Ridgeway, Ontario. This was the first time we had lived in a small town. We hadn't been sure if we would like small-town life, but we had come to love it. We felt like we belonged to something. We knew a lot of people and they knew us. We collected our mail at the post office, and when we did, it was always an occasion for visiting with friends and neighbours. When Bishop Ralph asked if I would meet with the folks from SJE, we weren't sure we wanted to return to city life with our young children.

A funny thing happened on the way to the interview that changed my mind about things.
When I came for an interview, I received a tour of the church, and then I was asked to follow Mick Stewart to the Bowen's home, where the interview would take place. So far, so good.

As I set out to follow Mick up Locke Street, my car died. The transmission literally fell apart. Ball bearings were rolling all over the road. My car wouldn't move from where it stopped right beside St. Joseph's School. There was nothing for me to do except call for a tow truck.
Parochial committee interviews are normally very private affairs, with a certain amount of secrecy to protect people's privacy. All of that was put aside while members of the committee joined Mick and I on Locke Street for a meet-and-greet.

The surprising thing was that not only did I meet Mick Stewart and Sue Samson, the churchwardens at the time, and Susan Little and John Bowen, the other members of the committee, I met the neighbourhood. Committee member's family and friends, parishioners, and even a number of my own friends and colleagues all happened by. Steve Hopkins, the former rector, stopped by as he was picking up his daughter from the library across the street. The Dean, Peter Wall, drove past and saw us all on the corner. He called me the next day. Mrs. Spence also drove by, and told Bishop Ralph over dinner that evening what she had witnessed. When the bishop called me the next morning, he had only one question: why were we holding our meeting in the street?

Kathy and I had lived in cities before, but we had never really lived in a place that we could describe as a neighbourhood. That turned out to be one of the things that we really love about St. John's. It is a neighbourhood church in one of the great neighbourhoods of this city. We've loved living here for all the reasons we loved our life in Ridgeway. We feel that we belong to something. It’s a place where we know others and where we are known. That's what a neighbourhood should be. And that is what a parish is meant to be as well.

Posted 2015-09-07


Geoff and Judith Purdell-Lewis

St John’s is the most recent "church family" in our fairly long faith journey. Geoff and I met when we were members of the Nurses' and Medical Students’ Christian Fellowships (2 groups that met together occasionally) in a London, UK, teaching hospital. Incidentally we were the only two in the groups that went off to an Anglican Sunday evening service - together. Eighteen months after we married we moved to St. Anthony in northern Newfoundland to work with the Grenfell Mission - a long way from home and family. There and wherever God has led us since, to Edmonton and now to Dundas, he has shown us a church where we can worship with a family we can call our own.

In 2007 we were looking for a new church and one nearer to Dundas than the one we had attended since moving from Edmonton in 1992. At St. John’s we found the Discovery Service very welcoming, enjoyed the music, teaching and we were even taken out to breakfast! But it was at the 11:00 service that it was confirmed, for me at least (Judith), that we were in the right place. I had wanted to get involved with helping others and when Sheryl Wickens-Perrie stood up at Announcements and said that washer-uppers were needed to work with them at the Wednesday Hamilton Out of The Cold location, I knew then that was for me. I have worked with HOOTC on Wednesdays ever since. We joined St. John’s and we both serve in areas where God leads us, and have very much appreciated the opportunity to worship among friends who love the Lord, and who belong to God's family here.

Posted 2015-08-25


Harry Weaver

In 1986 Betty and I were retired from teaching, were living in Woodbridge, and attending Christ Church Woodbridge Anglican Church. Our two older boys were living in the West. Tom, our youngest, got married, got a job at Stelco in Hamilton and soon they had a baby girl.

In 1989 we decided to move to Hamilton to be close to our remaining family in Ontario. After settling in, we attended several Anglican churches with lukewarm results. One day while out walking, we stopped to look at an interesting church on Charlton Avenue. The rector, Father David Sinclair, happened to come out, saw us and walked across to road to talk to us. He invited us to come to church the next Sunday.

The first day at St. John’s we met the super-greeter, Hal Devins. Somehow I noticed his hands, and said, “Were you a catcher?” I had been a catcher also, and so started an ever growing friendship.

In two weeks when we returned, Hal saw us coming, checked his blue book and greeted us by name. Betty said, “Boy, you’re good, Hal.” Hal humbly admitted why his memory was so good: the blue book. Hal’s friendship soon grew to include his wife Adrienne, and her sister Susan McKay and her husband Dave.
And so it grows.

