Three area churches combine to form new Hope Springs United

WELLINGTON COUNTY – Hope Springs United Church launches on Nov. 1.

Hope Springs  is a merger of the Alma, Bethany and Elora United Churches. 

Church officials state these historic congregations are amalgamating so they can continue to serve their growing and changing communities.

“I think Hope Springs United Church will develop and evolve into something new and bold,” says Judy Howse-Ward, a lifelong and multi-generational member of Bethany United.

“We also want to honour the important history of each of our joining congregations.

“This has been a time to pause, reflect, and then move forward with renewed faith. People seem excited about the new adventure/journey.”

These congregations began in the 1830s and ‘40s, initially in homes, shops, and schools.

Eventually, they constructed their current church buildings: Elora’s in 1863, Alma’s in 1875, and Bethany’s in 1876.

The Alma and Bethany buildings are now up for sale.



Hope Springs United Church will be based in the current Elora United Church building at the corner of Church and Geddes streets. Nonetheless, its work will reach far beyond those walls.

“Hope Spring’s life and work will continue in the Alma and Elora villages, the Ponsonby-Inverhaugh area, our countrysides, and beyond,” says Rev. Greg Smith-Young.

“Coming together as Hope Springs UC will strengthen how we share in the healing, reconciling, and life-giving work Jesus is doing in these places.”

Smith-Young has been with Elora-Bethany since 2004, is well-known in Alma, and will continue with Hope Springs UC.

“Over the next year, the new congregation’s people will be growing together and getting to know each other. They will explore and discern their new identity and purpose, so they can better serve their growing, diversifying, and changing communities,” church officials state.

Christine Grose of Alma United Church chairs the amalgamation steering team. 

She states, “It is my greatest hope that we’ll live into the United Church of Canada’s mission statement: to be a bold, connected, evolving church of diverse, courageous, hope-filled communities united in deep spirituality, inspiring worship, and daring justice.”



In the meantime, church members are doing the meaningful work of ending well. Elora United had its final worship service on Thanksgiving Sunday, Oct. 9. 

The Bethany and Alma congregations will have their closing services on Sunday, Oct. 16 (9:30am in Alma, 10:30am at Bethany).

Hope Springs United Church will have its opening worship on Nov. 6 at 10:30.

Elora United Church member Judy McMullan says, “I’m really looking forward to worshipping and working with people that I already know from our communities and meeting some new people.”

Hope Springs United Church will launch a website shortly.

In the meantime, more information can be found at or by contacting or 519-846-0122.