In 1983 Halton Presbytery of the United Church of
Canada saw a need for a United Church in the North Burlington area south of
Dundas Street (Highway 5). The area was rapidly changing from a quiet
village surrounded by fruit and vegetable farms and soon to became a town
and then a city. A survey of the area was taken by Presbytery and from this
survey Tansley United Church had its early beginnings. It was originally
called Tansley Ministry, Tansley being the name of an early Post Master for
The Church Extension Council of Halton Presbytery
purchased a small parcel of land including a house on 2111 Walker’s Line
just north of Upper Middle Road. This house was used for offices and Sunday
School and Sunday services were held at Dr. Charles Best Public School while
a pre-fabricated steel building was set up on the property for worship.
1986, January - Tansley Ministry received their Charter
from the Presbytery with 120 members. In March the minister’s office and the
church secretary were moved to the portable.
Once the pre-fab building was ready, the old farmhouse
was demolished and on January 19, 1986 Tansley United Church was constituted
with 130 charter members signing the Official Roll. The cross that currently
hangs in the church was made from the beams of the farm house. 100 children
were enrolled in Sunday school by this time.
Rev. Jim Carney replaced Rev. Parr in 1987. By 1990,
the number of confirmed members had doubled to over 300. It was clear that
the pre-fab building and farmhouse could no longer serve the burgeoning
congregation, and plans were quickly made for a new permanent building to be
constructed on the site. The portable building came down and Notre Dame
Catholic Secondary School was the place of worship until the present
building was habitable.
In 1993 the foundation for the new church began and the
corner stone was laid 19 January. As the new building was opened, the
congregation called Rev. Donna Howlett to be Tansley’s half-time minister to
assist Rev. Jim Cairney. The U.C.W. was formed shortly after the dedication
of the portable and is a very active group today. Burlington Montessori
Preschool moved into the basement as a Monday-Friday tenant, and has been
part of Tansley since then.
In 1996, Rev. Jim Cairney left Tansley, and Rev. Donna
Howlett became the full-time minister. The congregation was still trying to
find their financial feet after the building construction problems, and the
half-time minister’s position was left unfilled for the time being.
In 1997, the congregation decided to finish the loft
and in order to raise funds, “sold” 1m. x 1m. squares of the floor. The new
“owners” got to paint a picture on their square. Although those colourful
works of art were eventually covered up by the final tile flooring,
photographs were taken first. In 1998, the second-floor project was
finished, and the “Loft” immediately became a popular meeting space for
church and community groups.
That same year, the congregation spearheaded a
publishing project which became “Church Quirks”, a book of church anecdotes
gathered from across Canada and published by the United Church of Canada in
1999. Later the same year, at a visioning day, Tansley created their current
mission statement: “to be an enthusiastic, Christ-centred family, journeying
in faith, looking in, reaching out…”.
Tansley was still designated to have both a full-time
and a half-time minister, and in 2001, Rev. Linda Clark, diaconal minister
from Hamilton, was called to fill the role of half-time minister.
The following year, in 2002, Rev. Howlett and Rev.
Clark helped to create “Bethlehem Live”, an outdoor re-enactment of the
Christmas story featuring a stable with live sheep, goats and a llama, with
most of congregation acting as citizens of Bethlehem (as well as tax
collectors, shepherds, angels and magi). Over 500 members of the community
came to visit Tansley that night, and the production was repeated the
In 2004, Rev. Howlett moved to the Halton Presbytery
office, and the congregation called Rev. Dick Prince as the full-time
minister. Rev. Prince strongly believed that connections made at various
groups in the church helped to knit together the congregation, and this
belief led to the creation of many “connection groups’ that met for
spiritual or social activities, including a book club, a prayer chain, a
bridge club, a photography project and bible studies.
Jane Walmsley became the first Music Director and she
was followed by Leslie Polci. When Leslie stepped down as music director in
2005 Michael Mulrooney, a former St. Michaels’ choirboy, and a talented
pianist who had worked in the orchestras of most of the big musicals in
Toronto became the Music Director.
In 2008, the congregation made the difficult decision
to officially reduce the ministry staff to only one full-time minister for
the first time in Tansley’s history. Both Rev. Clark and Rev. Prince chose
to leave at the juncture, and the congregation called Rev. Stephen Huntley
to serve as Tansley’s full-time minister, beginning May 1, 2008.
On Sunday the 2nd of June, 2011 Tansley celebrated its