County of Ponoka GenWeb Project - Church Histories pg1
Title for Church Histories pg 1
Asker Lutheran Church
Calvary Lutheran Church
Bentley Methodist Church
Church of Christ
Bismark Lutheran Church
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS)
Bluffton Catholic Church
Church of the Epiphany Anglican Church
Bluffton United Church
Church of the Open Bible

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The pastors
Asker Lutheran Church
Pastor Wik
1900 - 1902
Asker residents raised and educated in Norway were all accustomed to regular church services from childhood. There were not many settlers in the community in 1900, but Reverend Wik, from Wetaskiwin, was sent by the Head Church to this NorthWest Territorial Mission to serve the pioneers. He held services at the home of Mr. & Mrs. E.A. Krefting. As well, there were services at intervals during the summers by various Presbyterian student preachers. The teachers held Sunday School with the assistance of the older school students through the summers. In 1905 there was a resident Pastor in Wetaskiwin who made the trip out every month. In the month of July 1905, Reverend Satre organized Asker Evangelical Lutheran congregation at the home of a pioneer settler, O.C. Ravnsborg. The work of the Church has been carried on since. Poor roads made the Pastor's drive from Wetaskiwin difficult, but services, wedding and funerals and matters of importance always took place.
The school house was used until 1915 when the church was built. The church was completed and furnished for use in autumn of 1915. The pioneer women having organized in 1902, played an important part in church, and their funds were the main sum for church construction. The Junior Girls' group provided funds for a large part of the furnishings. The church has been the hub of the community ever since.
Asker Cemetery was opened and dedicated in January, 1903.
At first all church services were held in the Norwegian language, then after a time this changed to alternate Sundays. Eventually,about 1930, because it was felt that there were too many younger people who could not understand the Norwegian languarge very well, all services were held in English.
Pastor Nodtvedt
1902 - 1903
Pastor Satre
1902 - 1906
Pastor Sorhus
1906 - 1907
Pastor Kjos
1907 - 1910
Pastor Fosdtvedt
1910 - 1920
Pastor Lee
1921 - 1924
Pastor Borlaug
1924 - 1927
Pastor Schillios
1927 - 1928
Pastor Asper
1928 - 1933
Pastor Ostrem
1934 - 1939
Pastor Kandal
1940 - 1945
Pastor Walker
1946 - 1953
Pastor Haugen
1953 - 1958
Pastor Hanson
1962 - 1965
Pastor Olsen
1962 - 1965
Pastor Foster
1966 - ??
Based on an except written by Hildur (Wettre) Krefting from "Mecca Glen Memories"

Bismark Lutheran Church
The early settlers in the Bismark district were mostly German Lutherans. Church services were held at the home of Reverand Gruber. A few years later the church was built on the homestead of Gus INSTROM. The cemetery was also located there. In 1946 the church was moved to its present (1969) location of the S.E. 18-43-27-W4, a full basement put under it, a new entrance built and electricity installed.
After the passing of Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Hemeyer Sr., the family replaced the old benches and chairs with new pews and a pulpit Bible in memory of their mother and father.
Based on an excerpt from "Crestomere Sylvan Heights Heritage"

Bluffton Catholic Church
Built in 1924
Based on an excerpt from "Tributaries of the Blindman"

Bluffton United Church
Built in the 1930's
Based on an excerpt from "Tributaries of the Blindman"

Church of Christ
The Church of Christ in Ponoka was formed by a group of thirty-four people in Ponoka in 1908 in an effort to copy the New Testament Church. They called Percival BAKER who had come to Ponoka to farm after twenty years in the ministry to be their pastor. The following year he assisted H.H. COX, H.W. WOOD and others to incorporate the Alberta Christian Missionary Society. At first there was a great increase in membership but several moved away being replaced by settlers of other denominations. In spite of difficulties, Mr. BAKER continued to preach until the time of his death in 1921. His wife and daughter Adeline BAKER carried on a Sunday School for another 15 years.
Based on an except from "Ponoka Panorama"