Two of the first people to befriend us were Elsie Adams and her daughter Susanne. It was through Elsie that we heard about all the church families that had so many connections down through the generations. And Susanne later graciously welcomed us to use the format of her father’s funeral for Betty’s. Another early welcomer was Olga Miller who engulfed Betty and me with huge hugs and continued to do so through the years. Then later came Lynda Winter and Jennifer Settle: they had been best friends since high school and made me their friend after Betty died when I needed friends to talk to.

But some of my best friends have been young. When Miranda Pilcher was about three, she was sitting, (or kneeling or jumping) in front of us near the front of the church near the end of the Early Service. The children were invited forward to pick up flags. She returned with two, solemnly turned and handed one to me, and fixing me with her big blue eyes willed me to start waving. Who could resist. I got carried away (my son Tom says, “Dad, you always go one step too far”) and ended up waving the flag wildly above my head. Later I became fast friends with Miranda and her parents Bruce and Sharon.

At the end of that service, early teen Kiri DeNew came down to the front to see who this weird old guy was. So started a wonderful friendship with three generations of her family, especially her mother Margaret and father Peter, and her grandparents, Margaret and Tom Wilding. Father Tom used to visit us when Betty was in long term care. He served us Communion while Betty and I sat holding hands, with Hal Devins witnessing: a joining of friends, faith, and family, brought together by St. John’s.

Posted 2015-06-20


Sue Lidgey 

Just over a year has passed since I moved to Kitchener, leaving behind my lifelong roots in the west end of Hamilton, part of my family, and my family at St. Johns. I of course see my own family as often as we can, but my St. Johns family is more so out of sight, but never out of mind.

When I left, in February of 2014, I was struck by just how much of my entire life had intertwined around St. Johns and its family, over the years. My parents attended AYPA as teens, and were connected through that, with many of the St. Johns families we remember. The Townsends, Firths, Russells, Heavers, and Bartletts come to immediate mind. My great-grand parents, James and Emma Attwood, and great-aunt Lois Attwood were also parish members. My parents, Ben Attwood and Joyce Davis were married at St. Johns in 1950, and Rev. John Bartlett, who they also knew from AYPA, performed the ceremony.

When ‘I’ arrived on the scene, John Bartlett performed my baptism, but as he was posted in Orangeville at the time, we travelled there for the service. At the age of approximately four, my great-aunt Lois would stop by and pick up my sister and I, and take us to Church School. I remained in St. Johns Church School until finishing Catechism classes, and Confirmation that followed.

During my teenage years [as some do] I strayed away from church for a while, until I met a young man, through a group of friends, who as it turns out, grew up at St. Johns as well. Odd I thought, that I had not noticed or remembered him as a child, but now, we definitely noticed each other. Eventually, I found that this young man was a server on Sunday mornings, and I started attending services, so I could catch a glimpse of him, and a walk home after service. One late Christmas Eve service, during my last year in Jr. High, while sitting in a pew near the back of the church, this young man slipped his signet ring into my hand, and we were ‘going steady’. That signet ring was given to him by his godfather, Rev. John Bartlett.

One November 1st, 1969, that boy, John Lidgey and I were married at St. Johns and continued our attachment through worship, committees, Parish Council, Boy Scouts, our children’s involvement, and many other social and learning experiences. I also had the privilege of being the church’s first female Rectors Warden, under Canon Ralph Price. During the 80’s (I am told it was a 7 year project, although it ran on for long after that) I supported my husband John as he worked side by side with David Little and many others, during the initial concept, the construction, and results of Artaban Place, something my family and I will forever remember, with pride and respect. I have continued to see my children’s and grand-children’s marriages and baptisms in this wonderful place, and sincerely spend great amounts of time recalling my life’s path through those sacred spaces. I look forward to any occasions that I have to visit you all, and “come home” to St. Johns. 

Posted 2015-06-20


Fred Dodd 

I came to St. John’s as a young teenager in 1935. My mother, Kathleen Dodd, brought me to church with her. I remember getting to know my future wife, Marion, at the AYPA meetings and dances.

