Table of Contents

 

Canada – Plains Provinces

 

In this section we discuss assemblies in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

 

Alberta

 

J.J. Rouse ministered in Edmonton in the years 1903 to 1905. His biography mentions that an assembly of about 30 people commenced in that city in 1905. This may be the earliest assembly in Alberta. In the early 1900s, four assemblies came into being in Edmonton – the Boyle Street Assembly, the Norwood Assembly, the 97th Street Hall, and the YMCA Assembly, Edmonton, AB . The latter met at the YMCA under the leadership of Mr. Tom Cooper.

 

The Norwood Assembly was begun around 1926 by William Cummings along with several others including J. Thompson, S. McCaughey, and A. Tandy. It was a store-front operation in an old building and about 40 in fellowship. The Norwood, Boyle Street, YMCA, and 97th Street assemblies had little interaction with one another. However, in October 1933, a young man from Vancouver – Albert McLaren – began to hold Gospel services nightly in the 97th  Street Hall; there were many conversions and William Cummings heard about it. He took his four sons to those meetings and they were all converted at that time. William Cummings had vowed to the Lord that wherever his boys were saved, there he would fellowship. When he broke this news to the Christians at Norwood, they said ‘if you go, we all go,’ with the result that in a matter of a few months all of the Edmonton assemblies merged at the 97th Street Hall, with approximately 125 in fellowship at the time. Some of the surnames of the brethren from these early days were Gregory, Herbert, Magee, Majas, Maskell, Rutley, Smalley, Stephenson, Sydney, Twittey, and Willoughby.

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Most of the converts at the McLaren campaign were young people (about 75) and for several years things went well at the 97th Street Hall, with lots of activity. In different parts of the city people opened their homes for children’s services – Richard and Rose McCullough and the John Sutherlands in the north end, and Archie Gibson and his wife in the west end – and these fed young people into the assembly. About 200 were in the assembly at its peak, and yearly conferences were well attended by people from outlying areas.

 

In the early 1940s, some of the younger people at 97th Street Hall  began a Sunday School in the Norwood area of Edmonton in a rented Masonic hall. This grew to the point that in 1945 plans were made to erect a suitable building in the area. S. McCaughey donated a corner lot at 95 Street and 115 Avenue. The children’s work moved into it, and a Sunday evening Gospel service was started. This was the beginning of Bethel Gospel Chapel in Edmonton.

 

The building was used for a year or more before the assembly there was formed in about July 1947. The people who contributed to the building and became the first elders were Ben Finch, Eric Greenhalgh, George Smyth, Louis Mix, Jim McMahon, Cy Blair, George Paul, Sam McCaughey, William Cummings, and Stan Cummings.

 

Within about 15 years two additions were made to the building and it was the hub of many activities. The number of members at Bethel never exceeded about 200, partly because several other assemblies hived off from it as the city grew.

 

In 1959, the 97th Street Hall was sold and the remaining flock migrated to Bethel Gospel Chapel and to Conner’s Hill Gospel Hall in Edmonton, where Alston King has been a leading brother.

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Believers exercised about a Gospel outreach work in south Edmonton worked of one accord in the purchase of a lot and the subsequent erection of a building with ‘army hut’ materials. Thus the South Edmonton Children’s Mission was begun. Miss Eva Russell and Miss Ruby Murphy (later Mrs. Walter Christie) were leaders in reaching the children of the community, many of whom attended nearby schools. Weekly Bible classes and hobby crafts were used to introduce the children, and ultimately their families, to the Gospel. Later, David Gaunt and Olive Russell, while still attending Bethel Gospel Chapel, took charge of the mission work and attracted capable helpers.

 

By 1954, many young believers began migrating into the city, with a resulting large increase in fellowship at Bethel Gospel Chapel, which then became filled to capacity. The seed was planted amid the workers of the South Edmonton Children’s Mission to begin an assembly using their building as a meeting place.

 

An exploratory meeting was convened by those interested. representatives from Bethel Gospel Chapel and the 97th Street Hall were invited to attend. Ben Finch of Bethel and Norman Relf from the Gospel Hall were present. Brethren from the mission were David Gaunt, Len Helmers, Sam Kiffiak, Ted Matthews, and Kelly Siple. This meeting resulted in the decision to proceed with the formation of a new assembly in harmony and fellowship with believers of the two established assemblies in Edmonton. The Mission building was renamed Sharon Gospel Chapel, and the first meeting of the new assembly took place in February 1955, with 13 believers gathered to Remember the Lord.

 

Rapid growth over the next two years made the chapel inadequate. The old building was sold and removed, and a new building with a seating capacity of 90 was erected on the same site and completed in August 1958. An addition was constructed later, which added 30 seats.

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Capilano Christian Assembly in Edmonton began in the summer of 1978. Meetings were held initially in facilities rented from a Lutheran church in southeast Edmonton, with services on Sunday afternoons. By the end of the year, space in Mount Carmel Bible School was being used for both Sunday morning and evening meetings. The assembly continued to use the space at Mount Carmel until 1994 when, needing more room, they began renting space in the Korean Presbyterian Church.

 

Capilano Christian Assembly was not a hive-off from another assembly, though it had the blessings and encouragement of other area assemblies. Roger Gurnett, Robert Taylor, and William Gurnett were the principal people starting the assembly. They were full-time commended workers who were also involved in the Mount Carmel Bible School. Other leadership has been from Bob Shorten and Ted McKellar. Many of those in fellowship have been students at the Bible School or young people who came to Edmonton from Ontario to work. Capilano Christian Assembly has co-commended workers to the mission field in Zaire, and now numbers about 230 adults and children.

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During the mid 1930s, a Wednesday Night Bible Study Class was begun in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Archie Gibson in the west part of Edmonton, with 80 children initially attending. In winter, benches stored on the front porch were brought in to thaw and have the ice chipped away, in time for each class. Every suitable room in the house was used as a classroom; teachers from the 97th Street Hall assisted. Some of these teachers were William and Marjorie Cummings, Mary Getty, Eleanor Latta, Edson Marshall, Mr. McGregor, Eileen Morrow, Annie Russell, Grace Waterston, and Edina Young. In addition to the Bible study, missionary reports and social activities were common in the group.

 

After several years an assembly came into being and a quonset hut was rented for its meetings. The assembly is considered a hive-off from the 97th Street Hall and Bethel Gospel Chapel of Edmonton. Those involved in the start of the assembly include the families of Archie Gibson, Edson Marshal, George Kerr, Herb McNab, Van Steinberg, Jim McMahon, and the Benners. The believers eventually bought the property where the quonset hut was located, and built Westgrove Gospel Hall, which opened its doors in February of 1961 and continues in use. In the 1970s, the name was changed to Westgrove Gospel Chapel. Others in leadership over the years have been Horace Ekins, Wilf Fletcher, Vern Eskildsen, Phil Townshend, Hector Marois, Tom Thomas, Tony Turner, and Marvin Hess. About 130 adults and children attend Westgrove Gospel Chapel.

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A group of believers hived-off from Bethel Gospel Chapel and began to meet in north Edmonton as the Belmont Gospel Chapel, which later disbanded when some of the flock migrated to Wyecliff Bible Chapel in Sherwood Park just east of Edmonton, and others returned to Bethel Gospel Chapel. Subsequently, a group again left Bethel Gospel Chapel and met in Dickensfield in north central Edmonton. Later, as the Clairview Bible Church, the group moved to their present location in the Clairview area of northeast Edmonton.

