Trinity Grace ‘s 100+ Years of Growth

   We, at Trinity Grace United Church, are proud to be part of the United Church of Canada – a socially and theologically progressive Protestant denomination with congregations across Canada.
   In 2017 three nearby congregations; Trinity United, St. James United and Grace Memorial United brought like-minded, faithful and visionary people together to form Trinity Grace United Church. A mosaic providing enthusiasm and pride in existing relationships as it cultivates new ones.

Church Beliefs
Enjoy the Coffee House at TGUC

Teaming Up To Serve Our Community

   Today, the TGUC congregation joins hands sharing a ministry vision for the community we serve. We’re proud to offer COVID friendly, open mic/community coffeehouse, a thrift store, weekly Bible Study, Sunday Worship Services and much more to come.

The Roots and Pillars Trinity Grace Grew From

   For over 100 years our church has been located here (originally Grace Methodist Church) focusing on feeding bodies and souls. Its history includes hosting the first food bank in Vancouver now becoming the current Community Breakfast with it’s heart for Jesus’ ministry of table hospitality. Simply, we;ve a strong tradition of welcoming strangers and neighbours to break bread together and to create spiritual community. Change continues being part of church experimentation, innovation and adaptation. At Trinity Grace it is an engrained tradition alive and flourishing today.

the earliest available picture of Grace Methodist … about 1921

1909, Spring

   Grace Methodist Church began serving the community through the help of Rev Dr. Robson and the Methodist and Extension Society of Vancouver. Rev Dr. A.M. Sanford and Rev Dr. E. Robson purchased its land at the corner of 16th and Burns (i.e. the current home of Trinity Grace United Church). It’s 1st official Service was in May, 1909, by Rev W. Elliott.

1909, June

   The Methodists began in 1908 in a small school building at Fourth Avenue and Vine. Kitsilano Methodist church was completed across the street and was dedicated.

1910

   Kitsilano Presbyterian Church was built in 1910 at the corner of Third Avenue and Vine Street.

1912

   Rev. William Elliot, Grace Methodist’s minister and his family shown in 1912.

   St James Church was established to do work in an ‘outlying’ area of Vancouver, at 2627 Trafalgar Road, for the First Congregational Church in Vancouver. This was one of two roots that grew into Trinity Grace United Church.

1916

   Financial issues closed the St James, 2627 Trafalgar Road church location until its reopening May 16th, 1920. 

1922

Grace Methodist Choir 1922

Grace Methodist Choir 1922

1923

   Grace Methodist church hall and gymnasium that was added in 1923.
   November 1st, 1922 the church began the fund raiser that made this 63 by 48 ft gymnasium and 9 Sunday school classrooms possible, along with paying off the $2000 balance of the mortgage on the church a year later.
   It opened November 17th and was dedicated the following Sunday, by pastor Rev G. H. Hamilton.

Grace Methodist Gymnasium 1923
as viewed in 1924

1925

TGUC Sunday School Staff 1925

January

   Grace Methodist Church, under the ministry of Rev H. W. Horton, joined the United Church in January of 1925 and was renamed Grace United Church.

   St James joined the United Church in January of 1925, as it renamed itself Trafalgar Road United Church.

   Kitsilano Presbyterian Church and Kitsilano Methodist Church entered the United Church. Kitsilano Presbyterian became St. Stephen’s United Church and Kitsilano Methodist became Crosby United Church.

   Grace Sunday school staff are featured on the left in one of our archive images from 1925.

1926

   Grace United Church Ladies Aid Tea held in Bill Bateman’s garden in 1926

Ladies Aid Tea 1926

1928, March 25th

   Trafalgar Road United Church closed March 25, 1928 to move to a new location.

1928, June 17th

   The Trafalgar Road United Church reopened at 10th Avenue and Trutch as St. James United Church.

1934, April 27th

Grace United 25th Anniversary 1934

1940

   Rev George H. Hamilton resigns Grace United to work as Padre at Officers Training Center in the Gordon Head camp and eventually being promoted to Major as the Senior Protestant Chaplain of the Sixth Canadian Division.

1942

Grace United Clark Circle 1941-42

Grace United Church Clark Circle
1941-42

1949


   A newspaper article appeared April 2nd regarding Grace United Church celebrating it’s 40th anniversary. Rev T. W. Reed was the minister that the 40th anniversary celebration services that weekend.