Many important events for my family happened at St. John’s. Marion was baptized; Marion and I were married on February 23rd, 1945; my daughter, Janet, was baptized; Janet married Mario Pena-Carranza on August 5th, 1989; my grandsons, Timothy and Andrew, were baptized; my mother’s funeral was in 1990; my first grandson’s (Christopher John) funeral was also in 1990. (Janet reminds me that Christopher John was named after St. John’s because the church played a major role in the lives of all in our family.)

I have many fond memories of St. John’s over the past eight decades … attending the original Camp Artaban when it was on Lake Erie and camping was in tents; getting to know the church and the people through Sunday School and AYPA; Padre Holmes, a wonderful man for whom I had the utmost respect; the beautiful music produced by the organ and choir (I especially enjoyed listening to the choir with my sister-in-law, Sylvia Cummings, singing.); the construction of Artaban Place, a wonderful addition to our church ministries.

Something that has always meant a lot to me is the turning of the pages in the St. John’s Memorial Book. I served in the Air Force as a wireless operator on the Halifax from 1942-1945. I was fortunate to come back home from that experience but many others were not as fortunate. It is important to honour those who fell fighting for all of us.

Even though I can no longer physically attend St. John’s services I am grateful for the communion that is administered for me by Father Tom Wilding and Hal Devins. This allows me to continue to feel connected to my St. John’s family.

Posted 2015-06-20


John and Deborah Bowen

We had moved to Hamilton in 1996, and were checking out churches when we visited St John’s for the second time in 1997. We had been impressed the first time by the strong lay leadership in the church and the warm welcome (thanks, Hal!), and the first sermon we heard (by the rector David Sinclair) was on evangelism, so it looked promising. But we still hesitated.

At the end of the service that day, David Sinclair announced, “Susan McKay has something to say.” Susan came to the lectern and said something like this: “I’m not sure why I’m saying this, or if it is meant for someone, but I feel God wants to say, if you’re wondering whether to get involved at St John’s, the answer is yes. Just do it!” We were stunned. That afternoon, I called Susan (whom I hardly knew), and said, “We think maybe that was for us.” She replied. “Oh, thank goodness. I felt people were avoiding me after the service, or giving me funny looks and I was wondering if I’d got it wrong.” But she hadn’t, and we’ve been here ever since.

Posted 2015-05-21 


Brian Henley

Even before moving into the Locke-Charlton area of the Hamilton in 1985, the Church of St. John the Evangelist was well-known to me through my friendship and work relationship with Katharine Greenfield. Even though I had no Christian background or faith, I did learn about both the history of St. John’s and Christ Church Cathedral from Miss Greenfield, who had deep roots in both places of worship.

Through the Church of St. John the Evangelist, God worked on me in an immediate, dramatic way as well in a variety of  long term process ways.

One day, my son, Didymus (Miss Greenfield’s godson incidentally) asked me if I would go with him to a Sunday morning service at St. John’s. This was a surprise request as neither he nor I had ever gone to church much, together or separately. The reason for his asking is now long-forgotten, but it had something to do with his friendships with Luke Rudderham and Steve McKay and a project they were all working on.

I remember being welcomed in a friendly manner but was left partially unaffected, partially offended, and mainly uncomfortable by the service. Being both decidedly non-Christian as well as going through serious addiction issues at the time, hearing God’s word being proclaimed, listening to communal prayers, and the rest made my restless, unhappiness and emptiness in life all the more pronounced.

Somewhat later, in a personal crisis that nearly did me in during some very dark overnight hours, I turned my life over to God and accepted Jesus as my Saviour.

The following morning I called, and then visited, Rev. Sinclair in his office at St. John’s, had a very profound talk with him. We prayed together.

From that point, it was a joy to attend services at St. John’s every week.

Equally important was the establishment of a friendship with David Little, whom I grew to both love and admire deeply.

David’s establishment of the small group, Saturday Stuff Guys, was such a blessing for all who participated. With David’s impetus and the work of so many other people, it was a joy, and a trial at times, to have the Discovery Service initiated and developed.

God has called me to another pasture, Eucharist Church, but St. John’s continues to be a factor in my faith life as I occasionally drop by for a Discovery Service. I also retain good friendships with many in the St. John’s family, Sarah Wayland, Dave Parkinson to name just two of many.

As St. John’s celebrates its special anniversary year, it is my prayer that it will continue to enhance its impact on the neighbourhood, on the city and on wider mission fields.

