Wesley United Church

We welcome the opportunity to welcome you

Mission Statement

Wesley United Church's mission, as part of the fellowship of The United Church of Canada, is to lead people into a lively encounter with God through services providing for the worship of Almighty God, both to its own congregation and its radio audience; to promote the redemptive and social challenge of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to the community and the world; and to build up the membership in the faith through spiritual nourishment, care and loving support for one another in the congregation.

Wesley United Church has been designated a Municipal Heritage Structure, by the city of St. John's, for its aesthetic and historical value. It is located at the corner of Patrick Street and Hamilton Ave. in the west end of the city. Wesley United Church is aesthetically valuable because it is a fine example of Queen Anne architecture. It features many elements of this style, including varying towers (one tower being 90 feet high), pediments, columns and arched doors that have tracery in their transoms. The church has rounded towers with arched windows, and the front facade features a Romanesque ached tri-window with circular motifs and this is complemented by the circular window located high in the gable. Wesley United Church has a tall steeple which is set off by eaves, brackets and corner buttresses with pyramidal peaks. It also has an adjoining building which houses radio station VOWR (Voice Of Wesley Radio).

Wesley United Church is historically valuable because of its age and its association with radio station VOWR. Work began on the church in 1907 and on June 26, 1908 the church was officially dedicated and opened. A notable appointment to the church was an ornamental window inscribed to the memory of Reverend George Boyd, who was a great proponent for constructing the church. Wesley United Church as opened and officially dedicated by The Reverend Doctor Albert Carman; General Superintendent of The Methodist Church of Canada and was named for the founder of Methodism, John Wesley.

The role of Wesley United Church as a pioneer of radio broadcasting is singularly noteworthy. Radio station VOWR was the brainchild of Reverend Joseph G. Joyce, minister of Wesley United Church from 1922-1930. Joyce had been a radio enthusiast from it advent and, early in his ministry, saw its unique potential as a vehicle of communication in the service of religion. He convinced the congregation of the benefits to be derived from a Church affiliated broadcasting station and to raise the funds necessary to acquire one. VOWR (then 8-WMC) was launched on July 20, 1924 from the church. Wesley United Church holds a very special place in the history of communications in Newfoundland and Labrador and Canada.

Further, this church is also significant because the radio station was the first station to broadcast religious services (which it continues to do twice each Sunday) and election results to Newfoundlanders. The station also made an important link during two tragedies. It was the only communications link to the Burin Peninsula during the 1929 tidal wave and also helped in rescuing survivors of the 1931 Viking Disaster. You can listen to VOWR throughout the Avalon Peninsula by tuning to 800 on the AM dial or on the internet by visiting the VOWR webpage at http://www.vowr.org 

If you are not familiar with St. John's and wish to find us, this link will bring up a map that you can print: Map

Ministry Personnel Serving Wesley United Church

Name Year Name Year
Rev. R.W. Freeman 1906 - 08 Rev. R.H. Mills 1975 - 82
Rev. J. Line 1908 - 09 Rev. R.G.H. Antle 1981 - 83
Rev. J.K. Curtis 1909 - 11 Rev. A.J. Roberts 1982 - 88
Rev. F.R. Matthews 1911 - 14 Rev. J. Patterson 1983 - 85
Rev. H. Royle 1914 - 18 Miss J. Coultas 1986 - 86
Rev. W.B. Bugden 1918 - 22 Rev. E.C. Sturge 1985 - 90
Rev. J.G. Joyce 1922 - 30 Rev. J.D. Massender 1987 - 89
Rev. G.B. Pickering 1930 - 37 Rev. A.G. Elliott 1988 - 2000
Rev. F.J. Armitage 1937 - 40 Rev. J. Gripton 1989 - 1992
Rev. W.B. Perry 1940 - 48 Rev. H. Ivany (Emeritus) 1990 - 95
Rev. A.J. Barrett 1948 - 55 Rev. I.M. March-MacCuish 1992 - 94
Rev. Dr. A.S. Butt 1955 - 59 Mr. S. Winsor 1994 - 95
Rev. F.G Weir 1956 - 59 Mr. S. Johnson 1995 - 2002
Rev. Dr. V.A. Smith 1959 - 65 Rev. C.D. Evans 2000 - 02
Rev. K.W. Penney 1963 - 68 Rev. K.T. Thorne 2002 - 05
Rev. R.G.R. Webber 1966 - 75 Rev. Dr. S. Wigston 2002 - 04
Mr. J.D. Bourne 1969- 75 Mrs. P. Johnson 2004 - 05
Rev. I.F. Jesperson 1972 - 75 Mrs. D. White 2005
Rev. W. G. Bartlett 1975 - 81 Rev. W.G. Mercer 2005 - present