Corrected for accuracy.
In 1884 a Sunday School for children of all denominations was opened in Pincher Creek. In 1917 Methodists and Presbyterians in Pincher Creek combined their congregations, creating a united church well in advance of the official formation of the United Church of Canada in 1925.
A community dinner was held in the church basement, and there was also a silent auction, a bake sale, and a history display, followed by a talent show in the sanctuary. Reverend Brent Woodard thanked Harriet McCollister for her hard work organizing the dinner.
The meal was wonderful, and plentiful, and the dining area was packed with smiling faces enjoying good fellowship.
"One hundred and twenty years ago in 1892 the Presbyterians of Pincher Creek built a one-room church on this site," Johnson said. "It cost $400. There was also a Methodist church in town. It was built in 1886 and we seem to have lost track of the old Presbyterian building but the Methodist one today is the Lion's Den. In 1917 the congregations of the two churches united to become a United Church. The Presbyterian building was used for the services and the Reverend Wilkinson was the minister, and he was the former Method minister. During his time the congregation was growing so it was decided to call for tenders for the construction of a suitable new building to be located on the same site. A story is told that, because of the lack of space, the Sunday School students were marched up the street to have Sunday School in the Methodist building. Well, you can imagine what happened. A lot of them escaped on the way and it wasn't very successful."
|Reverend Brent Woodard|
"The next major renovation was in 1978," Johnson continued. "when the sanctuary was reversed." Johnson said the last major renovation was started in 2006 when an elevator and wider staircases staircases were installed, a new foyer was constructed, and the bathrooms were updated. She said Scott Korbett was the chairman of the renovation committee for that project.
"It has to be said that although our church is a really impressive building, what really counts is the people in it," Johnson concluded.
Mary Kaytor, who is the present organist for the church, gave a brief history of the United Church Women (UCW). "We're not 128 years old as an organization," she said, "but you'd better believe that the women were behind the scenes as the churches were being built."
"At this time the congregation of the church was very large as, when we read the church bulletin there were 41 members that were on the executive of the UCW...so just about everybody here (now) would be on the executive. So you can imagine what the membership was. It was just a different time, wasn't it? There were more women at home, they weren't working out of the home." She said the ladies of the church back then catered for many functions. "They were a very busy group, and there were a lot more people to do it in those days."
Kaytor said the UCW was much smaller now, with many people still helping out but fewer coming to the meetings. She extended the invitation for ladies to join them every 4th Monday of the month. She said the thrift shop, which has been running in the church basement since the 1980's, is the main UCW initiative now, raising over $20,000 last year.
Bessie Carlson gave a brief history of the choir. She delved into the church histories. "In 1954 it reads 'From the Old Testament days to the present singing has been the universal and spontaneous form of praise, over and over again, it is commended. We are inspired by our choir music, as were the Iraelites by their psalms.' In the year 2000 the last sentence reads 'We were inspired by our choir music then and still are today. We are aware that the history of the choirs in our United Church dates back to the late 1800's and are blessed in that we have two choirs still a part of worship today'."
"My introduction to church music took place out at Mountain Mill where my family attended services. Mrs. W. D. McDowell, and I believe her name was Emma, she was Janet Main's grandmother, she played the organ. The same instrument that they still use today. Mrs. McDowell was quite small in stature and to a pre-schooler looked awfully old. I guess I'm probably viewed the same way by our youngsters today. On moving into town we attended Sunday School, and probably with Mom's encouragement, it was time to join the junior choir."
"We would-be choristers were asked to sing the C-major scale. It was a little rough when you don't know what that is. I must have passed, because I've been with the choir ever since."
Entertainment for the evening included the Peace Folk Singers, Reverend Brent Woodard and his wife Sally Woodard, Adam Sundberg, Megan Sundberg, Emma Burnham, Eleanor Mackenzie, Amelia Woodard, Caroline Johnson, and of course the whole congregation.