Posted 2015-05-15 


Roger Munn

In mid-April 1960, I waited at the door of St. John’s Church for my new girlfriend to come out with her family. They had invited me to come with them to Chippewa for a visit with their Gram. After a few more times waiting at the church door, her father, Roly Lee, invited me to come inside. Raised a Presbyterian, all the chanting seemed a bit strange to me, but it was wonderful.

On December 14, 1963 Bonnie Lee and I were married by Padre Lamble, an interim Priest at St. John’s. This was his first marriage, as well as ours. During our instructions he voiced concern that he feared dropping the ring and it going down the grate at the chancel steps. Sure enough, he dropped the ring, but the Alter Boy, Tom McNairn, caught it just before it reached the grate.

In 1965, our first son Jamie was baptized at the Font, then Lee, our second son in 1967, followed by our daughter Kate in 1972. We did not attend church very often at this time, but never missed the Christmas Eve service.

Jack Wheeldon and Harry Jarret were always very friendly to me and the boys at the Father and Son banquets. Jack remodeled our kitchen and bathroom the first time, teaching me as he worked. These skills have helped me with the many renovations we have made to our house over the years.

In the mid 1980’s, all three of our children, along with myself, were confirmed. This is when I started to get involved at St. John’s by first joining Parish Council, and then the church choir. I soon became Church Warden against my better judgement, but managed with much help from Hal Devins.

The editors of our 100th Anniversary book back in 1990 were Peter Hill and Tom Angie. Being a printer, and owning Mountain Action Graphics, I printed all the anniversary books. I understand there are still a few copies of the book available.

I still enjoy the traditional service at St. John’s, but recently attended the Discovery Service and quite enjoyed it. However, I will remain at the service with the Choir.

Posted 2015-05-11 


Dave McKay

My introduction to St. John’s was through Camp Artaban, the Ancaster camp started and run by St. John’s clergy and laity. Camp manager, Bill Russell, hired me in 1966 to the lofty position of “workboy”. My duties included cleaning toilets, fixing roads and making sure the female leaders forgot about being homesick. It was at the camp that I met my wife, Susan.

As Susan & I started dating she invited me to join the Anglican Young Peoples Association (AYPA). The adult leaders were very progressive and so us teens were given a lot of responsibility for programming, including organizing and running a conference at Canterbury Hills. This “hands on” church experience really enthused me.

Into my late teens and early twenties I strayed from church altogether. However, when Susan & I married in 1971 I promised that, if we had children, I would become a regular attender at church when our first child turned one. My thinking was that children cannot make an informed decision about religion and spirituality unless they are exposed to them. God blessed Susan & I with a daughter, Carolyn, in 1976, and true to my word I became a regular attender at St. John’s in 1977.

In fact, I embraced St. John’s and tried to help the church to be the best it could be. This commitment included being a warden for three stints of two years each. One of the most difficult times as warden involved the 1985 renovations of the old parish hall which was located two lots west of the church building. Working with John Lidgey, Hal Devins, David Little and close to 100 volunteer workers, we modernized the old Hannah Street School structure to meet the needs of the parish into the future. I was proud of what we had accomplished and so was devastated when the insides of the hall were destroyed by fire in 1990. I received a call from a Hamilton Spectator reporter asking me, “How do you feel about your parish hall burning down?” I wisely did not respond with the first thoughts that came into my mind.

The silver lining in the apparent setback for our church was that we had to take a hard look at our options. The option we chose was to buy the house next door, raze the parish hall shell that remained, and build a non-profit housing project attached to the church (with the parish hall in the basement). We then embarked on a mission of self-discovery through a task force called “The Futures Study Group”. We felt that God was urging us to grow and so that is the direction we went. In fact, St. John’s had its biggest growth spurt since the 60s. I was honoured to be part of that process, and especially to have learned through that group to always trust that “God is in charge”.

Posted 2015-05-11 


Sylvia Cummings 

I have been a member of St. John’s for my entire life, and was baptized in 1934 by Rev. Arnold Brooks who was the fourth rector of this parish. My older sister Marion and I are the daughters of Herbert and Myrtle Walker who were active members at St. John’s in the early years. My father served as churchwarden from 1924 to 1928, and my grandfather, Edward Hockaday, was churchwarden from 1909 to 1912, and again in 1917.

I don’t know exactly when my grandparents and parents came to St. John’s, but I believe that my grandparents attended right from the beginning in 1890.