Church of the Open Bible
In March, 1947 the Church of the Open Bible was organized in Ponoka under the Associated Gospel Churches of Canada, with Carl PEARSON as pastor. Until December of 1951, the congregation met in the Co-op Hall.
D.W. HOGMAN assumed the pastorial duties in October of 1951, and by June of 1952, the congregation had moved into basement construction in Riverside which eventually became the new church building.
Based on an excerpt from "The Ponoka Book"

Bentley Methodist Church
Rev. Dr. Woodsworth, superintendent of the Methodist Mission, sent a letter to Mr. William C. Cooper, instructing him to meet with the Rev. H. G. Cairns in Lacombe, and take up his new preaching appointment. After staying in the Lacombe parsonage for one night, the two men travelled to a log store run by Major McPherson, who had been a boy drummer in the Battle of Gettysburg. The log store was Bentley . Mr. Cooper was then told unceremoniously that he was now looking at his new "mission field" - a great saucerlike valley of about 15 miles long and 5 miles wide filled with muskeg - and very few homes. The towns of Bentley and Rimbey did not exist at this time, but many new settlers arrived on a daily basis, by covered wagon, from places like Kansas, Idaho, and the Dakotas.
Norwegian services were held at the Vigs log cabin, until the new Methodist log church was completed at Bentley, which was the second building in the district. After preaching in the Methodist church at Bentley in the mornings, services were then held at the Raymond log cabin half way up the valley in what eventually became Rimbey United Church.
Based on an excerpt from "Over the Years: A History of the Rimbey Area"