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Wyecliff Bible Chapel in Sherwood Park began in 1966, when three families, one from Belmont Gospel Chapel and two from Bethel Gospel Chapel, decided to form a new assembly. These were the Ron Reyburn, Herb Schindelka, and Sid Tordoff families. The assembly has commended three workers to the Lord’s service oversees, and three to local work. About 150 adults and children attend Wyecliff Bible Chapel.

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Around 1979 a group of believers in Edmonton began meeting in Keheewin School to Remember the Lord; they held ministry meetings in the George Arnold home. Other families involved were those of Wally and Wilf Fletcher, K. Joseph, Max Lavoie, and Phil Walton. As many as 60 people, including children, attended Southgate Christian Brethren Assembly in Edmonton at one point. However, in about 1984 the group closed its doors due to the departure of most of the flock.

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A group of believers withdrew from fellowship at Sharon Gospel Chapel in 1992 and along with new converts assembled as the Open Bible Fellowship in the Millwoods area of south Edmonton, under the ministry of Mr. Murdy Getty, a well-known and well-loved evangelist. For much of his life Mr. Getty had brought the Word of God to a multitude of the unsaved in Canada, Alaska, the Yukon, and preached in many assemblies across Canada and the USA. Meeting initially in the Getty home, the believers subsequently moved to a rented location when Mr. Getty’s health deteriorated. Though blind he continued to minister to the believers of the Open Bible Fellowship from the whole of the Word, which he had committed to memory at the onset of his loss of sight. Between weekly meetings he continued, with dedicated helpers, in his life-long work as an itinerant preacher of the Gospel. After his passing, this group, though diminished in number, continued in rented quarters in the Millwoods area until the fall of 1997, when its doors finally closed.

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Vermillion is a farming community east of Edmonton. From the 1920s to approximately 1982 several families enjoyed fellowship at the Vermillion Gospel Hall, hosting and participating in several Bible Conferences. Approximately 100, including children, were in the assembly at one point. The surnames of some of these families were Anderson, Hilcox, Hill, Hutchinson, Mix, and Wilson.

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The families of David and James Calderwood from Northern Ireland began Remembering the Lord in their homestead home near Pibroch, north of Edmonton, in 1907. They were joined by a few Christians who arrived in the area, and the assembly became known as the Pibroch Assembly.  Gospel meetings by William Fairholm held in the Pibroch Community Church led to a revival in 1930 and 1931, with much growth in the assembly.

 

In 1948, the Christians built a chapel in nearby Westlock, a larger town north of Edmonton, and began meeting there as Westlock Gospel Chapel. The assembly built a new chapel in Westlock in 1995. Of the many people who have had leadership roles over the years, we mention the Calderwoods; William Fairholm, who had a great influence on the assembly from 1930 to the late 1980s; James Wallace; Nelson Letts; Daniel and Joseph Hendry Taylor; and later, Keith Bidne, Tim Gurnett, and Harold Lyons. Westlock Gospel Chapel and its predecessor have commended over a dozen workers to the Lord’s work abroad and several locally and to short term missions. About 250 people are in the assembly today.

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In the area of Boyle, about 80 miles north of Edmonton, some Christians were gathering at the Cashe Creek and East Park schools during the late 1930s and into the early 1950s. Traveling preachers William Fairholm and John Sommercall helped in establishing the group as a New Testament assembly. At that time, the Sunday Gospel service was moved to Boyle, and in 1959, the Boyle Gospel Chapel was constructed. Local individuals were V. Hutton, G. Ivey, E. Splane, H. Siem, and R. Remley. Others active in leadership have been Jim Pettifer, George Van Meer, Jergen Malmedal, Bob Nicol, Wray Naslund, Fred Splane, Murray Bateman, Ken Metcalfe, and Bob Splane. The assembly has joined in a commendation to the Lord’s work in Angola. About 100 adults and youngsters attend Boyle Gospel Chapel. 

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Neerlandia is a predominantly Dutch Christian Reformed Church community some 90 miles northeast of Edmonton. Three men – Messrs. Brandt, Hendricks, and Berend (Ben) Lievers – began an assembly there – the Neerlandia Gospel Hall  – in about 1925 and met with their families in the home of Ben Lievers. An old store building was moved onto the farm site sometime later to accommodate the growing numbers. Finally (approximately 1960), due to the exodus of many of the families to assemblies in Edmonton and elsewhere, this assembly as such closed its doors. However the fruit of its work continues in its heritage, such as Bethel Bible Camp, which was inaugurated in conjunction with the Pibroch Assembly in 1945. A few faithful local believers and former residents hold a Daily Vacation Bible School for one week during each Spring school break in a local school building.

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The assembly at Grimshaw Gospel Hall about 300 miles northwest of Edmonton was a small group consisting of the Nelson and MacDonald families and others, who met and carried on a work in the northern Alberta area. The work ceased in the late 1970s. At the nearby town of Fairview, where the Nelsons and MacDonalds also worked, an assembly at Fairview Gospel Chapel met for many years, and disbanded in the 1980s.

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Frank Williams was in the navy in World War I and came in contact with the assemblies on the island of Malta. In about 1930, he came to the Paradise Valley area, southeast of Edmonton, as a Canadian Pacific Railway settler. He saw an ad in an Edmonton paper – G.O. Benner was having meetings in the Gospel Hall. Mr. Williams wrote to Mr. Benner, asking him to come to the Paradise Valley area. Mr. Benner came, in part because his brothers Sidney and Henry lived there, and held Gospel meetings at Moyerton school. The area was very much Church of England at that time, but quite a few were saved through Mr. Benner’s preaching. The Moyerton Assembly was started in about 1932.

 

In 1933 or 1934, Frank Flint was saved, and because winter travel was so difficult, a winter meeting place was established in his home. Both groups combined at Moyerton once a month. Also in these groups were the families of John Gaunt and James Steenson.

 

After John Gaunt and Henry Benner moved to Edmonton, the Moyerton meeting dissolved and the remaining people joined the group at the Frank Flint farm in about 1943. In 1944, the Christians built the Paradise Valley Gospel Hall three miles north of Paradise Valley – a one-room building. In 1980, the Hall was put onto a basement. This allowed a hobby class with a Bible lesson to be held after school through the winter. About 20 to 30 children attend these classes. At its largest, the assembly had about 70 in fellowship, but now just 13. The assembly at Paradise Valley Gospel Hall has never had designated elders – all the brethren confer on assembly matters.

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For many years, until the mid 1980s, weekend Bible Conferences were hosted by the Edmonton assemblies at Canadian Thanksgiving time in the Jubilee Auditorium in Edmonton, and subsequently in a North Edmonton High School. Attendance peaked at 850 souls on occasion.

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In Calgary, the earliest assembly may have met at Calgary Gospel Hall, also called the Sixth Avenue Assembly because of its location at 6th  Avenue and Centre Street. Some of the first brethren there were Jonah Reid, Sam Shannon, a Mr. Stinton, and a Mr. Webb. When the assembly disbanded and the building was sold, some of the Christians went to Bethany Chapel. The others relocated to the north side of the city and became known as North Hill Gospel Hall.

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Bethany Chapel in Calgary hived off from the Sixth Avenue Assembly shortly after the war. As it expanded, services were moved to a nearby high school auditorium. In the late 1980s, a commodious building was put up and a young man from Vancouver, Gary Inrig, was appointed pastor. Under his ministry, numbers grew to 800 or 900. Mr. Inrig later moved to Dallas Seminary. Many of the existing assemblies in Calgary have derived from Bethany Chapel. The assemblies in Calgary hosted conferences at Bethany Chapel for many years at Easter time.