On November 21, 1959 I married Mike Cummings at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church just down the street from St. Johns. I remember my mother saying that she would not come to the wedding if it was held in a Roman Catholic Church. Father John Bartlett, the rector at that time, said that if my mother didn’t attend the wedding, she would regret it for the rest of her life. He also said that he would personally come and pick her up for the wedding, which he did! Our son and daughter were both married at St. John’s in the late 1980’s.

St. John’s has always been my parish home. Mike has supported me in many ways and attends special services and events with me to this day.

As for myself, I was a member of the Junior and Intermediate Choirs, where we sat around the baptismal font at the rear of the church. Years later I joined the Senior Choir under the direction of the late Ernest Crickmore, who was my uncle. I am still singing in the choir, along with Adrienne Devins and Susan McKay (both nee Walker, no relation). I say this because I babysat both of them in the 1950’s.

Over the years, I have been a Sunday School teacher, attended the Junior Auxiliary, chaired the Parish Bazaar for a number of years, and served on the Futures Planning Committee.

I really do cherish my many years (80+) at St. John’s.

Posted 2015-05-01. 


Hal Devins  

In 1956 I attended a family wedding with my parents. The memories I have are of organ pipes on both sides of the church, and stain glass windows above the altar, specifically the one with a picture of Jesus holding a lamb. I was nine years old.

I was born in 1947 and baptized, along with my twin brother, at Sixth Avenue United Church in Regina Saskatchewan. In 1952, my family moved to Hamilton Ontario where we quickly became regular attenders at St. Johns United Church. I was confirmed there in 1959.

In 1965 I started dating a girl named Adrienne who invited me to go to church with her. You guessed it, it was St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, and yes, the same church where the wedding took place back in 1956. I probably didn’t know it at the time, but my life and faith, were about to change.

On April 7, 1968 I was confirmed again, this time in the Anglican Church. Three months later, on July 6, Adrienne and I were married at St. Johns. Later down the road, all three of our daughters were married here as well.

My involvement in the life of St. Johns started in 1972 when I was first elected to Parish Council. Since then, I have been on a number of parish and diocesan committees, including, as others have done, a number of stints as churchwarden. In 1999 I retired from Stelco to devote my time to congregational care here at St. Johns, and to the children of Haiti through Canadian Friends of Hôpital Albert Schweitzer.

A big influence on my life is the attitude of stewardship which states that stewardship is simply recognizing that all we have is a gift from God, and that we are called by God to use these gifts to do His work in the world.

I can’t imagine what my life would be like today if it hadn’t been for the “girl who invited me to St. Johns”. I have been greatly blessed over the years, and my parish family has been a big part of these blessings. My personal faith has grown in ways that I could never imagine, and thanks to the many people who have influenced and supported me along the way, these blessings continue today.

Posted 2015-05-01 


Upcoming Soon

  • Sunday, April 22, 2018: The Fourth Sunday of Easter
    April 22, 2018

    8:15 a.m. The Early Service. A quiet said service of Holy Communion in the tradition of The Book of Common Prayer, held in the Chapel of St. Michael and St. George (downstairs from the church proper).

    9:30 a.m. The Discovery Service. A less formal liturgy with the worship band. Holy Eucharist

    11 a.m. The Choral Service. Choral Eucharist and music by organ and the Parish Choir.

    The Assistant Curate, the Reverend Dr. Leonel Aboroa-Bolona, will be the presiding celebrant and Jody Balint, will be the preacher. This is our student, Jody Balint's, final Sunday with us. Come along as we bless her for her future in ministry.

  • Wednesday Eucharist
    April 25, 2018

    10 a.m. Holy Eucharist in the tradition of the Book of Common Prayer at the Nave Altar in the church proper.

  • The Commissionaires- Live on Locke
    April 27, 2018

    with opening act Aaron Powell | Doors open at 7:00 pm | Performance begins at 7:30 pm | Tickets $20 in advance, $25 at the door, Students and Seniors $15 |

  • Opera Deluxe
    April 28, 2018

    An evening of favourite opera arias and duets | Doors open 6:30 | Concert begins 7:00 pm | Tickets general admission $35, students $25, children under 12 free

  • Sunday, April 29, 2018: The Fifth Sunday of Easter
    April 29, 2018

    8:15 a.m. The Early Service. A quiet said service of Holy Communion in the tradition of The Book of Common Prayer, held in the Chapel of St. Michael and St. George (downstairs from the church proper). The Assistant Curate, the Reverend Dr. Leonel Abaroa-Bolona, will be the presiding celebrant and preacher.

