What We're All About - Our Mission Statement:
Claremont United Church is a Christian community that shares the Good News of God's love. We worship and journey together in the hope that is found in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. We provide a spiritual home for growth, love, healing and celebration.
We are committed to working for Justice in our local community and the world. We welcome and affirm people to be their whole selves. We work to resist and interrupt systems of oppression that marginalize individuals and communities based on social identities. By collaborating, listening, and learning, we develop and support justice initiatives through education, advocacy, outreach, and compassion for all.
Our Minister -
Reverend Lionel Ketola
We are sorry to have said good-bye to Reverend Lionel Ketola, part-time minister here with us since October 2019, but wish him all the best for his call to ministry at First-Wesley United Church in Thunder Bay.
We are working with staff at the East Central Regional Council to guide us through the process of finding a new minister. Meanwhile between the Licensed Lay Worship Leaders and our own resources, services will continue every Sunday at 11 a.m.
Our Musicians -
The masked Bandits
In July, 2020, Gabrielle and Jane began recording music for online services from Gabrielle's home. When restrictions were lifted we were so happy to have Julia, Barb, and Steve join us for weekly recording sessions at the church -- wearing masks, of course, hence, our name. We had to learn a lot about technology in a hurry!
We are grateful to Rev. Lionel and Pastor Steve for the opportunity to make music in person.
Our Music Director -
Music has always been a huge part of my life. All my family played instruments and sang in choirs. I was about 13 when I was first asked to play the hymns for school assemblies. A BA in music from the University of Durham (UK) led to teaching and travelling before I met my husband Gerd, who brought me to Claremont and to the United Church.
From the start I got involved with various musical activities, particularly the Christmas Eve play which has been a tradition since 1988. In 1996 my predecessor, Clarion Baker, a “real” organist and amazing musician, retired due to ill health, and I found myself with very big shoes to fill. The 100-year-old 9ft.7-inch Mason & Risch concert grand piano that now accompanies most of our services was left to us by Clarion.
Gabrielle Untermann - Music Director
Jane Plewman - 1st Violin
Julia Shatford - 2nd Violin
Barbara Gilbert - Viola
Steve May - Cello
Claremont United Church has been a part of our community since 1817 when Wesleyan Methodists began meeting for services in Pickering. In 1865 the Pickering Circuit included Duffins Creek, Kinsale, Salem, Greenwood, Claremont and Brougham, among other hamlets. The first services in Claremont were held over an old planing mill and factory. In 1853 a proper church building was constructed, which served the Methodist congregation until the present church was built in 1889.
The Presbyterians also had a congregation in Claremont beginning in the mid-19th century. But by 1920 both Methodist and Presbyterian congregations were small, so they joined together to form the Claremont Union Church, meeting in the Methodist church building and being led by the popular Presbyterian Minister, Reverend Alexander McLellan. This predates by 5 years the nationwide union of Methodists and Presbyterians to form the United Church of Canada in 1925 (at which point the church became known as Claremont United Church).
Beginning in the 1930s, Claremont United formed a two-point charge with St. John's United in Brougham. In 1972, however, the Brougham church building was expropriated, along with the whole community, for the construction of the proposed Pickering Airport. However, the congregation continued to meet until 1987 when the church was closed, and the members of the congregation divided themselves amongst Claremont and other local churches. Since 1987, Claremont has been a single-point charge.