Part Three of Four: Tribute to Jay Peterson (1920-1976), on the 40th Anniversary of Her Passing, December 15, 2016 – Her Involvement With First-St. Andrew’s United Church

Disclaimer: My references to the writings of other people do not in any way imply that they share my views on this manner.  The opinions expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent those of my family, friends, or associates.

Part Three – A            Jay Peterson and First-St. Andrew’s (FSA) United Church, London, Ontario, Canada – Introduction

Our family attended First-St. Andrew’s (FSA) United Church in London, Ontario.  I know my father was involved with various activities at the church, such as teaching Sunday school, but unfortunately I am not aware of any specifics.

Have more information about my mother’s contribution because I have newspaper articles and other documentation.

Part Three – B.1          Jay Peterson’s FSA Drawing, 1953

I have my mother’s 1953 drawing of First-St. Andrew’s in a scrapbook of her artwork and projects covering the circa 1935 to 1955 period.

My mother’s father, John Stuart Fleming (1892-1989), wrote “1953 Jessie” on the above artwork.  Jessie was my mother’s given name, but Jay was what most people knew her by.

Part Three – B.2          Input Into Symbols on FSA Sanctuary Ceiling, 1955

In 1955, my mother provided input into the symbols that were painted on the FSA sanctuary ceiling.  In 1975, the symbols were “covered with drywall when some plaster fell.”  But, in 1999, the sanctuary was refurbished and the symbols were “replaced.”

In November 2016, I attended the funeral of an old family friend in the sanctuary of First-St. Andrew’s.  It was nice to look up and see that the symbols are still present on the ceiling.

Part Three – B.3          FSA Art and Artifact Exhibitions, Late 1950s to Early 1960s

From the late 1950s to the early 1960s, Mom helped organize art and artifact exhibitions for FSA.  Some of these exhibitions were described in the pages of the London Free Press.

For example, in November 1962, The FSA United Church Women (UCW) presented a “Visual Worship” exhibition of “religious art,” which included works by “well-known artists from London and Toronto.”  In addition, members of the congregation, including the UCW, put together diaplays on the topic.  Further, there were a variety of ancient Bibles for attendees to look at.  A photo of the display convenor, Mrs. George Young, and my mother, the art-coordinator, examining the Bibles, appeared in both the London Free Press and the United Church Observer.

In November 1963, my mother was one of two art co-convenors of the FSA-UCW “Religious Art and Artifact” exhibition held at the church.  London Free Press columnist, Lenore Crawford, said the collection was “fascinating and worth hours of study.

My mother was involved with other programs and projects at the church, so what I have mentioned above is just a sampling.

Part Three – B.4           FSA Memorials, 1976 and 2007, and the 2007 Celebration of My Parents’ Lives

The Very Rev. Angus J. MacQueen (1912-2008) was the First-St. Andrew’s minister from 1951 to 1964.  He kept in touch with my parents after he moved on to other ministry duties in Toronto.  On December 19, 1976, he returned to First-St. Andrew’s to give my mother’s eulogy.

In his eulogy, Rev. MacQueen described my mother as a “very special kind of person, full of courage, goodness and kindness.”  Four qualities stood out for him: her sincerity, selflessness, openness, and her encouragement of others.  I agree with Rev. MacQueen’s assessment.

In the late 1970s, my father, Charles T. Peterson, moved to Duncan, British Columbia, but when he returned to London in 1997, he started attending First-St. Andrew’s again.  His memorial was held there, April 4, 2007, with Rev. Dr. David McKane officiating.  Rev McKane was the FSA minister from 2002 to 2010.

On May 27, 2007, I held a celebration of my parents’ lives in Proudfoot Hall, in the basement of FSA.  The celebration included binders of archival material, display boards full of photos, and readings by family, friends and associates.  The approximately 53 people who attended provided me with lots of positive feedback.


Crawford, L. (1963, November [2?]).  Religious art in Canada on the move.  London Free Press.

First-St. Andrew’s United Church.  First-St. Andrew’s United Church/FSA History.  Retrieved November 27, 2016 from:

First-St. Andrew’s United Church (2016, November 27).  History of our Sanctuary Space.  Retrieved November 27, 2016 from:

London Free Press (1962, November 2).  Ancient Bibles Displayed at UCW Exhibit.  London Free Press.

London Free Press (1962, November [2?]).  First-St. Andrew’s UCW: Religious Art Collection Replaces Bazaar Project.  London Free Press.

Peterson, C.T. (ca. 1970).  Peterson, Jessie Royce (Fleming) – “Jay Peterson.”  London, Ontario.  unpublished.

Peterson, L. (2003, May 10).  Remembering Mom.  London Free Press, p. F3.

United Church Observer (1962, December).  Ancient Bibles displayed.  United Church Observer.