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United Church of Canada, Montreal-Ottawa Conference Fonds
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- United Church of Canada. Montreal-Ottawa Conference.
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99 m of textual records
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In 1925, all the Methodist churches in Canada, virtually all the Congregationalist churches, and approximately two-thirds of the Presbyterian ones joined to form the United Church of Canada. This amalgamation culminated a number of unification movements within the three denominations, which had earlier produced the Presbyterian Church in Canada (1875) and the Methodist Church (1884). The organization of the United Church is presbyterial, and membership in its boards is composed of an equal number of lay and clergy representatives. Individual congregations are governed by sessions, and these are grouped into regional presbyteries which exercise supervision over ministers and pastoral charges. Presbyteries are in turn grouped as conferences, with powers to ordain clergy. Legislation and policy are determined by the Church's General Council.
Scope and content
The records of the Montreal-Ottawa Conference of the United Church are arranged in the following series:
Denominational records prior to Union, 1824-1925
Records of each of the three parent denominations follow the same general pattern. There are minutes, usually printed, of the national executive body, and original minutes of the local unit corresponding to the geographical boundaries of the present Conference. Papers of associations at this level generally include the files of Sabbath School associations, ministerial associations, missionary societies, and theological colleges. A number of interdenominational clergy and mission groups are also represented; while a special series of correspondence, minutes, and conference reports covers the debates concerning union, 1906-1925. The Methodist materials begin in 1824, and the Presbyterian in 1841, and the Congregational in 1842.
Conference records, 1925-
Minutes of the Conference, and of the Conference-based Women's Missionary Society, Women's Union and United Church Women, are extant from the time of Union. The Montreal Presbytery maintains a record of proceedings, and supports a number of groups and associations (Minister's Wives Association, young peoples' groups, camps, missionary societies, United Church Women) whose work is documented by minutes, financial records and, occasionally, correspondence files. Also included are records of the Joint Theological Colleges of McGill University and of the United Theological College, 1912-1948.
Local Churches, 1832-
Many local churches retain their historical records, including civil registers. The Archives' holdings include records of approximately 75 individual congregations in the Montréal and Québec-Sherbrooke Presbyteries, consisting of minutes of governing bodies, communion rolls, minutes of organizations, accounts, annual reports, and occasionally photographs and architectural drawings. The most substantial and significant records are those of the Erskine and American (from 1832), including records of Canada Education and Home Missionary Society, 1833-1848, St James (from 1820), Zion Congregational (from 1832), and Odelltown (from 1829) congregations.
Missionary Work in French Canada, 1848-1861, 1876-1969
The importance to the United Church and its parent denominations of mission work in French Canada is documented by minutes of the French Canadian Missionary Society (1848-1861), and papers, including sermons, notebooks and correspondence of the French Evangelical Church of Canada (1876-1969).
Papers of individuals, 1822-1925
Papers of individuals include the correspondence, essays and sermons, 1870-1917, of Calvin E. Amaron; the Bieler Family; J. Armitage Ewing (largely concerning the controversies surrounding Union in 1925); William Mair, sermons, 1827-1855; Richard Robinson, diaries, personal records, sermon outlines, 1857-1912; Henry Wilkes, 1822-1878, and others.
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Originals, Copies, Printed Materials
Civil registers documenting baptisms, marriages and deaths are not kept in this archives, but are retained at the United Church Centre in Montréal.