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West Hillhurst Gospel Hall in Calgary began in 1954 as a hive-off from the Sixth Avenue Assembly.  Harry Woods and Henry Franzen were those who initiated the assembly. Leadership has been shared by these and David Speer, Dennis Broadhead, Charles Bradhead, Frank Hull, Bernie Daniels, Leland Conley, Jim Robinson, and Garry Seale. The assembly has commended Gordon Williams to the Lord’s work in Canada. About 140 attend West Hillhurst Gospel Hall.

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In September 1979, two young couples – Dan and Ruth Styles, and Jim and Larissa Duffin – from the West Hillhurst Gospel Hall had an exercise to have children’s meetings in a day care center. The day care was in a newer area of Calgary known as “The Properties.” A good number of young people helped out. Since there was nothing that would particularly appeal to adults, the children were being dropped off and picked up an hour or so later.

 

The logical step was to arrange a meeting for adults, which was held upstairs in the day care center. While everyone sat around a table with coffee and doughnuts, a brother took up the Epistle to the Romans. A good interest was shown, and the numbers increased. Before long, the majority professed faith in Christ and the primary emphasis switched from the Gospel to teaching.

 

Shortly after, a good number of those saved were baptized and received into fellowship at West Hillhurst. As others from the area were saved, the group decided to form a new assembly in close association with the West Hillhurst Gospel Hall. The Styles’, Duffins, and Frank and Bethel Hull were the primary leaders in forming the Properties Christian Assembly. In March 1981, the little group Remembered the Lord for the first time in the day care center where quite a few of them had heard the Gospel and had come to Christ.

 

After a couple of years, the day care facility was too small, so the assembly moved to a spacious local community center where they were able to host conferences from time to time. Many supported the work with their presence and a number of the Lord’s servants came from time to time to minister the Word.

 

In 1994, the new board of the community center doubled the rent, so the Christians moved into the board rooms of the Calgary Construction Association at an attractive rate. They remained there four years. At both places, meetings could be held only on Sundays, so mid-week meetings were held in homes and at North Hill Gospel Hall in Calgary.

 

During the earlier years, baptisms were held in the West Hillhurst Gospel Hall, at North Hill Gospel Hall, in the canal that ran along side the north-south freeway, in the lagoon in downtown Calgary, and in a local indoor swimming pool which they would rent for an hour on Sunday afternoon.

 

The numbers at North Hill had been dwindling, and in the latter part of 1998 the Christians there offered the Hall to the Properties Christian Assembly. The final meeting of the assembly at the Association board room was in January 1999. The North Hill Gospel Hall was renovated and the name changed to Northside Bible Fellowship in Calgary.

 

Others in active leadership since the early days have been Fen Dorozio, Dave Campbell, and Kevin Broadhead. The assembly has commended workers to the mission field. About 100 adults and youngsters are in Northside Bible Fellowship at present.

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Red Deer is some 80 miles north of Calgary. The congregation which now meets at Balmoral Bible Chapel in Red Deer had its beginning there in 1930, when William M. Rae of Portland, OR held services in a tent pitched near the site of the present Valley Hotel. At the conclusion of these meetings, Mr. Rae decided to reside in Red Deer, and helped rent a hall for assembly meetings above the Stewart Brothers Implement Agency at 5009 -  49 Street. This location was called the Red Deer Gospel Hall. A full schedule of meetings was implemented from the start – Lord’s Supper on Sunday mornings, Sunday Schools at noon, Gospel service on Sunday evenings, and several week-night meetings. Samuel Edwards and Walter Stinton were also involved with Mr. Rae in starting the assembly.

 

Less than a year later, the new assembly held its first Bible Conference, with 85 in attendance. In 1932, the Christians purchased a building at Ross Street and 48 Street, a site directly north of the present Balmoral City Hall. Later that year, the assembly incorporated, with trustees William Baines, Roderick J. Munro, and Samuel S. Edwards. Only 19 months later, the assembly took over a Nazarene church building 4801 - 48 Street. Financial assistance was provided by some of the brethren at the Sixth Avenue Assembly in Calgary. The building was primitive by current standards – no water or sanitation facilities, and poor heating and ventilation. Speakers at the opening of the new Red Deer Gospel Hall in August 1933 came from Calgary, Granum, and Westlock. Leadership in the early days was supplied mainly by William Baines and Frank Graham in addition to those already mentioned.

 

Outside speakers at the assembly in the 1930s included Ernest Tatham, Fred Elliot, John Smart, C.O. Bowen, John Sommacal, and Albert Stephenson. Bill and Joan Clark were mainstays of the assembly in its early period up until World War II, when Bill Clark joined the army. The E.B. Godfrey family and the John Tomalty family moved to Red Deer in 1937 and became substantial helpers in the work at Red Deer Gospel Hall. Others who came during and after the war were the families of Jacob Huber, Ben Kits, and Len and Norma Tomalty. The William Gurnetts, who had been in full-time work at the Youngstown Gospel Chapel moved to Red Deer in 1966 and provided needed leadership.

 

Elders were recognized at that time: Jacob Huber, Allan Edwards, Bill Gurnett, Lewis Edwards, and Frank Graham. Many others have been elders since then. Of the many women who have been involved in leading and teaching youth programs over the years, mention may be made of Verna Tomalty, Barbara Gurnett, Mrs. Godfrey, Myrie Woods, Marjorie Straight, Judy Falk, Ruth Edwards, and Donna Roberts.

 

The assembly grew steadily and needed a larger building. In January 1971, a funeral chapel on a three-acre plot east of Red Deer was purchased. After many alterations, it was opened in September 1971 as Balmoral Bible Chapel.

 

In 1972, the Gurnetts moved to Edmonton. The assembly felt they should have a full-time worker, and selected Terry B. Wiebe, who began in 1980. Students from Prairie Bible Institute became active in the assembly in 1982 and were a great help in speaking, teaching, and working with the youth. Balmoral Bible Chapel and its antecedents have commended many to the Lord’s work in Africa, France, Belgium, Italy, India, Spain, and the Caribbean islands. Others have been commended to the home field. Bob Shorten and Fred Lane are full-time workers for the assembly. Over 250 attend Balmoral Bible Chapel today.

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The small town of Elnora is a few miles southeast of Red Deer. The Salem Christian Assembly  near Elnora began in 1982 on the grounds of Salem Acres. John H. Adams and Ralph Brundage were those who initiated the work. John Adams, S. George Loney, H.Y. Pedersen, and David Broadhead have been the elders. About 20 adults and youngsters attend Salem Christian Assembly.

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Drumheller was a coal mining community northeast of Calgary in its early days. The assembly testimony there was established by immigrants from Scotland and Europe. Sam Shannon arrived in Drumheller around 1931, at which time an assembly was already meeting on Sundays in the Odd Fellows Hall. Bible studies were held during the week in private homes.

 

A.B. Hunter, a mine inspector, was one of the leading brothers in the early days, and when he was transferred to Edmonton, the meeting suffered. Those who remained felt they could no longer afford the rented faci1ities, but took possession of a small building in Newcastle, a miner’s community west of the city.

 

Around 1940 the opportunity came up to purchase a building in Drumheller on West 3rd Ave. It was known in the community as the “Tin Hall” because of the sheet metal siding. The meeting place eventually took the name Drumheller Gospel Chapel. The brethren involved in the meeting were Sid Pike, Joe Dewar, Mr. Sanderlock, and Sam Shannon, forming a company of 15 or 20 along with their families, and more for special meetings by some who lived in surrounding communities.