40th Anniversary of Grace Memorial

1952, July

   Crosby United Church and St. Stephen’s United Church amalgamated and became Kitsilano United Church, where they met in the Crosby United Church building at Second and Larch.

1955, February 10th

   St. James growth lead to expansion north to 10th Avenue. Completed and dedicated this day.

1956, November

   Plans for a new building began in 1956, and the new Kitsilano United Church building at Second and Larch was opened in November, 1959.

1958

   Grace United determined its needs for: ‘a more adequate Sanctuary’, ‘more suitable classrooms for a growing Sunday school’, and ‘new facilities for midweek activities the church was leading’ were adequate to commit to a new building. Fred Westcott, Grace United’s General Chairman helped guide the evolution to a ‘happier memories’ as the new building was completed. For the next 45 years he saw the benefit of that work and sharing, from the Grace congregation.

1959, May 17th

   The original Grace church with all its additions was replaced and dedicated. At its dedication the name became Grace Memorial Church, in honor of those who had offered their lives for freedom.

Congregation Members of Grace Memorial Church
Members of the congregation – Grace Memorial United Church
In Memory

1969, May 4th

   Grace Memorial Church celebrated it’s 60th Anniversary.

May Harron, Beth McRoberts, Betsie Vaneldik at
Grace Memorial 60th Anniversary Dinner
Grace Memorial 60th Anniversary Dinner
Rev Hugh Irwin, Fred Mc Ginn
Grace Memorial 60th Anniversary Dinner
Lily Bradshaw. Zella Black. Mabel Harron
at
Grace Memorial 60th Anniversary Dinner

1970, May 10th

Grace Memorial Board 1969 - 1970

Burning the Mortgage…

Back: Jim Arcus, Mrs Moffat, Floyd Roberts, Brit Ayers, Sam Hutchinson
Front: Rev Hugh Irwin, Mrs Hoatson, Harry Matthews, Gail Bond, Ken Greenaway

Ticket to Mortgage Burning Dinner

1980

   Grace Memorial became a two point Pastoral Charge with St Luke’s United Church. St Luke’s was disbanded in June of 1981.

1981

   February 1981 St Margaret’s Anglican Church at Dumfries and East 22nd was gutted by fire. Next month St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church at 1612 East 18th and the Hope Reformed Church at 920 East 19th were both destroyed by fire. Grace Memorial’s 74 year old location would eventually become the latest in this series when at 5:06am fire took Grace Memorial lost 2 or 3 historic bibles, amazing stain glass windows, its building and it’s congregations home away from home. Luckily there were no injuries although a home behind the church was damaged.

1982, December

   Grace Memorial Church became the 1st distribution point for the Vancouver Food Bank.

1983, February 17

   Grace Memorial had days of over 1,000 using its food bank distribution service.

1983, July 3rd, 5 am

   Grace Memorial United Church burnt down. At 10:30 am the congregation met for worship at Mount-View United Church.
   The minister, Rev Val Anderson also was the chairman of the food bank. He predicted the need for 5000 weekly food bags by the end the winter season. Continued work helped secure funding from changing sources and the on going delivery points at: West Burnaby United Church, St Jude’s Catholic Church, the Native Indian Centre, Christ Church Cathedral, and the North Shore Neighborhood House

1984, September 7th

  Window 1 was dedicated in loving memory of Ernest Morley by his wife and family.
  Window 2 was dedicated in loving memory of Mr. & Mrs. R. Merrick by Mellie & Bert McNeill.
  Window 3 was dedicated in loving memory of Gladys Robertson by May Paulson.
  Window 4 was dedicated in loving memory of William J. Kilfedder & Walter H. Cooper by their families.
  Window 5 was dedicated in loving memory of Mr. & Mrs. George Harron, Mrs. M.L. McEown, Mr & Mrs E.N. Harford, Mr F. Westcott and Mr. Hole, all ow whom are remembered from our former church windows.
  Window 6 was dedicated in loving memory of the Andrew and Reid families.
  Window 7 was presented by the Sunday School Students and friends of Grace Memorial United Church 1983 – 1984.

