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History of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church

by Elsie Jones

In 1925 there occurred a major event in Canadian Church history, the union of the Methodist Congregational and Presbyterian Churches to form the United Church of Canada. The Presbyterian Church as we know it consists of those congregations which did not enter union, along with others formed since then, St. Andrew of Kimberley, B.C. happens to be one of them.

The history of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church began when a group of dedicated Presbyterians in Kimberley formed a committee and wrote to the Presbyterian board of missions for help or assistance in forming their church; one of these members was Mr. C. P. Lane. In answer to their request a young baptist student, Waymon K. Roberts was appointed. He later became minister of First Baptist Church in Vancouver, B.C.

The organization of the Presbyterian Church began in the summer of 1926, holding services in the Oddfellows Hall. During the winter, the church carried on under lay services with assistance from the Rev. M. S. Blackburn then in Cranbrook. The summer of 1927 found another student, later Dr. Frank Morley of Grace Church, Calgary conducting the services.

The first permanent building was purchased in 1928 under the first ordained minister, Rev. E. A. Wright. This building which was the original Roman Catholic Church, served the community until 1949, was located on the corner of Wallinger Avenue and Howard Street. Throughout the thirties, a succession of ministers and students served the congregation; then in 1936, Mr. Byron Willis began a particularly fruitful ministry in which revived the Women's Missionary Group under the leadership of Mrs. R. Armour and Mrs. L. Colvin. His ministry lasted three years.

A significant step was achieved in 1941 under Mr. N. H. Vail, when the mortage was paid off. The early war years intensified the shortage of ministers, and the congregation united with the Cranbrook congregation to form a combined charge under the Rev. Thomas E. Roulston, who was inducted in 1941. Worship services were held during the evenings, with Sunday School classes being conducted by Mr. Dave Foubister in the mornings.

This arrangement remained until 1948 when the work of the two parishes necessitated separation. A new phase of the congregation opened in 1948 when Mr. Wm. E. Knox, Catechist, came from Ireland and ministered for nearly two years.

St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, 1978

A post war period brought urgent consideration of a new building rendered necessary by the failing condition of the old structure and the need for more modern quarters, at length, in 1949, the old property was sold, and the present site purchased on Boundry Street. The last service in the old building was held on Easter Sunday of that year, and for a period the congregation worshipped again in the Oddfellows Hall, later moving to the K. P. Hall, until 1953.

Mr. Knox left Kimberley in 1950 and the Rev. Douglas G. M. Herron arrived on his first mission charge in July, 1950. Construction of the new church began in 1949 and was carried on with many volunteers and contract labour. On February 8th, 1953, after four years without a church building, the first service in the sanctuary of the new St. Andrews Church was held, and on Sunday September 27, 1953 the church was officially dedicated with the Rev. Norman D. Kennedy of Regina, Sask. officiating.

Several fine gifts have aided in the furnishings of the building among these, were the gothic type lanterns from Wychwood Church in Toronto, the Communion table from Knox Church, Cranbrook; natural oak pews over 100 years old from St. Andrews Church, Levis Quebec; stained glass windows in the Chancel presented to the Glory of God in memory of Mr. and Mrs. R. Patience by the Patience family. Furnishings for the Memorial Hall presented by Mr. and Mrs. Waldie in memory of their son Robert who was raised in St. Andrews and died a missionary in China.

Many others have been added over the years. The bell in the church tower has a history of its own and originally hung in the First Presbyterian Church in Slocan City, B.C. As a boy, Mr. Cliff Swan had rung the bell for church services and other occasions many times and knew its quality. The original church was torn down and Mr. Swan was able to negotiate the purchase of the bell which he donated to the Kimberley Church. Every Sunday morning it can be heard ringing out over the city.

The Rev. E. McKinlay was the last of the ordained ministers to be sent to Kimberley through the financial assistance of the Board of Missions for during his ministry of five years, St. Andrews Presbyterian Church became a self supporting congregation. He arrived in Kimberley in the fall of 1956.

In 1961 the need for a manse arose, plans were drawn up and property purchased in Swan Sub division. In 1962, the manse was completed through volunteer labour by the various talents of the laymen and women of the congregation. During this period many in St. Andrews also contributed to volunteer labour to the Presbyterian Church Camp which had been purchased at Wasa Lake in the 1940's. In 1956,

Mr. Ben Short was sent to St. Andrews as summer supply until a call proceeded to the Rev. John Allison, whose ministry lasted seven years. During his ministry another great achievement was reached on January 21, 1967 with a special service held for the burning of the mortgage of both the Church and the Manse.

In 1962, the first young man, J. C. Martin of St. Andrews Church was to enter into the full time ministry and was ordained in St. Andrews in 1971. Following the ministry of Rev. J. Allison, was the Rev. Cal MacInnis whose ministry was for six years. The highlight of his ministry was the celebration of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church's 50th anniversary held on October 10, 1976; the guest speaker for the occasion was the Rev. Dr. Dellwyn Evans, Superintendent of Missions for the province of Saskatchewan. Also was the dedication of a new electric organ in memory of all who were musically involved in St. Andrews.

Following the ministry of Rev. Cal MacInnis, the congregation had to depend once more on its lay ministry until the Board of Missions sent Mr. Edward Millin as supply on September 25, 1977. Mr. Edward Millin became an ordained Presbyterian minister, October 15, 1978 in St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Kimberley, where he is still the minister. The Rev. Edward Millin, his wife and son live in the Presbyterian Manse up in Swan Sub division.

Ministers and Students
Waymon K. Roberts - 1926 (summer).
Frank Morley - 1927 (summer).
Rev. E. A. Wright - 1928-1929.
Rev. Thomas Oswald - 1930.
J. G. Stevenson - 1930-1931.
James Milroy - 1931 (summer).
James Coulter - 1931-1933.
George Hamilton - 1933 (summer).
James Cuddeford - 1933-1934.
Rev. A. Norman McMillan - 1934-1935.
J. C. McNeil - 1935.
Byron L. Willis - 1936-1939.
George H. Sproks - 1939 (summer).
Harold W. Grove - 1939-1940.
N. H. Vail - 1940-1941.
D. G. Seaton - 1945 (summer). Rev. Thomas E. Roulston combined) 1941-1948.
(Cranbrook-Kimb. W. E. Knox (Catechist) - 1948-1950.
Rev. D. G. Herron BA 1950-1955.
Ralph Kerchin - 1955 (summer).
Rev. E. McKinlay BA 1956-1961.
Ben Shart (student) - 1961 (summer).
Rev. John Allison BA 1962-1969.
Rev. Cal MacInnis 1970-1976.
Rev. Edward Millin - 1977.

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