 

The Pikes moved away in 1943, the Shannons in 1945, and the Dewars in 1946. Mr. Sanderlock continued on as best he could but there was talk of selling the building. When the coal mines closed down following World War II, people moved away. George Vansan arrived about then and faithfully carried on the work. The assembly disbanded in about 1990, but a Sunday School work continued for several more years.

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Granum is a ranching community southeast of Calgary. The Granum assembly was started by two brothers, Jim and Alec Calderwood, sometime after 1923. Jim had moved from the Westlock area to Granum to start farming. The Calderwood families had come from the assemblies in Northern Ireland and from the Presbyterian Church.

 

The assembly began in the Jim Calderwood house; then a small Jumbo Valley Hall was built on the corner of Alec Calderwood’s farm. C.O. Bowen and Willy Wilson were instrumental in helping out in the early years. Mr. Joseph Doukes was also an important figure at Jumbo Valley Hall. The Granum assembly was discontinued around 1960 to 1965.

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Lethbridge is a small city southeast of Calgary. At one time, it had two assemblies – Lethbridge Gospel Hall and Lethbridge Gospel Chapel. The Gospel Chapel disbanded in the late 1970s, but the Gospel Hall, which was started by Mr. Silas Best in the 1940s, continued into the 1980s. Harry Frouse was a leading brother in the Gospel Hall. An assembly called The Good News Centre was begun in Lethbridge at the end of 1998, the result of the initiative of Stephen Kember.

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In the early 1900s, the Burdge, McKellar, Burkinshaw, and other families settled in an area known as Berry Creek, about 25 miles southwest of Youngstown, which is about 60 miles west of the border with Saskatchewan. Some of the homesteaders brought with them a real faith in God through Jesus Christ. By 1914, the Berry Creek Gospel Hall was built. Through the witness of the believers, and the Sunday meetings, many came to faith in Christ Jesus.

 

A few of the Christians had connections with the assemblies on the west coast. In those early years, a young man, John Smart, came to Alberta to work in the harvest. Archie McKellar was a farmer and an evangelist at heart, and used to reach out to areas around Berry Creek, driving a horse and buggy in the 1920s. For some years he went about 20 miles east to another area called Crocus Plains. In the early 1930s, John Smart came back and with Archie McKellar held an evangelistic series at Crocus Plains that reached many for the Lord.

 

The drought and the depression of the 1930s caused many farmers to leave these areas, but Sunday meetings were carried on by local believers using the Crocus Plains school house, about 12 miles south of Youngstown. The William Gurnetts moved to Youngstown in 1953 from northern Ontario and worked to encourage the believers and reach others.

 

In 1959, a decision was made to purchase the Crocus Plains school house which was not being used as a school, and move it into Youngstown. The Berry Creek Gospel Hall was closed then. Sunday meetings were begun at the Youngstown Gospel Chapel in 1960 and have continued. The Youngstown Chapel has been enlarged several times to accommodate the numbers.

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The Coleman Christian Assembly  in southern Alberta was started in 1958 by Cy Bryant and Bob Woods in 1958, and continues. An outreach of the assembly is Crowsnest Camp, a Bible camp for children.

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In the Michichi area of Alberta, approximately 20 miles northeast of Drumheller, a group of believers began home meetings in about 1912, and later met in the Sunbeam school building. In the formative years, the families of Joe Blair, Doug Griffin, Bob Hunter, and Dave Johnston attended, along with John Watt who came 18 miles by horse and buggy once a month to fellowship with his brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

In 1925, Bob Hunter commenced a Sunday School work, with William Campbell and Mrs. Adams helping with the classes. Later, the assembly began meeting in the Starland School building as the Starland Gospel Hall in Michichi on Sundays for the Lord’s Supper and Sunday School, and an evening Gospel service. As many as 90 worshippers were in attendance, with some coming from as far as seven miles away.

 

The surnames of others who enjoyed fellowship at the Starland Gospel Hall throughout the years were Elliott, French, Gosling, Halbert, Jensen, Johnston, Jolson, Kingcott, Long, and Phillips. Lena Beath, after teaching locally for three years, went as a missionary to Angola where she remained for eight years.

 

In the late 1950s, the public school was closed, whereupon the assembly bought the school building and continued to meet there until the mid 1970s, when it finally closed its doors after most of the flock had moved away from the region.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Questionnaire responses and other correspondence

A History of Balmoral Bible Chapel, Red Deer, by Lewis Edwards, 1999

 


Saskatchewan

 

Taylorside is a country farm district west of Melfort, which is 100 miles northeast of Saskatoon. The assembly now meeting at Taylorside Gospel Hall had its start in 1902 when Herbert and Hannah Taylor moved from Ontario to the area to begin homesteading. They had been raised Anglican, had been saved in Gospel tent meetings, and had come into fellowship at Deer Lake Gospel Hall in Ontario. Herbert and his two brothers started the assembly, which met initially in the Herbert Taylor log house. In 1908, the Christians built Taylorside Gospel Hall in the area named for the Taylors. Those in leadership have been several of the extended Taylor family, including Jim Foy, Robson Bertram, Roland Seale, and Clifford Paul. The assembly has had a three-day Conference each year since 1936, and has an annual Easter Youth Conference. Many have been saved through the evening Gospel meetings of the assembly, which numbers over 100 today.

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An assembly in Moose Jaw was first listed in the 1908 edition of the city directory. Located at 228 Fairford Street West, the Moose Jaw Gospel Hall was registered in the name of William M. Rae, an itinerant evangelist from Portland, OR. Though the founders of the assembly are not remembered, Mr. Rae is undoubtedly one of them. Early members were Walter Little, Sr., John Campbell Kinloch and his wife Annie, Andrew and Sarah Snowdy, and Mrs. Mary Barley.

 

In 1911, three Hollands brothers – Charles, Archibald, and Frank – arrived from England. Charles and Archibald and their families played a large part in the assembly for many years. Others at that time were Mrs. Joseph (Brigitta) Lett and her daughter Bertha, Miss Margaret G. Rose, and the Eustace Godfrey family. Most of these had brethren backgrounds.

 

The Moose Jaw Gospel Hall remained in rented quarters on Fairford until 1935 at which time the assembly moved to the Maybee Block at 121 High Street West. A year later they moved to 124 First Avenue North West. Following World War II, an airport barracks was purchased and moved onto the foundation prepared at 68 Stadacona Street West. In 1949, a chapel was built at that location, and called Stadacona Gospel Chapel.

 

In addition to those mentioned, active leadership has been provided by William and Mary Wilson, Robert (Sr.) and Mary Farquhar, William and Florence Farquhar, James and Alice Miller, A.L. Stewart, Mrs. Christina Kjarsgaard, Mrs. Leila Coates, Duncan Murray, John and Mrs. Wallace, Ronald Moffit, James Diamond, Marvin Dyck, Stephen Bramer, Bruce Fisk, and John and Karen McCubbing. Mr. McCubbing is the sole elder at present.

 

Among the many ministries of this assembly of Christians was “Salem Hall,” a children’s outreach begun by Stanley Wells and continued by William and Florence Farquhar. A number of the sisters went out each week for many years to minister to the residents at Valley View Centre, a facility for the mentally handicapped. During the war, a weekly Gospel radio program was conducted, with messages brought by Stanley Wells, Charles Hollands, and William Farquhar, with occasional guest speakers and with music supplied by members of the assembly. Street corner meetings were held into the late 1940s. A puppet ministry under the direction of Mrs. Karen McCubbing has been presented at assemblies throughout the province and at other evangelical churches. The Strasbourg Bible Camp was started in 1938 with the co-operation of the assemblies at Strasbourg, Moose Jaw, Regina, and Saskatoon.