Anglican Church of the Epiphany
The history of the Anglican Church of the Epiphany in Rimbey is a most exciting and eventful one to recount. It is a history of many faithful people worshipping, working, caring for and supporting one another with the type of happiness that grows within a real Christian family.
In the early nineteen hundreds, settlers started to come into this area to take up farms and homesteads. By 1907 there were a lot of Anglican families scattered around the district, so they decided to build a church, as religion played a great part in their lives. They contacted Bishop Pinkham, the Bishop of the Calgary Diocese and were informed that grants were available to build churches. The initial grant to Rimbey would have named the Church, "St. Ninian, the Apostle of Galway". An English gentleman donated the money to build a church in memory of his wife. He stipulated that it must be made of native wood and the logs were to be placed in an upright position rather than the usual lengthwise position. Mr. George Richards tells us of a Miss Alexander, the Blindman School mistress who helped initiate the building of the church.
In October of 1907, the Rev. Arthur J. Patstone, a member of the South London Mission Field, came from England. He first lived at Blackfalds and then, when it was decided to build a church here, he moved to Rimbey with the Frank Richards' family. The Rev. Patstone designed the church from one that he was familiar with in England. The body of the church, built of logs, was twenty feet by thirty-six feet long. The chancel, built of native lumber, was twelve feet by six feet long. There was a small vestry built to the south. At the entrance to the church was a vestibule and bell tower. The Rev. Patstone sent to South London for the bell that was in his old school.
Mr. Ben Rimbey donated the land on which the church was to be built. He, being a carpenter by trade, was made foreman of the job. Mr. Bob Woolgar, a stonemason who lived between Rimbey and Bentley, put in the foundation, and Mr. R. White donated the gravel. The logs were donated by Mr. Bill Williams. These were hauled with horses from his place west of the river, by members of the church. Some of the men who helped were Mr. Frank Symonds, Mr. Ken Wates, and Mr. Frank Richards. Mr. William Connors, a local Blacksmith, made the iron cross that stands on top of the church. The furnishings for the interior of the church were all hand made from native wood, except for the chairs and organ. A wood heater warmed the church on cold winter days. The church was completed in 1908 and dedicated in early 1909 and given the name, Church of the Epiphany. The parish was defined as covering Township 42 Rande 2 West of the fifth Meridian, and half of Township 41 Range 2 West of the Fifth Meridian.
The ladies formed the Women's Auxiliary and did their share of work. Mrs. Ben Rimbey, Mrs. Wates, and Mrs. Richards were untiring workers. In the early twenties Mrs. Bowker organized a Junior Girls' Auxiliary. The girls met at her home once a month to work on articles for Mission work. That winter they put on a play, "Cinderella" which was performed in the Rimbey Hall with a dance following. In the thirties, under the Rev. Pearson, there was an Altar Guild formed of the young girls. They met at the church each Saturday to clean and dust the church, and to clean the silver and brass and to set up the Communion for Sunday.
The clergy at that time served a large area - Lacombe, Ponoka, Bentley, Rimbey, Eckville, Rocky Mountain House, and Nordegg. They were very dedicated to their work and were seen at all seasons and in all types of weather making their rounds. The Rev. Patstone carried with him a small communion set that had belonged to his father in England. It has been placed on display in the original log church, which as moved to Pas-Ka-Poo Park.
In a letter written by his son, it notes that the Rev. Patstone had never ridden a horse and the report of his fine attempt at building a sleign is recounted as follows: "Apparently the box of the sleigh was fastened to the frame by four spikes, suitable bolts not being available at the time. While returning the Bishop over heavily drifted roads to the C.P.R. station at Blackfields, the spikes became loosened to such an extent that the box and runner parted company, dumping the Bishop, parson, and box into a huge drift. However, I was able to hang onto the reins and the horse. Repairs were effected at a nearby farm."
The interior of the church remained much the same until the early twenties, when the Rev. Hickin was resident here, and Mr. William Rigby made a new altar rail. It was to have been left in its natural state, but one day when the Rev. Hickin was away in the country, his housekeeper, thinking she would surprise him, went in and stained and varnished the new rail. Later, there was much hard work done trying to get most of the stain off again! About that time Mr. Charles Fellows, a woodworker and carver, made a new font.
In about 1928 the Rev. C. J. Fielder sent to eastern Canada for three imitation stained glass windows. When they came they were in small pieces like a jig saw puzzle. It took him and Mr. Fillingham a long time to put these together. Two were installed above the altar, one in memory of Frank Symonds, and the other for Harold Browne. The other, on the north wall by the organ, was in memory of Mrs. Fillingham. Members of the Woman's Auxillary tirelessly made the hangings and altar cloths, including one altar cloth what had a deep crocheted end done by Mrs. Garrett.