    9:30 a.m. The Discovery Service. A less formal liturgy with the worship band. Holy Eucharist. The Rector, the Venerable Dr. David Anderson, will be the presiding celebrant and the Assistant Curate, the Reverend Dr. Leonel Abaroa-Bolona, will be the preacher.

    11 a.m. The Choral Service. Choral Matins and music by organ and the Parish Choir. The Rector, the Venerable Dr. David Anderson, will be the officiant and the Assistant Curate, the Reverend Dr. Leonel Abaroa-Bolona, will be the preacher.

  • Wednesday Eucharist
    May 2, 2018

    10 a.m. Holy Eucharist in the tradition of the Book of Common Prayer at the Nave Altar in the church proper.

  • Sunday, May 6, 2018: The Feast of Saint John the Evangelist: Patronal Festival
    May 6, 2018

    8:15 a.m. The Early Service. A quiet said service of Holy Communion in the tradition of The Book of Common Prayer, held in the Chapel of St. Michael and St. George (downstairs from the church proper). 

    9:30 a.m. The Discovery Service. A less formal liturgy with the worship band. Holy Eucharist.

    11 a.m. The Choral Service. Festal Choral Holy Eucharist and music by organ and the Parish Choir.

    The Assistant Curate, the Reverend Dr. Leonel Abaroa-Bolona, will be the presiding celebrant and the Rector, the Venerable Dr. David Anderson, will be the preacher at all services.

  • Wednesday Eucharist
    May 9, 2018

    10 a.m. Holy Eucharist in the tradition of the Book of Common Prayer at the Nave Altar in the church proper.

  • Sunday, May 13, 2018: The Sunday of the Ascension: Jerusalem Sunday
    May 13, 2018

    8:15 a.m. The Early Service. A quiet said service of Holy Communion in the tradition of The Book of Common Prayer, held in the Chapel of St. Michael and St. George (downstairs from the church proper). The Rector will be the presiding celebrant and preacher.

    9:30 a.m. The Discovery Service. A less formal liturgy with the worship band. Holy Eucharist.

    11 a.m. The Choral Service. Festal Choral Holy Eucharist and music by organ and the Parish Choir. Incense will be used at this service.

    The Reverend Canon Dr. Brian Ruttan, our Honorary Assistant, will be the presiding celebrant and or Rector, the Venerable Dr. David Anderson, will be the preacher at the Discovery and Choral services.

  • Wednesday Eucharist
    May 16, 2018

    10 a.m. Holy Eucharist in the tradition of the Book of Common Prayer at the Nave Altar in the church proper.

  • Sunday, May 20, 2018: The Day of Pentecost
    May 20, 2018

    8:15 a.m. The Early Service. A quiet said service of Holy Communion in the tradition of The Book of Common Prayer, held in the Chapel of St. Michael and St. George (downstairs from the church proper).

    9:30 a.m. The Discovery Service. A less formal liturgy with the worship band. Holy Eucharist.

    11 a.m. The Choral Service. Festal Choral Holy Eucharist and music by organ and the Parish Choir.

    Our Rector, the Venerable Dr. David Anderson, will be the presiding celebrant and our Honourary Assistant, the Reverend Canon Dr. Brian Ruttan, will be the preacher at all services.

Service Times


8:15 a.m., The Early Service, Holy Communion in the tradition of the Book of Common Prayer. In the chapel of St. Michael and St. George.

9:30 a.m., The Discovery Service, with our worship band, a less formal liturgy of Holy Eucharist, in the church proper.

11 a.m., The Choral Service, in the classic Anglican and choral traditions with organ and the Parish Choir.


10 a.m., Wednesday Chapel Eucharist, Holy Communion in the tradition of The Book of Common Prayer, in the Chapel of St Michael and St George (downstairs).


Messy Church, on the third Thursday of each month. Messy Church is a hands-on worship experience for the entire family with crafts, drama, songs and (perhaps best of all) dinner!


Our Mission

God calls us to help people become followers of Jesus, equipped for ministry in the church and in the world, through nurture, worship, evangelism and service.

Contact Us

The Church of St John the Evangelist
320 Charlton Avenue West
Hamilton, ON L8P 2E7
tel: 905-522-0602905-522-0602

The church office is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9 a.m. until noon.

To contact us by email click here.

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