 

Stadacona Gospel Chapel has about 50 adults and children in attendance, and has commended missionaries to the Belgian Congo, India, Colombia, Austria, and to various ministries in the U.S. and Canada.

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The assembly at Fairhaven Bible Chapel in Saskatoon was begun in about 1912 by brethren immigrating from England, Scotland, and Ireland. Meeting initially in rented quarters, the Christians in 1914 built Hebron Hall, a small building at Avenue C and 25th Street. A year later, this building was moved to Avenue B and 25th Street, enlarged, and renamed Hebron Gospel Hall. It was often called the Saskatoon Gospel Hall. Those active in leadership from the early days include J. Paxton, W. Marlow, R. Hawkins, W. Wilson, B. Tansley, and A. Matley.

 

In 1968, the building name was changed to Grace Gospel Chapel. When the area became industrial and families began moving elsewhere, the believers decided to relocate. In 1979, the building was sold and Fairhaven Bible Chapel was built in the Fairhaven district of Saskatoon. The assembly has commended workers to the Lord’s service in France, Quebec, and Saskatchewan. Fairhaven Bible Chapel has an attendance of about 50, down from about 100 in the 1960s.

* * * * * * *

 

For several years beginning in the 1980s, James Ronald and his wife and family visited door-to-door in their neighborhood of Saskatoon, making contacts, having children’s meetings, and starting summer and winter camps. Many of the children attending these camps came from broken homes. An assembly was begun in the early 1990s, meeting in rented space in an elementary school on Sundays and in the Ronald’s home for midweek prayer and Bible studies. A renovated school bus was used to pick up children for the children’s meetings.

 

As numbers increased, land was purchased, and with the help of two brothers from Ontario, the Lawson Heights Gospel Hall was constructed at 131 La Ronge Road, Saskatoon in 1995. The assembly has been of great help to area university, college, and nursing students. A two-day conference was held in November 1999, with many young people present.

* * * * * * *

 

The small town of Arborfield lies at the northern part of the farming area of Saskatchewan, toward the eastern side of the Province. It was to that district in early 1921 that Fleming May and Eddie Morton came with the Gospel message. These first meetings were held in the farm home of Will and Nellie Miller. Later Gospel meetings were held in the farm home of Frank and Annie Cummings at Old Arborfield, and also in a rented Orange Hall northwest of Arborfield. Then in the summer of 1922, a Mr. Farmer came for more meetings. Through these meetings, a number of souls were saved, believers taught, and several were baptized. Later in 1922, those saved met in the Miller’s home to Remember the Lord in His death. These were Dave and Edith Lloyd, Henry and Bell Cummings, Albert Cummings, Angus and Annie Miller, Will and Nellie Miller, Mrs. Allport, and Bob and Gladys Melrose. The assembly held the first of its annual Bible Conferences in the early 1930s. A canvas tent was used for the meetings, and meals were served in the vacant Viceroy Cafe.

 

Mrs. Dafoe’s house, across the road from the Millers, was renovated and served as the meeting place until about 1929, when the Arborfield Gospel Hall was built in the town. For many years, the hall was also used as a school classroom for grades six to eight. In 1980, a larger hall was built on the same location.

 

Many of the pioneer evangelists were faithful to come to that out-of-the way area of Arborfield and build up the assembly, which continues today with nearly 50 coming to the meetings. After a lapse of some years, the assembly resumed holding annual Conferences in 1993. Recent leaders in the meeting include Floyd Pickering and Wallace Miller.

* * * * * * *

 

The small town of Maidstone is near the western boundary of Saskatchewan. The assembly at Maidstone Gospel Hall began in 1937 in the home of Howard Perry near the town, and derived in part from the Lashburn Assembly, which has since disbanded. C.F. Broadhead from England is credited with starting the assembly, and he along with Howard Perry, W. Broadhead, S.J. Foster, Dick Robertson, and Harry McLaren have been the leaders. Now at the corner of Main Street and 4th Avenue W, Maidstone Gospel Hall consists of eight adults and five children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Questionnaire responses and other correspondence

God’s Dealings in His Matchless Love & Grace in the Arborfield District, by Vernon Cummings, 1993

            Letters of Interest, February 1980, p. 16

 


Manitoba

 

The majority of assemblies in Manitoba were the result of efforts of early brethren who labored under tremendous hardships. Money was scarce, but they trusted God. Traveling was difficult, mostly by horse and buggy. They pioneered where there were no assemblies; they Broke Bread where they could. Souls to them were the most important business in the world.

 

J. Ronald went from town to town and house to house with printed and spoken messages. Robert McClurkin spent 20 years of his life pioneering on the prairies, living in The Pas in northern Manitoba and spreading the Gospel in the mining towns of Flin, Flon, Sheridan, and others. As did the others, he had often to supply the needs of his family with manual labor.

* * * * * * *

 

The first of the assembly gatherings in Winnipeg, the capital of Manitoba, can trace its history back to about 1880, when settlers were arriving from Europe. A group met when convenient on the banks of the Red River near where the present Louise Bridge stands. Around 1880 this group met as an assembly at the Winnipeg Gospel Hall at 120 King Street. Donald Munro, Donald Ross, and John Smith came often to encourage the saints and preach the Gospel there. A letter of Alex Marshall dated July 4, 1906, speaks of the Winnipeg Gospel Hall, then having nearly 100 in fellowship. In 1907 the Winnipeg assembly procured a larger hall on Main Street to accommodate its growth. Later, with the city enlarging and the gathering increasing, the brethren at Winnipeg Gospel Hall decided to divide into two assemblies that would better serve the gospel and the saints. The West End Gospel Hall then commenced in an area where most of the Christians were living. A second assembly was started to accommodate those in North end.

* * * * * * *

 

Later, from these two assemblies, another group was formed in Winnipeg, probably in about 1918. This assembly met initially in the Liberal Club Hall on Main Street, then moved through several locations. The last temporary quarters were upstairs in the Icelandic Hall on Sargeant Avenue at McGee Street.

 

In 1928, the Christians purchased property at 603 Arlington Street, and also purchased the Chalmers Church building on Spruce Street and moved it onto the property. The building was renovated and named Ebenezer Gospel Hall. The elders at that time were T.M. McKay, J.H. Taylor, D.R. Ritchie, and W. Payne. Since then, elders have included James Gilmour, Albert Edgar, Geri Thomas, Cyril Taylor, Sam Okomoto, Dan Ritchie, Gerald Hayes, Andy Koropatnick, Lloyd Hayes, Glen Hayes, Ken Hayes, Ernie Schmidt, and Helmut Zimmermann.

 

In 1965, the assembly changed its name to Arlington Street Gospel Chapel. The assembly has had many forms of youth outreach, and has commended several to the Lord’s work in Japan, Belize, Zambia, the U.S., and Canada. About 70 adults and youngsters attend Arlington Street Gospel Chapel at this time.

* * * * * * *

Another assembly in Winnipeg was founded by P.J. Rich, A.J. Browning, D. Donaldson, and C. Scarff. These men, with the help of others, conducted Gospel meetings and began a Sunday School for children in 1915. The first meeting for Breaking of Bread occurred in the fall of 1916 at the St. James Gospel Hall on Ferry Road. The assembly grew under the guidance of D. Bell, C. Evans, C. Roach, E. Williams, J. Taylor, and A.D. Lockhart.

