St. Aidan's Presbyterian Church
On December 10, 1909, a small group of people met in New Westminster and voted to organize a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, to be known as “West End Presbyterian Church”. First services were held in a schoolhouse on 12th Street. In 1910, a church member purchased two lots at the corner of 7th Avenue & 14th Street which he donated to the congregation, and during that year a church building was erected on the corner lot. On October 6, 1910, a dedication service was held in the new church. On June 29, 1911, the West End Church was re-named “St. Aidan’s”. (St. Aidan was an Irish monk who helped to establish a monastery on the island of Lindisfarne in Northern England in 634 AD, from which Christianity spread over most of Southern Britain).
In 1929, the church building was raised three feet and the basement added. In 1944, a spire was added to the steeple, and in 1953 a major addition was built on the back of the building to include a Sunday School room, enlarged kitchen facilities, choir room and minister’s study.
In 1912 and again in 1925, the congregation was asked to vote on union with the Methodists and Congregationalists, but the congregation chose to remain with the Presbyterian Church.
The Ladies’ Aid was formed in 1910 and it was their fund-raising efforts in the early years which sustained the church. One of their major activities was serving dinner at the Exhibition Grounds in Queen’s Park. Other ladies’ groups, The Young Women’s Society, later named the Evening Circle, and the Coronation Circle carried on the fund-raising tradition. The 20-30’s group, now known as Kara Fellowship, is still a very active group in the church, combining fund-raising with fellowship and social activities.
There have been many other groups and organizations active here over the years, including a drama group of the Young People’s Society known as the Unity Club, which developed into the present day Vagabond Players. Mission Band, Explorers, CGIT, Boys Club, Quilting Group, Men’s Club, and the Women’s Missionary Society were active groups for many years.