A HISTORY OF ST. ALBERT UNITED CHURCH
“The Church on the Trail”: A history of St. Albert United Church
Written by David Geddes
Available at the Church Office
In 1954 the population of St. Albert was approximately 1,300 and the Catholic Parish Church served the spiritual needs of the community. Father Tardiff, the parish priest, suggested that the time had come for the Protestants of the area to organize and form their own church.
In 1953 a survey was conducted in St. Albert to determine how many Protestants lived here and on January 8, 1954, representatives of 11 denominations gathered at the Ball home to discuss formation of a new Protestant church. A few weeks later, 65 of these people met again and formed St. Albert United Church. This was truly a United Church dedicated to serve the needs of all Protestants in St. Albert.
The charter service of St. Albert United Church was held April 18, 1954 with 43 members joining by profession of faith, 29 by transfer, and 61 as Charter adherents.
The owners of the Club Mocombo, a local dance hall and catering establishment on the St. Albert Trail, offered their premises free of charge for worship services. Our first minister, Dr. Villette, semi-retired from Alberta College, was paid $15.00 for each service.
On January 14, 1954, a building fund was started and the first $404.96 was raised. Dr. Bill Cuts was the chairman of the building committee, and a professional fundraising group was called on to help raise funds for the first building. The estimated cost was $27,000. The sod turning took place April 29, 1956 and the building was built almost entirely by volunteer labour and completed in July 1957.
The first organ was donated by the Ronald Harvey family and Lois Hole was the first organist and choir director.
The pews were a gift from McDougall United Church in Edmonton. They were subsequently donated to Winterburn United Church, west of Edmonton.
In the early 1970’s the Sunday School with 316 students grew too large for our space in the basement and classes were transported by school bus to Sir Alexander MacKenzie for a few months. Later they moved to the Community Hall on Perron Street and then to Sir George Simpson School.
The first church building, now our Friendship Hall, served the needs of the congregation for 27 years and the last service was held in this facility on June 17, 1984.
Construction of the new sanctuary began in September 1983 and services began on June 17, 1984. The Dedication Service was held on October 4, 1984.