 

In 1925, the assembly moved into new quarters at  Inglewood and Ness Avenues, its present location. Sunday School enrollment grew to almost 400 in the early 1930s, with two sessions on Sunday afternoons. Youth activities have been an earmark of the assembly. In 1928, a basement was added. Bram Reed’s meetings there in 1953 are remembered as an especial encouragement to the assembly. In 1961, the hall was completely renovated. A.C. Fear was in leadership in recent years and was an outstanding preacher, ministering throughout the area. The assembly continues today with the name St. James Gospel Chapel and has about 150 adults and children attending.

* * * * * * *

 

In 1922 and 1923, a handful of brethren felt led of God to begin an evangelistic work in the St. Vital district of Winnipeg. In early summer of 1923, they erected a large tent at the corner of Berrydale Avenue and St. Mary’s Road. Gospel meetings were held all through the summer months. The response of the people in the area was great, so the brethren felt a chapel should be built and the work become a permanent one. A lot was donated by Mr. W. Robertson, and with the help and encouragement of brethren such as H.J. Munro, H.C. Scott, T. Kells, C.N. Pogue, and A. McInnis, Grace Chapel was completed and ready for occupancy in the winter of 1923.

 

From then until the present, this building has been expanded twice because of increased interest and attendance. In 1973, the building was removed from its foundation, a basement poured and the old building returned to its original place; wings were added to all sides. The building was finished in December 1973 and the dedication service was held in January 1974. Grace Chapel has had much involvement with the development of the work in Fortier.

* * * * * * *

 

Maples Community Church in Winnipeg has its roots in outreach meetings begun in 1975 by Clem Wyke and Murray Taylor of Arlington Street Gospel Chapel in Winnipeg. The assembly began in 1977, meeting then, as now, at James Nisbet Community School. Several elders have served the church, in addition to those mentioned. Maples Community Church has commended a family to serve with HCJB in Quito, Ecuador, and has about 130 adults and youngsters in attendance. In 1999, the Christians began construction of a new building for the assembly at 1640 Leila Avenue.

* * * * * * *

 

Fortier is a small town between Winnipeg and Portage la Prairie. Albert R. Stephenson and David Bell held Gospel meetings in the area in the late 1920s and saw interest and blessing. A weekly meeting was continued by Winnipeg brethren. In 1929, an assembly began in the Fortier/Oakville area, started by H.J. Munro from Grace Chapel in Winnipeg. It had its first meetings in the home of a Mr. Houston. The Christians called their meeting place Fortier Gospel Hall and later Fortier Gospel Chapel. Those in leadership in the assembly over the years include Austin Burnett, Ed Rempel, Ben Rempel, and John Thornton. About 30 adults and children attend Fortier Gospel Chapel.

* * * * * * *

 

Crescent Heights Chapel in Portage la Prairie began in 1980 at its present address of 1745 Saskatchewan Avenue West. A hive-off of the Fortier Gospel Chapel, it was started by persons living closer to Portage la Prairie. Those involved in the beginning of the assembly were the families of William A. Ronald, Ron Moffit, William Gilchrist, D. Garth Ronald, Morley McDonald, Helen Shapansky, N.M. Tilley, Randy Moffit, and Mabel Watson. The elders have been William A. Ronald, Ron Moffit, D. Garth Ronald, and Anthony Barone. About 75 attend Crescent Heights Chapel regularly. Crescent Heights has commended workers to the Lord’s service.

* * * * * * *

 

In 1881, a young Richard Varder arrived in Winnipeg. He had a good knowledge of the Word of God and a strong desire to win souls. A carpenter by trade, he worked until he had accumulated a little money and then used it to carry the Gospel to surrounding towns. Selkirk, about 23 miles north of Winnipeg, especially concerned him. Many of the pioneers and townspeople of Selkirk responded to the Gospel.

 

Mr. Varder’s efforts and trials were rewarded in about 1886 by the planting of the Selkirk Assembly. From that company went out a number of brethren such as Brandow and Woods, around 1890, to pioneer the Gospel. The Selkirk annual Easter conferences were a feature of the assembly in its early days.

* * * * * * *

 

Richard Varder and Alfred Goff, both from England, were preaching as a team by 1890. Varder had been mentored by Robert Chapman and Henry Dyer, and Alfred Goff was saved under the preaching of Henry Craik. Chapman, Dyer, and Craik were friends and pioneers among the ‘open’ brethren in England, so the two young men had a common bond.

 

William Monkman was saved in 1890 at Gospel meetings conducted by Richard Varder and Alfred Goff in a home near Selkirk. He immediately invited the two preachers to come north to his district at Balsam Bay on Lake Winnipeg. They came and shortly eight more people professed salvation. These nine – Mr. and Mrs. William Monkman, Mr. and Mrs. John Flett, Mr. and Mrs. Alex Anderson, Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Derby, and Mrs. John Rupert – were baptized in the waters of Lake Winnipeg by Richard Varder and established the Balsam Bay Assembly in June 1890.

 

The assembly met first in the Flett home, then the Derby home, and then in a local school house at Balsam Bay. This continued until 1910, when the Alex Anderson family moved further north to Victoria Beach. The assembly disbanded for five years until the Andersons returned, and the Remembrance Meetings resumed in their home. George Brandow and Alex Monkman came often to Balsam Bay to preach, and others such as John Gunn of Winnipeg also preached there, but otherwise the only meetings of the assembly were the Remembrance Meetings held on Sunday mornings.

 

In the 1920s, other additions to the assembly included Norman Thomas, Mr. and Mrs. H.G. Thomas, and Harry Newman. Fifteen were in fellowship in January 1921. Messrs. Brandow and Monkman urged the start of a Bible study among the Christians, and this was done on Thursday evenings in the Anderson home and continued for many years.

 

In 1921, H.G. Thomas moved his family to Stoney Point, about seven miles south of Balsam Bay, and because travel to Balsam Bay was so difficult, it was agreed that a new Stoney Point Assembly would be started in the Thomas home. The two assemblies maintained a close relationship. Two ladies, Doris Treadway and Dorothy Thomas, one from each assembly, were active in door-to-door evangelism in the 1930s, resulting in the salvation of several who came into fellowship.

 

In the late 1930s and early 1940s, several of the Stoney Point Christians moved to Victoria Beach and elsewhere; the Stoney Point Assembly merged with the Balsam Bay Assembly in 1948. With so many having moved to Victoria Beach, an assembly was begun there, and the Victoria Beach Chapel was constructed in 1950. In 1955, the Victoria Beach assembly was helping the small Loon Straits Assembly, 150 miles further up Lake Winnipeg at Loon Straits.

 

In 1956, the Balsam Bay group purchased a building and moved it onto property at nearby Grand Marais, calling their building the Grand Marais Gospel Chapel. At that point, there were three assemblies in the area: at Victoria Beach, at Grand Marais, and  at nearby Beaconia where the Beaconia Assembly had recently started to gather. In time, meetings were held alternately at each of the three chapels because the Christians were so few and not enough at any one place to operate independently. So, in the late 1980s, the men of the assemblies located and purchased a central site with a building, which they call the Wayside Gospel Chapel near Beaconia. This became the meeting place for all the assembly people meeting in the area after the three assemblies in the area were dissolved. Leadership over the years has been provided by Alex Anderson, William Monkman, William Anderson, Harry Newman, Gordon Thomas, Peter Paulson, and John Thomas. About 60 people attend the Wayside Gospel Chapel  today.

