The History of St. Thomas the Apostle Anglican Church

Sod was turned by the Rev. A. B. Thomas, Trinity Church, to build St. Thomas Mission, with completion in September 1951.  St. Thomas Sunday School opened under the supervision of Rev. John Swan, the assistant curate at Trinity Church.  Sunday School for senior and junior children was held in the afternoons.  The basement had a dirt floor, so classes were held upstairs. It was quite crowded for the ten teachers and 150 children who attended Sunday School at that time.

The first Sunday Service was held on November 16, 1952, conducted by Rev. Thomas.  The following week, Rev. John Swan began regular Sunday Services in his first parish, now called the Church of St. Thomas the Apostle.  It was a three point parish with St. David's (Cambridge) and Christ Church (Ayr) to become a two point ministry with St. David's seven years later with the Rev. C. S. Brett - Perring as rector. 

The first years of St. Thomas Church were a time of numerous organizational activities.  In 1951, Trinity Church looked after the Board of Management and two wardens were appointed from Trinity. When Rev. Swan became rector the following year, a Board of Management and two Wardens were elected from the congregation. 

The choir was started under the direction of Rev. Swan with eight members.  On Easter Sunday 1953 the choir was finally robed through a joint sewing effort by the ladies of the church.  For the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth, St. Thomas choir joined Trinity choir for a special service.  Fast forward thirty years to the year 1981 when a new addition to the church was decided upon.  The sod turning ceremony took place on August 6, 1981.  A year later it was deemed the end results were well worth the work.  The red carpet and sparkling chandelier in the foyer, the meeting room, minister's office and sacristy, a nursery with colorful walls, new lights in the nave completed the upstairs work.  A new kitchen complete with many cupboards, double sinks and two ranges provided a venue for coffee time and future social events.  Basement renovations and creation of a new parish room plus outside grounds work completed the project during 1982.  On January 6, 1983, Bishop Morse Robinson conducted a service of Dedication and Renewal.  A service of Thanksgiving for the retiring of the church mortgage on May 14, 1989 was a joyous evening celebration attended by clerical and dignitaries and former rectors. 

The church's stained glass windows deserve mention.  Over the altar a large stained glass window depicts our Lord with out-stretched arms and reads, "Come unto Me."  To note, this beautiful window came from a deconsecrated Anglican church in Hensall, Ontario in the late seventies, while remaining stained glass windows have been donated as memorials by individuals and organizations.

Throughout the years, St. Thomas church has been a "bee hive " of organizational activities.  The Little Helpers Mothers group of young mothers provided an active and happy addition to church life during the years 1961 - 1972.  The Girls Auxiliary, an organization similar to the Girl Guides, ages 12 - 19 started in 1955 and continued until 1971.  The Junior Auxiliary in 1955 and the Church Boys League were both groups of boys and girls.  All three groups worked for various church and other badges . Over the years, the Church offered their facilities to the Scouts, Cubs, Guides, Brownies and Beavers for their meetings and special Lord Baden Powell Sunday Services. 

A Young People's Group, AYPA, included teenagers from St. Thomas's and St. David's who held two meetings a month.  The Ladies Tokos Group was formed and their main objective was fundraising to furnish and decorate the nursery.  The Ladies Guild held their first bazaar on November 14, 1952, and in the fall of 1960 the name Frosty Fair was introduced.  When new groups started, the Guild helped to support them financially.  In the early years, many social events were held.  Fiftieth (2002) and Sixtieth (2012) anniversary celebrations were special events.  St. Thomas Altar Guild was started in 1953, still a very dedicated group of ladies who look after the Elements, linens, flowers and various other duties connected to the beautification of the church for Sunday and special services.

Two services of Ordination to the Diaconate took place at St. Thomas Church.  The first on June 11, 2000 for Rev. John Calendar and Rev. John Macintosh, with Ordinant, the Most Rev. Percy R. O'Driscoll, Bishop of Huron.  The second, on October 4, 2003 for Rev. Karen Kovats, with Ordinant, the Rt. Rev. Bruce H. Howe, Bishop of Huron.

On a sad note, a service of Thanksgiving and deconsecration for our sister church, St. David's Anglican Church took place on Thursday, October 22, 2009.  The officiant, the Rt. Rev. Terrance Dance was joined by several former priests.  A stand-up reception followed in the downstairs parish room.  A number of former St. David's parishioners were warmly welcomed to join St. Thomas congregation following the closure of their well loved place of worship.  Over the past 65 years nine Anglican priests have faithfully served the parish of St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Cambridge.  This concludes the presentation of the history of St. Thomas Church, locally known as, "the little church on the corner." May God in His Wisdom grant that St. Thomas continue to be a loving, caring, sharing meeting place to do His Work in the years to come.

Respectfully Submitted, Helen Miller    - June 2016