Our church family traces its beginning in Belleville back to 1955 when two families united to form a Society comprised of 5 members. Phil and Madeline Cummings, with brother George, joined in worship and service with Fred and Vera Kemp. Shortly after forming the Society, Margaret Daw was received as a member on transfer from Newmarket. The Reverend P.L. Chase was appointed to oversee the Belleville Society, along with Frankford and Trenton. From the outset CARING typified the group of worshippers. As personal needs were met attendance grew quickly, requiring the purchase of a property in the east end of the city. It was situated on the southeast corner of Symington and Herchimer. A home was built on the property, and the basement served as the chapel. The upstairs was rented to help pay down the debt. The chapel seated 63 and the expanding Sunday School program topped 84 in attendance.
In one year the new congregation had been established and in 1956 Belleville was left to be “supplied”. The Reverend C.W. Kay encouraged Reverend Edith Mainprize, then a conference evangelist, to accept the fledgling Society. She initially declined the Belleville pastorate. Periodically, Ms Mainprize, with the assistance of local teacher Dalton Kirk, provided assistance to the young church.
On April 1, 1957 Reverend Mainprize accepted leadership responsibility for the Belleville Society. Reverend Mainprize thereby became the first full-time resident pastor, her initial residence being on the third floor of the existing home church.
With growth in numbers came the need to expand. Three lots were purchased at 137 Avondale Road for the modest price of $900 per lot. Mr. Rapson, seller, after some negotiations willingly reduced the asking price from $1000 to $900 per lot. Belleville Mayor, Gerald Hyde attended the sod turning on April 26, 1959. The inaugural service was conducted January 10, 1960 in the newly completed lower auditorium. Reverend Gerald Kemp, from Warkworth was the guest speaker and spoke on “The Pre-emince of Christ”. On March 6, 1960 the District Superintendent, Reverend W. J. Stonehouse conducted the Open House Service. Two hundred plus people attended. On October 16 of the same year the church was dedicated. The scheduled guest speaker, Reverend J.F. Gregory, cancelled at the eleventh hour due to the loss of his mother. Reverend A. B. Moffatt, Superintendent of the two Eastern Conference Districts, arrived from Ottawa and ministered to the large gathering.
In 1960, the North American Church of the Free Methodist denomination celebrated its 100th anniversary of its founding. In recognition of this momentous event the Belleville Society determined to name its church “Centennial”.
Attendance continued to increase with the Sunday School program reaching 118 on April 23, 1967.
The Reverend R. Barclay Warren (Olive) succeeded the Reverend Edith Mainprize in 1967, and served the Belleville church until 1971. The Reverend Lorne C. Ball then assumed leadership until 1975, at which time the Reverend Paul G. Johnston (Betty) took on pastoral leadership. During his tenure a new addition was added to the north side of the building, as well as an addition and revision to the front. The guest speaker for the dedication of the renovated church was the first Canadian Bishop, Donald N. Bastian. Over 239 attended the meeting. Pastor Johnston carried forward the Centennial work until his appointment as Executive Director of the Canadian Jurisdictional Conference in 1985.
The Reverend Earl S. Bull (Violet) served as interim pastor from 1985 to 1986. The Reverend R. Wayne Kleinsteuber (Nancy) assumed leadership from 1986 to 1990. Succeeding him was the Reverend L. Roger Gast (Ruth). The Reverend Kevin Kay (Beverley) undertook pastoral responsibilities from 1992 to 2004, followed by the Reverend James Peetoom (Janet) from 2004-2007. In 2007 the Reverend Rodney Peterson (Heather) assumed leadership. The Reverend Michael R. Hogeboom (Julie) served as assistant pastor in 1984 and continued to 1987. The Reverend Terry Gibson (Cindy) picked up the assistant role from 1988 to 1990.
Since the construction of Aldersgate Homes, in 1982 the Centennial congregation has been enriched by the presence of many who readily share their knowledge, experiences and talents. The Centennial ministry continues to develop through visitation, song, ministry and prayer. The present focus is on developing a viable, relevant worship format to complement the more traditional worship style.
Others who have added substantially to building our church family are The Reverends R. Gordon Babcock, Arthur J. Slater, J. Rupert Walsh, C. Ross Brown, and Benjamin (Benny) A. Sutton; as well as John W. Sigsworth, Muriel J. Patterson, Blanche Slater, Della Babcock and Cora Voteary.
In May 2017, the Centennial congregation re-located its services to Aldersgate, now “Village” rather than “Homes”. A second renovation was begun under the leadership of Pastor Rodney Peterson, Mary Sharpe, Mary Elaine Young, and Jon & Carol Reed. The desire to add an elevator grew into extending the building to the south and renovating the main floor. This resulted in a bright new foyer, offices, sound booth, nursery, and library, as well as a renovated west entrance and an updated canopied entrance on the east. The sanctuary was also given a fresh, modern look. The church family returned home in March 2018. The building was re-dedicated on July 1, 2018.