* * * * * * *

 

The assembly at Ashfield Gospel Hall is the outgrowth of a work started across the river from Ashfield, in McDonald and St. Andrews, by men who pioneered north of Winnipeg about 1890. The meet­ings were held in a log house on the river bank where a godly old sister, “Aunt Kate” Mowat, lived. The Christians were known as the St. Andrews Assembly. The New Year’s Day conferences of those early days are remembered as special times. Adam McDonald was one of the leaders of the assembly. A letter of Alex Marshall written in 1906 speaks of the assembly at St. Andrews.

 

Since the river had to be crossed by boat in summer or by foot over the ice in winter, the assembly decided to build their Hall across the river at Ashfield as the older folk passed on and later converts made their homes at Ashfield. Here about 20 meet to Remember the Lord.

* * * * * * *

 

Among the early  pioneers to Canada was John Rae, who arrived in 1884 from Scotland. Coming to Manitoba to farm, he began winning souls and before long was in full-time service for the Lord. He instructed those won and they began to Remember the Lord in a home in Portage La Prairie, 50 miles west of Winnipeg. After Mr. Rae moved to Brandon in 1888, this group met sporadically, coming together when a preacher was around. In 1904, evangelist Oliver C. Fish moved to Portage and a regularly meeting assembly was formed. The Christians met at that time in a house belonging to Mrs. Craik, on 5th Street N.W. As the group grew, they moved into a room above a tailor shop, then into the tailor shop when it became vacated. Among the stalwarts in the assembly at that time, Miss Matilda Craik, Mrs. Spence, and Mr. Bert Vanstone are remembered.

 

Around 1920, the assembly moved to the Review Building on Tupper Street North. For baptisms, the Christians went out to the Assiniboine River. The meeting attracted many of the better-known preachers and evangelists during this period, and the assembly was vigorous, with hearty singing and an active Sunday School at which many of the children were saved.

 

The Review Building was sold in early 1937, and the Christians met for a while in the Oddfellows’ Hall. A house on the corner of First Street and Lorne Avenue came up for a tax sale at about that time; the group bought the lot and tore down the house. They then contracted with Mr. Stewart, who had constructed the Winnipeg Gospel Hall to come build a Hall for them. The Portage La Prairie Gospel Hall was completed that year. The assembly grew and the Hall was later enlarged. The assembly has commended several couples to the foreign field, and a couple to the home front. Portage La Prairie Gospel Hall has about 100 in fellowship and 50 in the Sunday School at this time.

* * * * * * *

 

When John Rae emigrated from Scotland, he settled first at High Bluff, near Portage la Prairie. In 1888, he moved to Brandon, 80 miles west of Portage la Prairie, and started a testimony in his home on Assiniboine Avenue. This was the origin of the Brandon Gospel Hall. Among that company were Miss Henry, Mr. and Mrs. William Turley, Mr. and Mrs. William White, and Miss Reid, all of whom had left the Salvation Army; and Mrs. John Calder who had been with the Presbyterians. In that same year, 1888, John Smith held Gospel meetings and saw a number saved, and some believers gathered to the Lord’s name. Here it was that O.C. Fish, later an evangelist, was saved. Among those who visited Brandon at John Rae’s invita­tion to preach the Gospel and instruct the saints were Donald Ross, Donald Munro, T. D. W. Muir, and Alex Matthews. The first conference sponsored by Brandon Gospel Hall was held in October 1889.

 

A letter written by John Rae in 1890 states that more than 30 were in the Brandon Gospel Hall. He mentions five or six small gatherings in the nearby country districts, conversions among Cree Indians, and a new assembly testimony at West Selkirk.

 

The first meeting place for the assembly was located at 13th Street and Rosser Avenue. The Hall was on the main floor and the Rae family lived upstairs. The second meeting place was at 8th Street and Rosser Avenue, where the meetings were held on the second floor. In 1902, a Gospel Hall was built at 463 - 8th Street. The present Hall was completed in November 1976 at 1412 - 22nd Street. About 25 people attend the meeting today. Brandon Gospel Hall has commended several people full time to the Lord’s work, including William Rae and Oliver C. Fish to ministry in the area, and other workers to Burundi and Zambia.

* * * * * * *

 

Around the turn of the century some souls were saved and a testimony formed in the Minitonas district, over 200 miles north of Brandon, when William Rae, son of John Rae, preached the Gospel. Later, Messrs. May and Morton visited and strengthened the saints, and the Minitonas Gospel Hall was built. Conferences were held for a number of years. The next generation used a public address system to preach in surrounding towns and villages. In 1954, Messrs. Ronald and Boyle had five weeks of encouraging meetings in a nearby town, followed up by local brethren with weekly Gospel meetings. A new hall was ready in 1955 to allow for expansion of the Sunday school effort and other work.

* * * * * * *

 

Mr. Gilbert Wastle had been praying that the Lord would send someone to preach the Gospel where he lived in the Mayfield district near Portage la Prairie. During a hospital stay in 1929, he told this to a gentleman distributing Gospel literature at the Portage Hospital and a few months later a young man, Russel Ronald, paid a visit to the Wastle home. For two weeks Mr. Ronald visited the neighborhood and held Gospel services at the Mayfield Orange Hall and at the Valley Stream School. During the summer of 1930, two other young men from Portage la Prairie Gospel Hall, James Ronald and Samuel Ray, came to Mayfield, canvassed the neighborhood, and held Sunday afternoon services at the Valley Stream School, and in Sunday evenings did the same at Ellwood School.

 

They returned in the spring of 1931. When one of the neighbors was saved as a result, the men were encouraged to set up a tent that  summer, which seated 100. Evangelists Herbert Harris from Orillia and Robert McCracken from Cleveland came as the Gospel preachers. The two men had meetings in the tent six nights a week for sixteen weeks, till the end of October, living in a little tent in the bush and cooking their meals over an open fire and carrying their water out of Pine Creek.

 

As the meetings continued, the numbers increased till the tent was full and the yard around the tent as well. Often from 200 to 300 people listened to the message. The local Christians knew they must provide a permanent facility to be used after the evangelists left, and built the Pine Creek Gospel Hall, located eight miles north of Austin, where Pine Creek crosses Highway #34, about 30 miles west of Portage la Prairie. About 50 persons were saved during that summer, and 32 were baptized in October in Pine Creek. The first Remembrance meeting in the new hall was on November 1, 1931.

 

The next year more souls were saved when Robert Curry joined Mr. McCracken. A growing children’s work eventually created the need for larger quarters, and a larger hall was built in 1963. Then in 1984, since most of the assembly Christians then lived nearer Austin, a lot was purchased there and the Austin Gospel Hall was built.

 

Early leadership of the assembly included Osborne Williams, John Lawford, and Ed Ainsworth. Later leadership includes Kyle Knox, Sam Williams, and Garth Knox. About 35 adults and children are in Austin Gospel Hall.

* * * * * * *

 

In about 1900, a small Gospel Hall was erected at Roseisle, a small town south of Portage la Prairie, where for many years there was a thriving assembly, to whose summer conferences came many believers. The assembly at the Roseisle Gospel Hall continues today.