About 1953 a quiet and sincere young student minister, by the name of Archie McMullen, came to Rimbey.
Then another young man came on the scene, Gordon Hendra, a student minister, tall in stature and with a ready smile for all. He formed a very active group of young people, known as the A.Y.P.A. (Anglican Young People's Association) A humorous story is told of a visit the Rev. Gordon Hendra made to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Stan Quaife. Their seven children were soon to be baptized and plans were to be made. Mrs. Quaife prepared a nice meal everyone enjoyed it very much; then came time for dessert, which happened to be home canned raspberries. Everyone dished up, including the young minister, but he then noticed one of the youngsters slowly stirring the fruit about in his dish. After a glance or two in his direction, the lad piped up and said, 'you have to watch out for the worms'. Mrs. Quaife could have disowned him right then and there. The following Sunday, the children were baptized, but in the midst of the service, Mr. Hendra whispered to Mrs. Quaife, 'which one told me the story about the worms? I'll give him an extra dunk.'
Mrs. Edith Roper, who had been the substitute organist for Mrs. Browne, took over as full-time organist in 1956.
The church served its congregation well over the years but it was evident that a new and larger church was needed. It was time for a new organ as well. The ladies raised the money for the organ while the men under Mr. Wilfred Cotton and Captain David Bloom, made plans for a new church. Mrs. Ada Browne, the retired organist was given the privilege of turning the first sod. Mr. Cotton gave, not only his time, but a new furnace, fittings for plumbing, and trees for landscaping. The wooden cross that stands atop the church, the pair of walnut offering plates and a large prayer book were donated in memory of Donovan Duke who died in 1955. They were given by his parents, his friends, and the Rev. George Major respectively. Audrey Cotton donated the wrought iron railings which flank the stairs at the entrance to the church. She designed them herself, with stars to match the star on the altar which represents the name, The Church of the Epiphany. Mrs. Cotton gave altar linens and many other articles.
The church basement was finished so it could be used for Sunday School and social gatherings and a piano was purchased by Mr. Spencer Muddle on behalf of the congregation. A short time later, Mr. Peter Chubb gave a generous cash donation and the mortgage was burned. On September 10, 1961, the new church was consecrated. The little old log church, now empty, was moved to Pas-Ka-Poo Park, where it stands today. Many people visit the park each year and admire its faded stained glass windows, and the natural beauty of the building itself. The church is still used for special services. Since then the congregation has continued to grow and in 1978 another sod turning ceremony took place, this time for a new rectory. A lovely cast iron and zinc bell was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Fred Zouboules. Graham Barbour built the belfry and installed the bell in October 1981. The bell was rung for the first time October 24, 1981, following the wedding of Nancy Zouboules and Brian LaBrecque.
The church is still very much alive, with an active Women's Auxiliary, Vestry, Sunday School, Ju-nior and Senior Choirs. Each year the Anglican men, with the help of the ladies, put on a grand community turkey supper. The ladies cater to many weddings and socials, and the Sunday School has its annual rummage sale.
Based on an excerpt from "Over the Years: A History of the Rimbey Area"
The First Church (erected in 1908) Anglican Church of the Epiphany " FIRSTS"
The original Church of the Epiphany
1st Minister
Rev. Arthur J. Patstone
1st Baptisms: May, 1908
Jessie Elizabeth Nelles
Robert Hamilton Nelles
1st Wedding: 1909
Harry Brownlow (Gull Lake) & Miss Caroline Damant
1st Women's Auxiliary
Mrs. Ben Rimbey
Mrs. Wates
Mrs. Richards
The Ministers
Rev. Arthur J. Patstone
1907 - 1910
Rev. George Major
Rev. T. W. Thompson
Rev. Gordon Hendra
Rev. T. Mitten
1911 - 1914
Rev. D. C. Anderson
Rev. R. Brandt 1914
Rev. Kenneth Collison
Rev. Jackson
Captain David Bloom
Rev. A. J. Hathaway
Rev. Keith Stokes
Rev. W. J. Hickin
Rev. Norcross
Rev. G. J. Fielder
Rev. A. Collier 1967-1969
Rev. T. H. Chapman 1929-1936 Rev. R. Ivany 1967-1969
Student Minister: Batchelor 1935 Rev. Leo Thurston 1970-0971
Rev. W. F. Herbert 1936-1939 Student Minister: Derek Hoskin 1971
Student Minister: L. T. H. Pearson 1936 Rev. David Brown 1972-1976
Rev. L. T. H. Pearson 1939-1940 Student Minister: Gordon Dixon 1972
Rev. L. W. C. Hudson 1940-1946 Student Minister: David Asher 1977
The Rev. Dr. F. H. Lee 1947-1952 Rev. James R. Hearne 1976-198?
Student Minister: C. A. McMullen 1953 Student Minister: Thomas Carmen 1978
MORE Anglican Church of the Epiphany " FIRSTS"
The Second Church erected in 1961
1st Confirmations: 1910
Performed by Bishop Pinkham
Grace May Everhart
Pearl Edith Everhart
Some of the Sunday School Teachers
Mrs. Ruth Mitchell
Mrs. Rose Duke
Miss Mary Mitchell
Mrs. Emma Cotton
Mr. Stan Quaife
Photos courtesy of local history book "Over the Years: A History of the Rimbey Area"



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