A Brief Congregational History
In the middle 1950s, when we were a fellowship in the planning and first meeting stages, we met in the homes of Allan and Mary Bailey, and Frank and Reba Coburn.
As membership grew we moved to small, rented quarters at the Nutana Legion Hall, 907 5th St., in 1956. We bought a piano for the Hall, which covered the first year’s rent. The children were taught in very poor basement accommodation. Two years later, larger premises were needed for the expanding children’s group so we moved to Bob Lynn Hall, on Main St. at Dufferin Ave.
We then moved to the YMCA Building, at that time at Spadina and 20th St. Although it had lots of room, meetings were held on the second floor—a long climb up the stairs. Storage and display of children’s work was a problem, so in 1963 we took an option on a lot at 7th St. and Early Drive. The idea was to build our own custom space, with all the features we could want. Architect’s plans for it even reached stage 2, but by fall of that year it was clear we had overreached our financial capacity. We sold the lot.
In 1964 the Free Methodist Church at 502 Main St. was for sale, and we were successful bidders at $18,000—with a 15-year mortgage. That building was wonderful … at first. We sold most of the pews, redecorated, and made do with the cold-water kitchen, cramped R.E. (Religious Education) space, and tiny bathroom in the basement.
Then, in the early ’70s, the Sask. Environmental Society made its office by walling off the “stage” area while the basement was renovated to take the “Children’s Daycare Hayven”, giving us another bathroom and a larger kitchen, but still the place was TINY.
Through the 21 years we were in that building we redecorated and improved it, but clearly it had become more of a liability than an asset. We fell over each other in the lobby, which wasn’t wheelchair accessible; the R.E. space was inadequate; the kitchen was cramped; the sanctuary had no room for newcomers; the roof leaked; and the sewer backed up at least twice a year. Every sign said: “Pack up and go”.
In 1995 we did just that. Our hard-won vision was to rent space, at the Cosmo Senior Citizens’ Centre as it happened, and grow until we could again find another home. This place was fine for adults but not for our children’s R.E. In order to advertise our excellent program we needed space where it could grow; we needed space, too, in which to sponsor more social action projects without having to look over our shoulders for our landlords’ reactions.
The building at 912 Idylwyld Dr. North was purchased in 1998. In 2005 the Congregation moved again, to 213 – 2nd Street East. The work of maintaining and caring for our congregational home goes on.
We are a congregation of approximately 120 members and friends, with about 50 children involved in our R.E. and Youth programs.
Over the years, the Congregation has at times been lay-led, and has welcomed both interim and settled ministers.