Description of Historic Place
The Mizpah Mission/Italian Pentecostal Church is a red brick church built in 1917. Featuring a front gable plan with steep pitched roof over the original square tower, it is located at 400 King Street in the heart of Welland's Italian community.
The building was designated by the City of Welland for its heritage value under By-law 2005-106.
The Mizpah Mission/Italian Pentecostal Church has contributed to the socio-cultural and spiritual development of Welland's early Italian inhabitants. Constructed on land owned by the Plymouth Cordage Company, it was built as the “Mizpah Mission” of the Methodist Church, in 1917, one of a number of early 20th century Methodist missions whose efforts were focused on expanding the numbers of Italian immigrants working in Canada's industries. Providing worship services to the Italian community in their native language for most of the 20th century, the Mizpah Mission became the Italian United Church upon the union of the Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational churches in 1925. After being shared by the Italian United and the Hungarian Reformed United congregations, the church became the first permanent home of the Italian Pentecostal Church (Chiesa Pentecostale Italiana) in 1965, whose movement began in Welland, in 1962, with services in temporary locations. Pentecostal services in the Italian language were held at the church from 1965 until the mid-1990s. It is now home to the Freedom in Christ Ministries.
The architectural value of the church is reflected in its display of Romanesque Revival and Italianate styles. The Romanesque Revival form of architecture was popular for Methodist churches around the turn of the 20th century, exemplified by the central square tower with double-stepped buttresses, which have been altered for the addition of a gable roof. The church is accentuated by Italianate detailing, including segmented arched windows capped by brick voussoirs with exaggerated concrete keystones. The original pews and patterned tin ceiling remain intact on the interior of the church.
The contextual value of the property lies in its location on King Street, situated in the heart of an area once known as “The Village” – homes built for Plymouth Cordage Company's employees between 1905 and 1918. This area became the core of the Italian community, embracing the socio-cultural expressions of its recently-arrived immigrants.
The church has proven to be of great spiritual significance for many residents of Welland, particularly its Italian inhabitants. It is valued as a permanent site of worship and a meeting place for social activities with a common sense of spirituality serving as an important link between individuals in the community that developed around the church.
Source: Mizpah Mission/Italian Pentecostal Church Report, Heritage Welland Committee, City of Welland, 2006; City of Welland By-law 2005-106.
Character defining elements that reflect the heritage value of Mizpah Mission/Italian Pentecostal Church include its:
- location as a focal point for Welland's Italian community, located in an area known as “The Village”, built for industrial employees between 1905 and 1918
- original central square tower with double stepped buttresses, examples of Romanesque Revival architecture, still visible under the altered gable roof
- Italianate detailing, evident in the segmented arched windows with brick voussoirs and exaggerated concrete keystones
- original pews and patterned tin ceiling on the interior