|A Brief History of Our Church
Serving Christ in Hamilton Since 1890
Rev. David Burkholder organized the Hamilton Free Methodist Society in 1890. The new church was a
planting project of the Hannon Church [renamed Rymal Road Community Church] which is located on
Highway 53. The first pastor of the Hamilton church that was located on Herkimer Street was appointed in
1891. Rev. Alfred Wattam was a promising young pastor who died during the second year of his pastorate.
The desire to reach the world with the gospel was evident early in the ministry of the church with the
establishment of the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society in 1892. The church received a new name and
location in 1901. The church was called the Olive Branch Mission and was located on King William
Street. A few years later, the mission was moved to a large house on Catherine Street North which served
as both church and parsonage. In 1918, a new church was built on West Avenue North under the
leadership of Rev. H.G. Kent. The Hamilton church was occasionally part of a preaching circuit with other
nearby churches – Hannon Pleasantville, Ancaster and Parkdale.
The Hamilton church was involved in the planting of the Parkdale Free Methodist Church in 1939. A
Sunday school was started on a vacant lot in the Parkdale area and the effort resulted in the organization
and establishment of a new society. The Parkdale church reached out to those in the north end of the city
for more than four decades before it closed in the 1980’s. The church also helped plant the Burlington
Free Methodist Church in the 1990's.
The church outgrew the West Avenue Church building in the late 1950’s and realized the need for a new
worship facility. The original plan was to build on a property on Fennell Avenue East but the Buchanan
Park survey opened shortly afterwards. The government agent responsible for lot sales was persuaded to
sell the only Protestant church site in the survey to the Free Methodist Church
The congregation started building the new church with a sod turning ceremony in October 1960. In the
early spring of 1961, the cornerstone was laid and the church was dedicated to the worship of God by
Bishop L.R. Marston on June 25, 1961. The cost of construction was completely retired in December 1983
because of the faithful stewardship of the congregation and God’s generosity. The name of the church was
changed to the Buchanan Park Free Methodist Church and has remained at its present location for the
past 49 years.
The church reached out in love to Cambodian refugees fleeing the horrors of their own country in the mid
1980’s under the leadership of Rev. Allan Hyndman. Many refugee families came to Christ through this
missionary outreach. The Cambodian fellowship church was established and their worship services were
conducted in the Khmer language. Rev. Sok Em became their first pastor and helped develop a lay
Cambodian theological training center. This center was a training ground for a number of Cambodian short-
term mission outreaches to their native land. The Cambodian Church relocated in 1998 to Stoney Creek to
better reach the Cambodian community within the region. Rev. Sok Em was sent to Cambodia and helped
plant 7 churches under the supervision of the Hong Kong Free Methodist General Conference. The
Buchanan Park congregation was thankful to God for the opportunity to work with and support this
wonderful outreach. Our church continues to support the mission work of Sok Em in Cambodia, who has
established a Leadership Training School in Kampong Chnang.
The early dedication to spread the Gospel in the city of Hamilton and abroad continues to thrive today. The
past 120 years is a testimony to God’s faithfulness to His people and to their faithful service to Him. The
church is committed to reaching out to our community in new ways so that others may experience the joy of
new life in Christ. The church is still training disciples for the work ahead. Let us remember our past
service to God and work towards an even better future for the glory of God.