New Stain Glass Windows
   After a fire of 1983, that destroyed the churches 20 by 30 foot stain glass window, seven new two by eight foot windows were commissioned for the rebuilt church. Alicen Davie, the 25 year old daughter of Don Babcock, the one who created that prior window in 1959, was tasked with this new challenge.
   Symbols and esthetics are the base of the seven windows: the Greek letters alpha and omega, the burning bush, the dove and the Bible. The windows reflect, Christs birth, a churches dedication to the children, the law, the human ability to receive, the Last Supper, Christs promise to mankind and the tree of life which Babcock called the “sacred marriage”.
   The design has based on the lead lines, the flat blocks of color combined into simple designs.
   Like the 12th century artists Alicen respected, little glass painting was done to the handblown glass from Germany, France and England primarily used. Alicen did paint some pieces, like the head of the Christ child, later fired at 1250 ºF to melt those images into the glass.
   These windows are unique in how they modify church mood, depending on lighting. Sunny days, cloudy days or at night when light comes from inside, all have different impacts.

1984, September 16th, 7:30 pm

   Grace United Church rebuilt and rededicate. The third church building to be built on this site had the same outside dimensions as it predecessor. A member of the congregation who, as a child, attended the 1st church Service at this site in 1909, May Harron, was still among the regular worshipers.
   Unlike its predecessor, it incorporated new features. Handicap access was available to both floors. The sound system now included support for those hard of hearing and distribution of a video tape feed. It would now also include new Seniors Craft and Hobby, St John Ambulance Youth Brigade, and Academy of Religion and Life activity centers.
   The $370,000 investment the new church required still needed $30,000 at the time of dedication.

1987

1988

   Discussions about the amalgamation of Kitsilano United Church and St. James United Church began.

1992, June 14th

   St. James United Church and Kitsilano United Church agreed to amalgamate under the new name of Trinity United Church. That amalgamation was confirmed at this service.

1993

   St. James United Church reached an agreement with St Mark’s Anglican Church to hold services and share their building at 1405 Larch Street.

1994

   The Trinity United Church worked with a non profit society (i.e. St James Community Square Society) to arrange that the old St James property become a multi-purpose community centre… to be called St James Community Square. The Kitsilano United Church property had affordable housing built on it and was also used to partner in a new building that they shared with St. Marks Anglican parish.

1995

   St Mark’s Anglican congregation moved to Trinity United (across the street) while construction on their building proceeded. The next year, the former site of Kitsilano United was sold and the funds directed towards the renovations at St Mark’s. Trinity United Church shared worship space with St Mark’s at 1405 Larch Street until 2012

1997

2012

   Trinity United Church held worship services at various community centers and then rented space at Mt Pleasant Community Center.

2000

Trinity Church Banner 2000

2013, August

   Trinity United Church purchased the Rhizome Café at 317 East Broadway supporting the Heartwood Community Cafe and resurrecting Rhizhome Café goals. The church’s congregation worked to help those marginalized by society, 2SLGBTQ+ and those not comfortable in a church setting. August 12th, 2016 saw the official closing of Heartwood.

Trinity Church and Affirming Church
Serving Staff at Heartwood Cafe 2013
The Heartwood Project 2013
Deciding on the Heartwood Cafe
The Heartwood Proposal

2016

    Trinity United sold its building at 10th and Trutch to the City of Vancouver with St. James Community Square Society continuing to operate the site.  

Sale of Trinity Property
City Of Vancouver & Mayor Gregor Purchase Trinity Property

   Trinity United closed out its participation in the Café and began discussions with Grace Memorial about an amalgamation.

2018

   Trinity United Church amalgamated with Grace Memorial to become Trinity Grace United Church at 806 East 16th Ave.

2019, July

   Trinity Grace United Church became a fully accredited Affirming Ministry declaring itself to be fully inclusive and meeting complete United Church criteria. The official celebration was help the 17th of November, 2019.

2022, October

   Alaa arrived at the Vancouver International Airport after over two years of work on behalf of his migration to Canada and numerous COVID delays.

Help the Middle East humanitarian crisis

   Trinity Grace committed to helping with the current Middle East humanitarian crisis.. Alaa’s arrival was a concrete visual bench mark of the evolution of those efforts.