* * * * * * *

 

Binscarth is a town near the western edge of Manitoba. The Binscarth Gospel Hall began there in 1968, the result of evangelistic campaigns in the district from 1961 to 1967, conducted by Robert Boyle of Brandon and James Ronald Sr. of Togo, Saskatchewan. These were assisted by Earl Ritchie, a public school teacher. In 1983, the Christians changed their name to Binscarth Christian Assembly. Leaders in the early years were Jack Woodhouse, Thomas Tibbatts, and Harvey Ronald. Elders since have been include Kevin Boucher, Don Salyn, George Boucher, and Bruce McGregor. About 20 adults and children attend Binscarth Christian Assembly today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Questionnaire responses and other correspondence

History of the Assembly in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, by Amy Spence, 1987

History Outline of the Balsam Bay Assembly, by Harry Newman, 1977

Brandon Gospel Hall, 1888 - 1988

The (Austin) Gospel Hall Story, by Lyle Knox, about 1985

St. James Gospel Chapel, Historic Highlights, undated

History of Arlington Street Gospel Chapel, by H. Zimmermann, undated

Letters of Interest, June 1955, p. 12

 


Index

 

97th Street Hall, Edmonton, AB................................................................................................................................................. 1_3

Arborfield Gospel Hall, SK............................................................................................................................................................ 14

Arlington Street Gospel Chapel, Winnipeg, MB................................................................................................................. 15, 16

Ashfield Gospel Hall, MB.............................................................................................................................................................. 18

Austin Gospel Hall, MB................................................................................................................................................................. 21

Balmoral Bible Chapel, Red Deer, AB........................................................................................................................................ 7, 8

Balsam Bay Assembly, MB........................................................................................................................................................... 17

Beaconia Assembly, MB............................................................................................................................................................... 18

Belmont Gospel Chapel, Edmonton, AB....................................................................................................................................... 3

Berry Creek Gospel Hall, AB......................................................................................................................................................... 10

Bethany Chapel, Calgary, AB......................................................................................................................................................... 6

Bethel Gospel Chapel, Edmonton, AB...................................................................................................................................... 1_3

Binscarth Christian Assembly, MB............................................................................................................................................. 21

Binscarth Gospel Hall, MB............................................................................................................................................................ 21

Boyle Gospel Chapel, AB................................................................................................................................................................ 5

Boyle Street Assembly, Edmonton, AB........................................................................................................................................ 1

Brandon Gospel Hall, MB........................................................................................................................................................ 19, 20

Calgary Gospel Hall, AB.................................................................................................................................................................. 6

Capilano Christian Assembly, Edmonton, AB......................................................................................................................... 2, 3

Clairview Bible Church, Edmonton, AB........................................................................................................................................ 3

Coleman Christian Assembly, AB................................................................................................................................................ 10

Conner’s Hill Gospel Hall, Edmonton, AB.................................................................................................................................... 2

Crescent Heights Chapel, Portage la Prairie, MB....................................................................................................................... 17

Deer Lake Gospel Hall, ON............................................................................................................................................................ 12

Drumheller Gospel Chapel, AB....................................................................................................................................................... 9

Ebenezer Gospel Hall, Winnipeg, MB......................................................................................................................................... 15

Fairhaven Bible Chapel, Saskatoon, SK...................................................................................................................................... 13

Fairview Gospel Chapel, AB........................................................................................................................................................... 5

Fortier Gospel Chapel, MB............................................................................................................................................................ 17

Fortier Gospel Hall, MB................................................................................................................................................................. 17

Grace Chapel, Winnipeg, MB....................................................................................................................................................... 16

Grace Gospel Chapel, Saskatoon, SK.......................................................................................................................................... 13

Grand Marais Gospel Chapel, MB................................................................................................................................................ 18

Grimshaw Gospel Hall, AB.............................................................................................................................................................. 5

Hebron Gospel Hall, Saskatoon, SK............................................................................................................................................ 13

Hebron Hall, Saskatoon, SK.......................................................................................................................................................... 13

Jumbo Valley Hall, Granum, AB...................................................................................................................................................... 9

Lashburn Assembly, SK................................................................................................................................................................ 14

Lawson Heights Gospel Hall, Saskatoon, SK............................................................................................................................. 13

Lethbridge Gospel Chapel, AB..................................................................................................................................................... 10

Lethbridge Gospel Hall, AB.......................................................................................................................................................... 10

Loon Straits Assembly, MB.......................................................................................................................................................... 18

Maidstone Gospel Hall, SK........................................................................................................................................................... 14

Maples Community Church, Winnipeg, MB.............................................................................................................................. 16

Minitonas Gospel Hall, MB........................................................................................................................................................... 20

Moose Jaw Gospel Hall, SK.......................................................................................................................................................... 12

Moyerton Assembly, AB................................................................................................................................................................ 5

Neerlandia Gospel Hall, AB............................................................................................................................................................. 5

North Hill Gospel Hall, Calgary, AB........................................................................................................................................... 6, 7

Northside Bible Fellowship, Calgary, AB..................................................................................................................................... 7

Norwood Assembly, Edmonton, AB............................................................................................................................................. 1

Open Bible Fellowship, Edmonton, AB......................................................................................................................................... 4

Paradise Valley Gospel Hall, AB..................................................................................................................................................... 6

Pibroch Assembly, AB................................................................................................................................................................ 4, 5

Pine Creek Gospel Hall, Austin, MB............................................................................................................................................ 20

Portage La Prairie Gospel Hall, MB........................................................................................................................................ 19, 20

Properties Christian Assembly, Calgary, AB............................................................................................................................... 7

Red Deer Gospel Hall, AB............................................................................................................................................................... 8

Roseisle Gospel Hall, MB.............................................................................................................................................................. 21

Salem Christian Assembly, Elnore, AB......................................................................................................................................... 9

Saskatoon Gospel Hall, SK............................................................................................................................................................ 13

Selkirk Assembly, MB.................................................................................................................................................................... 17

Sharon Gospel Chapel, Edmonton, AB..................................................................................................................................... 2, 4

Sixth Avenue Assembly, Calgary, AB...................................................................................................................................... 6, 8

Southgate Christian Brethren Assembly, Edmonton, AB.......................................................................................................... 4

St. Andrews Assembly, MB......................................................................................................................................................... 18

St. James Gospel Chapel, Winnipeg, MB.................................................................................................................................... 16

St. James Gospel Hall, Winnipeg, MB......................................................................................................................................... 16

Stadacona Gospel Chapel, Moose Jaw, SK.......................................................................................................................... 12, 13

Starland Gospel Hall, Michichi, AB............................................................................................................................................. 11

Stoney Point Assembly, MB........................................................................................................................................................ 18

Taylorside Gospel Hall, SK........................................................................................................................................................... 12

The Good News Centre, Lethbridge, AB.................................................................................................................................... 10

Vermillion Gospel Hall, AB.............................................................................................................................................................. 4

Victoria Beach Chapel, MB........................................................................................................................................................... 18

Wayside Gospel Chapel, Beaconia, MB..................................................................................................................................... 18

West End Gospel Hall, Winnipeg, MB........................................................................................................................................ 15

West Hillhurst Gospel Hall, Calgary, AB.................................................................................................................................. 6, 7

Westgrove Gospel Chapel, Edmonton, AB.................................................................................................................................. 3

Westgrove Gospel Hall, Edmonton, AB....................................................................................................................................... 3

Westlock Gospel Chapel, AB......................................................................................................................................................... 4

Winnipeg Gospel Hall, MB..................................................................................................................................................... 15, 19

Wyecliff Bible Chapel, Sherwood Park, AB.................................................................................................................................. 3

YMCA Assembly, Edmonton, AB................................................................................................................................................. 1

Youngstown Gospel Chapel, AB............................................................................................................................................. 8, 10

 

(10,350)

 

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