KINGSTON, ONTARIO, CANADA
In the early part of 1970, when Rev. Harold Berry and his wife Mary Berry, decided that they should make a change in church relationship in order that Bro. Berry could enter the field of Evangelism, they felt led of God to join the Pilgrim Holiness Church of New York. Some lay people, dedicated to the cause of “Holiness with standards,” also felt that they should make a change and decided to form a Pilgrim Holiness Church in Kingston, Ontario, CANADA. This group met with the Conference President and Vice-president, and then asked Bro. & Sr. Berry and son Frederick to give leadership to this venture. They promised to stay with us for a year or two, which turned out to be eight. The Sunday services were held in the basement of the Shillington home and the prayer meetings in the Holden home. We had a congregation of seventeen, including young people and children, but all seventeen were faithful to every service.
Later, we rented the Strathcona Park Presbyterian Church for Sunday afternoon and evening services and Thursday night prayer meetings. Their church board was extremely cooperative in every way and for five years we worshipped at this location.
As new people began to worship with us, we felt the time had come for us to build a church. Four of the necessary five building lots, which were owned by Herman & Freda Holden west of the city limits, were donated and the church building was started in the Spring of 1975. It was with great anticipation the “Pilgrim family” at Kingston looked forward to the Hallenbeck “crew” coming to help on our new church. The evening of August 17, 1975, they arrived, all prepared to start work bright and early the next morning. For the next eight days, we saw these men “in action” and the people around Kingston witnessed a ‘miracle.’ In eight days, the “crew,” along with Rev. Whitney, some preachers and laymen from Lake Placid, Brushton, Pierrepont Manor and Kingston, framed the new church which is 40x70 with a vestibule 22x30, closed it in, put up the trusses, sheeted and roofed it.
We were ready to move in our new church building on Easter Sunday, April 8, 1976. The Church Dedication service was held August 20, 1976. Rev. A. J. Whitney, Conference President, gave the stirring dedicatory message from the question in II Chronicles 6:18, “But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth?” The burning of the church mortgage took place May 17, 1981 with Rev. Whitney and Rev. Berry participating in the ceremony. In a little over five years the Lord helped us liquidate a $140,000 mortgage.
On July 8, 1979, Rev. Ronald Payne, his wife Esther and children “Ronnie Jim,” Kevin, Kimberlyn and Daniel, were called to assume the responsibilities of the work. The church did not have a parsonage building, so for two years, the church rented facilities for the pastor’s family. Construction of a new parsonage, under the supervision of Neil Snyder, began in June 1981 and the Payne family moved into the beautiful home on September 1,1981.
Under the Paynes’ talented leadership in all facets of ministry, including challenging messages and the music ability of the entire family, our church advanced in all areas. A bus ministry was started and the Sunday School grew, with a record attendance of 127 on November 13, 1984.
Bro. Payne conducted a Baptismal service in cold Lake Ontario on August 29, 1982. Fifteen candidates gave up-to-date testimonies, after which Rev. Payne, assisted by Edward Durham, Intern Pastor, baptized each one. June 8, 1981, was a day for the Kingston church to be “righteously proud.” Four young people, who grew up in our church, along with our pastor, Ronald J. Payne, were graduates of Hobe Sound Bible College. Ronald Payne, Dale Shillington, Neil Shillington and Wesley Holden all graduated from the Aldersgate School of Religion with their Master’s Degree in Christian Ministries and Jane vanderKraats graduated summa cum laude.
When Bro. Payne submitted his resignation in May 1986, each one’s concern was that we get the pastor that God wanted for Kingston. After much prayer, the board voted to call Bro. Berry to see if he would consider supplying for the balance of the Conference year. He met with the church board and agreed to accept the pastoral duties of the church that he was instrumental in organizing 15 years before. Bro. Berry’s first Sunday was August 17, 1986. The Lord certainly met with us in the morning service, in which Bro. Berry revealed his “secret” between him and the Lord - that, while he was in hospital June 8-10, the Lord spoke to him and asked him if he would consider pastoring Kingston again if he were asked. The Lord also gave him his text for the first message, Acts 27:31, “Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.” At the close of the service he invited everyone who was determined to “stay by the ship” to meet him and Sr. Berry at the front of the church and join in singing “Blest Be The Tie That Binds.” During these last 10½ months of Bro. Berry’s pastoring, great things were accomplished. A retaining wall and new steps were erected, a new sidewalk and landscaping done and the parking lot paved, one night, while in special services with Sr. Miller, Sr. MacFadgen and the Hamilton Sisters, under God’s leading, our pastor embraced every man in the church and expressed his brotherly love - a very unusual Heavenly visitation. He was heard to say that ‘this last year was the most rewarding of all his ministry.’
Bro. Berry, stricken with Lou Gehrig’s, was unable physically to carry on the strenuous duties of the pastorate. His loving wife cared for him patiently until he was taken Home peacefully on January 6, 1989. His widow, Mary, continued to be active in the church, until a massive stroke overtook her suddenly on September 21, 1996. She remained unconscious for six days when the Lord took her to be with Himself and her loving husband, Harold.
After much prayer, contacts and deliberations, the church called Rev, and Mrs. Paul Case, Sr., beginning their term July 10, 1987. Sr. Case’s parents, (Rev.) Annel and Blanche Eads, accompanied them to the parsonage. Bro. Eads passed away on April 26, 1988 and Sr. Eads continued to work diligently in all areas of the ministry — Sunday School teacher, organist, active in Women’s group — and was a great asset to our congregation. We appreciated the active part that each of the five adult Case children contributed to our worship from time to time and commend Bro. and Sr. Case for the responsibility they assumed as parents.
A beautiful new Rodgers church organ was given to our church by Richard and Pamela Williams, in loving memory of Elbert R Williams, and was dedicated January 29, 1989 for the Glory’ of God.
Through the sacrificial giving and interest-free loans from some of our church people, 9½ years after the parsonage was completed, the final payment was made. The mortgage burning took place April 28, 1991, the 15th Anniversary of our church, with Rev. A. J. Whitney and Rev. Paul Case, Sr. and board members participating.
When Rev, and Mrs. Paul Case, Sr. accepted a call to Schenectady, NY, our church called Rev. Emmett Wakefield, his wife Faith (Hunting) Wakefield and family. They accepted the call to the Kingston church and moved into the parsonage on July 21, 1994. They have three children, Adrienne, Lorinda and Emmett Joseph. The congregation is enjoying the ministry leadership of Bro. & Sr. Wakefield and the spirit of revival is keenly sensed.
For ALL that has been accomplished we say “TO GOD BE THE GLORY! GREAT THINGS HE HATH DONE!”
Last modified 12/9/00