|Don Heights Unitarian Congregation was founded in 1956. Our first minister was Jay Chidsey who remained with the congregation for eight years and Norman Abbott was our first Chairperson of the Board of Directors.|
Rev. Jay Chidsey
During our first four years, Sunday services were held in various locations such as school auditoriums and factory cafeterias. We were able to build our first church in 1960 at Kennedy and Highway 401 in the east end of the city. In order to accomplish this, many fund-raising events were held and debentures undertaken by members of the congregation.
|Our first church, built in 1960|
It was during this time - in the 60's - that our numbers were at their highest. Creativity flourished and there was much involvement in social action. Part of our space was given over to a nursery for mentally challenged children and continued until professional qualifications were changed beyond our power to meet them.
During this time we initiated Stratford Festival Unitarian weekends and offered packages to Unitarians across Canada and the U.S. This provided an opportunity for Unitarians to meet and greet each other. Our Arts Committee sponsored a number of events with well-known speakers which attracted many visitors to our church and brought us considerable press coverage.
Prior to leaving our congregation in 1964, our minister assisted us in lay leadership until the time when we would call another minister. During the next few years we had number of ministers both full-time and part-time. From 1973-2000 Don Heights was a lay-led congregation.
In 1985 we embarked on a plan to redevelop our property - we sold our air rights to the Co-operative Housing Federation thus enabling them to demolish our building and erect a 10-storey co-operative apartment building with space for Don Heights. The building was completed in 1991. Our circular space provided a wonderful new home for the congregation.
|Bill White Housing
Over the next few years the building on Antrim Crescent developed many problems so it was agreed to sell it. In 2000 space was rented at the Civic Garden Centre at Edwards Gardens to hold our services and social gatherings. We moved from the Garden Centre when they began their expansion and redevelopment.
We have been at our present location since 2004 and enjoy the spaciousness and the ability to hold services and programs at all times. Rev. Debra Faulk, was called to our congregation in 2006 as our full-time minister. Rev. Faulk remained with Don Heights until 2010 when she moved to the Calgary Congregation.
Don Heights continues to meet at 18 Wynford Drive Suite 102. We are a lay-led congregation with active Sunday Services, Social Action, Education and Fellowship Committees.