Picture of the original Westbrook United Church
Picture of the current Westbrook United Church
Westbrook came into existence around the year 1835. The village grew and by 1873 had a population of 108, two churches, two blacksmiths, a churn factory, a store, a post office, and a hotel - “Sproule’s Farmers’ and Drovers’ Inn”.
The two churches were the “Wesleyan Methodist Church” and the “Episcopal Methodist Church” which were part of the Waterloo-Cataraqui circuit. The Wesleyan Methodist church was built in 1862 and the building still stands today. It is occupied as a home on the south side of Princess Street. The Episcopal Methodist erected a limestone building in 1867 and the building still remains in existence today as a church. These two churches remained until 1884, when they united together to become one, “Westbrook Methodist Church". It was decided that the newly formed church would occupy the former Episcopal Methodist building and still is the case today.
In the early 1900’s, as time passed and other churches became in existence, there were only three churches which made up the Waterloo-Cataraqui circuit, Cataraqui, Collins Bay and Westbrook. In June 1925, when the United Church of Canada was formed, this circuit with the three churches became part of this union. At which time Westbrook Methodist Church then became "Westbrook United Church". The Waterloo-Cataraqui circuit remained in place until 1958 when the pastoral charged reduce to two churches. Collins Bay built their own church, which is now known as “Edith Rankin Memorial United Church”. At that time, the two remaining churches became the Cataraqui-Westbrook Pastoral Charge and remained as a two-point charge until approximately 1992, when they decided to dissolve and became their own entities.
Until 1962, the only changes that had been made to Westbrook United Church was the installation of electric lights (money donated from Kresges Company in 1940) and change the heating from coal. However in 1962, an addition was added on to the back of the church for the Christian Education Building (currently known as the church hall). The church went through a major renovation in 1967 in time for the celebration of its “centennial” year and many of the furnishings in the church was acquired from Brock Street (Cooke”s United Church) prior to its demolition. A year later, there was a fire exit added in the basement of the hall and two washrooms in the hall’s upstairs.
Over the years since 1968, there have been many minor upgrades to the church and property. Such things include the removal of the front vestibule of the church, hooking up to the city water, installing a chair lift in the church hall, ramps for easy access to the hall and church, installing beautiful stained glass over the church’s front door and cross, paving of the east side parking lot and the addition of a parking lot on the west side of the church.
As like many organizations, Westbrook United Church has had its challenges over the years. It has however, been able to work through these challenges with the generous support and dedication of its members.
The year 2017 was not only a special year for Canada, as it celebrated the 150th anniversary of Confederation, it was also a very special year for Westbrook United Church. In March 2017, Westbrook United Church was added by the City of Kingston to its Heritage Register, and in October, the church also celebrated its 150th anniversary.