The Church’s legacy began with the sacrifice and service of the Rev. Joseph Sawyer, who in 1797, came into Upper Canada and York from New York State, converting a lonely land surveyor by the name of Nathanael Bangs to faith in Christ in the year 1799. Nathanael Bangs became his assistant in 1800 and together, as Methodist Circuit Riders, they traveled throughout the region. After two years as an assistant itinerant preacher, as was required at the time, Nathanael Bangs was ordained to the Methodist ministry in 1802.
While as a student of the Rev. Joseph Sawyer for those two years, Nathanael and Sawyer preached throughout Upper Canada and York region, preaching to natives and to the people who had immigrated to the area to start a new life on land offered to them for farming. Twice in his journals during 1800 and 1801, he refers to his ministry in York region and makes reference to this little area that was forming and would later be called “Markham”.
There was no town or village of Markham at that time; there were no churches, no communities, and no service organizations. There were simply small families who were trying to start a new life in a new land, and when Rev. Sawyer and his assistant Nathanael Bangs came through the area, they would all gather together in half-finished farm houses to hear these Circuit Riders tell them about Jesus.
During those 35 years between 1799 and 1834 before the Wesleyan Methodist Church was formed – that would later become St. Andrew’s United – the Methodist Circuit Riders traveled the countryside’s bringing people to faith in Christ and gathering people together into a community. And this church building stands, having been built in 1862 for the total cost of $6,500 dollars to replace a small white wooden structure– that had served them for nearly 30 years. This church building today stands as a memorial to their service and the sacrifice of those people who came to faith, and will cause us to pause, and to remember the goodness of God.
St. Andrew’s continues to live the legacy, developing ways to serve God and the community with compassion, integrity and joy. We continue to welcome new members, and hope that St. Andrew's will be viewed as a place where we can practice our faith and feel a sense of belonging.
ST. ANDREW'S IS A WELCOMING CHURCH, DEVELOPING WAYS TO SERVE GOD AND
THE COMMUNITY, WITH COMPASSION, INTEGRITY AND JOY.