Connecting Our Communities

Old Wellesley church fire now deemed suspicious


Restored Victorian home in Elmira the subject of TV competition

Along with the influx of visitors that comes with the holiday season, Elmira will see one new...

End of an era for MP

Two weeks having passed since the federal election, Harold Albrecht has had time to reflect on his...

Candidates make pitch to voters in Woolwich

Largely sticking to their respective party lines, the five candidates running in the Kitchener-Conestoga riding made their one all-candidates...

Fatality west of Elmira

Emergency crews responded to a fiery three-vehicle collision west of Elmira Nov. 1 that claimed the...


clear sky
-9.2 ° C
-6.7 °
-11.7 °
56 %
1 %
-6 °
1 °
2 °
-1 °
-10 °

Old Wellesley Church on fire [Submitted]
An arson investigation is underway after a church fire in  Wellesley Township Saturday morning.

Waterloo Regional Police and firefighters from the Wellesley Fire Department’s Linwood station were called to Orthodox Mennonite Church on Moser Young Road near Lawson Line at 5:40 a.m.

“When they got there … there were some walls still standing, but it had collapsed into itself already,” said Wellesley fire chief Paul Redman.

“Then we passed it off to the [Office of the Fire Marshal], and agreed with the suspicions … we’ve left it as an arson fire and turned it over to the regional police with their investigation now.”

Officials temporarily closed down Moser Young Road and Lawson Line in Wellesley Township on Saturday as they worked to clear the debris from a church fire. Damage was estimated at $75,000. [Veronica Reiner]
Damage from the fire was estimated at $75,000. Redman said that the wooden structure had been burning at least 15 or 20 minutes before the call came in.

The church had been used occasionally for functions such as funerals, but had seen little regular use for the past 30 years.

“A building with no hydro or utilities, just to start on fire … doesn’t really sit,” said Redman. “It’s not a huge loss, but is still a significant building. It is a church, and symbolic of a community. It’s important that we make sure a proper investigation gets done.”


  1. Thank you very much for your report, even though it has to be a sad one. I attended that meetinghouse for years, until I grew up and moved on. Fro the last 38 years we have not lived in Canada. In Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile and Australia, we have found other places to live. But, whenever I dream (while sleeping) about attending meeting, it is always here. In this building. Whether the building is gone now or not, it will continue to live in my memory!

    I am very sorry for the fire. My brother, Cleason Hoover, designed this building after another arson-lit fire destroyed the previous one in the early 1970s. My father, Anson Hoover, was one of the ministers in this congregation, and one of the founders of the Orthodox Mennonite Church. My grandfather, Menno Hoover, coined the remarkable name “Orthodox Mennonite.”

    Yes, it is too bad to lose the building. But, in a strange way, I do not feel terrible about it. Sort of a final chapter to a long, somewhat complicated story. Everything will burn anyway, sooner or later. What is of much greater interest to me, is how it stands with all the people who attended here. Are we all ready to meet the Lord when he comes again? We had our struggles, our issues here. Are we ready to leave all that hinders behind us, to meet the Lord in peace, with him, and with all around us? That, for me is the only thing that really matters.

    Peter Hoover

Comments are closed.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to The Observer's online community. Pseudonyms are not permitted. By submitting a comment, you accept that The Observer has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner The Observer chooses. Please note that The Observer does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our submission guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.


An immersive experience helps kids acquire language skills

Two months into their stay in the country, a group of students from France got to experience another cultural moment of sorts when Halloween rolled around last week. It was just the latest...

In Print. Online. In Pictures. In Depth.

You obviously love community journalism. Thanks for visiting today. If you have a great local story, let us know.

Jacks post another pair of wins, the first in convincing style

The Wellesley Applejacks had a strong showing last weekend, winning a pair of games, the first seeing the team post two converted touchdowns.

Wellesley lifts moratorium on kennel licenses, revises bylaw

A 16-month moratorium imposed on new dog kennel licenses in Wellesley Township was lifted Tuesday night, as council also look to revise...

Sugar Kings reclaim top spot in conference with pair of wins

What a difference a week makes. Having dropped two of three the weekend before, the Elmira Sugar Kings took both ends of...

This bluegrass show comes with some laughs for good measure

Bluegrass band Granite Hill is making its first-ever stop at the Commercial Tavern November 10, but it's familiar ground for some of...

EDSS Lancers Football

The EDSS Lancers senior football team took on the WCI Vikings, but fell short 17-1 during a Tuesday evening game in...

Team Canada’s para ice hockey team to hold training camp at Elmira’s WMC

Canada’s National Para Ice Hockey team, the equivalent of an Olympic-level for the sport, is making a local stop for a rigorous...
- Advertisement -