Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Flesherton/Eugenia United Churches and the Hanley Institute

You will recall my recent (Jan. 31st) post on rural churches, in which I included the United Church building in Eugenia.  This church was part of a two-point charge with Flesherton United, but at the time I could not figure out which church was still in use, or if both were.  Well, one of my loyal and helpful blog readers here in Meaford came to my rescue, and the answer is very interesting.

This church in the village of Eugenia is now being used as the church and it's no longer a two-point charge.  That's one half of the story.

I find the double front doors interesting, but don't know the story behind that.

However, the interesting part of the story is that the church building in Flesherton is now the location of a group of youth programs under the umbrella of the Hanley Institute, started by a young woman by the name of Jenny Hanley.  As I read on their website about the Board members they have attracted, I'm really impressed.

The former St. John's United in Flesherton, now the Hanley Institute.
Sorry, even at this resolution the photo is blurred.
Only photo I could find. 

The newspaper clipping given to me refers to a small request for funding from the local council, but the group's website provides much more insight about their programs.  It offers primarily after-school and summer camp programs, and those programs are focused on building those 'soft skills' that we all know are essential for survival and employment.

As the website says, they talk openly about the 'Four Ss' - Sex, suicide, substances and self-esteem.  There is clearly a strong mental health focus and they are targetting young rural youth.  They do this by integrating themes like emotion management, self-esteem building, mental health awareness, team building and healthy life skills among others, into their programming.  All these are important for young teens in my opinion!

The direct inspiration was the death of a local youth by drug overdose, and some of the Board have tragically lost friends or family members to suicide.  They are also a talented bunch, with Jenny herself being a Certified Addiction Counsellor with 20 years experience.  (I've always said you're at your best when you're about 40).

Among all the rural churches I know of, this is the most innovative use of a former church building.  Most churches are mainly focussed on just keeping themselves open!


  1. That is certainly a worthy use of an old church building! Good to hear about their programs. There are some rather conservative churches where women sit on one side of the room and men on the other...I'm thinking some Quakers, and Mennonites come to mind,

  2. That is a wonderful use of an old church (and a beautiful building it is, despite the blurry photo).
    I do have a question, what is meant by a two-point charge? It's a term I am not familiar with.

  3. It sounds like a great program! Great use of the building.

  4. It's good so see old churches, school and train stations being repurposed.

  5. It was nice to have someone do the research and find out how the building is now being used.

  6. The church has a use worthy of an old church building.
    I went back to check the snowdrops yesterday since most of our snow is melted . They were glorious in the sunshine. This morning I saw some Winter Aconite just opening their petals in the warmth of the sun. I find the timing so odd and scary at the same time.

  7. I have seen older churches here that have two doors. The men went in one side, and the women went in the other.

  8. Interesting facts about churches. It makes sense to open them for other uses and meetings for the town folks.

  9. Thanks for sharing this, what excellent use of the building.

    All the best Jan

  10. Even though a church is redundant they can be reborn for other uses so they remain open.