History of the First Twenty Five Years of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Grenfell
1882: The very first recorded church service held in Grenfell was in a farmhouse south of town, led by a Presbyterian minister pioneer farmer. Later, services were held in a CPR boxcar, and in the CPR station. In 1884 the Presbyterians built a church, the building across from the present United Church, and all denominations used it. In 1925 the Presbyterians joined the United Church and the building was used by the Oddfellows Lodge.
1990: A group of roughly 100 persons called the “Community of Concern”, holding firm to their spiritual beliefs, held their own church services in their homes, in the Ellis Hall, the Community Hall and old Masonic Hall, and attended services in other churches, meanwhile searching for a new church home for future spiritual guidance. The group finally decided to make contact with the Indian Head Presbyterian church where some members had attended and felt comfortable, with a view of amalgamating with them.
The Indian Head minister had come from Hamilton, Ontario and was an enthusiastic supporter of the Tiger Cats football team and other sports, and familiar with the name Harold Ballard, owner of Maple Leaf Gardens a well-known sports and news personality, who had died some time previously. So when she answered the phone, and a voice said, “This is Harold Baller in Grenfell speaking”, she nearly dropped to the floor in a faint. She thought she was talking to a ghost! Rev. Joanne Sloat then suggested that we get in touch with Bob Wilson, Secretary of Missions, and she became guest preacher in Grenfell.
There followed numerous visits by the members of the Presbyterian Synod who spoke on the basis of belief in the Presbyterian Church, by ordained speakers from Regina, Yorkton & in the Presbytery. We had workshops to study the little Green Book, and subjects on abortion, South Africa, nuclear weapons, human sexuality, among others. We were thoroughly “schooled” in Presbyterian theology.
On April 14, 1991, seventy-eight persons joined the Presbyterian Church in Canada at a service held in the Lutheran Church. Later more persons joined and we became part of a three-part charge of Indian Head, Qu’Appelle, and Grenfell.
On June 18, 1991, Trinity Presbyterian Church Grenfell was constituted, and we felt that we were on the threshold of a new era in our spiritual lives. Faith in our spiritual beliefs had brought us to this point and held us together in a strong feeling of Christian fellowship and a closeness which continues to this day. We needed a building for our services, so a lot was secured. In 1994 the sod was turned by the oldest member of the congregation Dorothy Hobson, and the youngest Tim Welch. The plan chosen for the building was for a one story, ground level, functional building with a heated floor. Construction began.
We were able to secure from the first Presbyterian Church, one of the original stained glass windows, and installed it in the north wall of the Social Hall with a light behind it. Enough pieces of stained glass from other windows were collected to be built into the half circle above the door into the sanctuary.
Gifts for the furnishings came from our own members and friends. Everything on this platform, and the piano, the pulpit furniture, pulpit bible, collection plates, communion set, and adornments, as well as furniture in the office, the meeting room, the nursery, the vestibule, and the Record book, and Sunday School rooms was donated. Churches in Regina and Saskatoon sent choir gowns, kitchen dishes and equipment. Hamilton church sent $10,000.00!
In 1995, a time capsule was placed in the cornerstone and an impressive service for the laying of the cornerstone was conducted by the Clerk of Presbytery of Assiniboia, Rev. Doug Maxwell. In 1997, we moved from metal chairs to the cushioned pews. In 2000, our record books were taken to Toronto and placed on microfiche. During this time all maintenance work, inside and outside the building was done by volunteers.
In 1999, one of the high points of this year was the burning of the Royal Bank note which had financed the building of the church. In this unique ceremony, the congregation filed out of the sanctuary to the entrance way in two rows, where there stood a large metal urn with a flame in the bottom. Each person dropped into the flame a small piece of the mortgage paper.
2001: Our 10th anniversary was celebrated by the burning of the Royal Bank mortgage conducted in the same manner as the burning of the Bank Note. Now our church was paid for! In ten years we had paid for our church building!
It had been the custom to hold one service in July in the outdoors at Round Lake. In 2003, a combined service with eight churches was held.
2004: The 3 point charge was dissolved and now we stood alone.
2005: An overhead projector and screen was installed at the front of the church. We also now have a good sound system, the latest in technical equipment, laptop computers, digital projector and software package. Memorial rolls listing deceased congregation members was framed and hung in the sanctuary.
2014: Trinity celebrated the 20th anniversary of the church building in a 2 day event with a sunrise worship service, potluck breakfast, free soup and sandwich lunch for the community. In the afternoon a clown entertained, followed by a roast beef dinner and family movie. On Sunday morning we worshipped and enjoyed more cake and fellowship.
The Sunday School, until this year, has been an important part of Trinity. This active group has sponsored a foster child in Uganda, Brazil, and the Philippines, besides joining in Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving special church services, and the Memorial Service by hanging a photo of a deceased family member on a tree. Vacation School has been held yearly with as many as forty children enrolled. The Sunday School has always presented a Christmas pageant often combined with the choir or senior members.
The ladies, bless then, immediately organized themselves into what became Trinity Presbyterian Women. Ladies from Swift Current, Yorkton, Qu’Appelle and Regina attended for the Affiliation to the Women’s Missionary Society. We visited Presbyterian meetings in Regina, Briercrest, and Moose Jaw.
Presbyterians love to combine food and fellowship, and our ladies well known for their culinary talents have served pot luck meals and snacks for every event, lunches for special events – birthdays, anniversaries, and funerals. They have the unique distinction of serving toast at after church coffee hour. One dignitary from Toronto came back several times for devilled eggs.
They have shared in all church functions including community events – Prayer for Christian Unity, World Day of Prayer, lunch for the Music Festivals, delivered Meals on Wheels, hosted at the Grenfell Museum, as well as made quilts, held teas, bake sales, garage sales, collected stamps, sent pails of cookies to Camp Christopher, and Christmas shoe boxes to needy children.
They hosted the evening meal and helped with breakfast for seventy-five cyclists in “Wheels around the World” who were riding across Canada for the benefit of the International Bible Society. We found one man from this group wandering about town looking for a pay telephone. He was a veterinarian from New Zealand who wanted to call his family. We took him to our house where he made the call with his telephone card. Another asked me to mail his postcard to an address in Scotland.
The ladies and men have worked closely together on boards, committees, and all church activities.
Music has been central in Trinity. The choir has led music in church services, and participated in community events. Some hilarious programs have been staged with skits like “Who’s on first”, “Grandma’s lye soap”, and St. Patrick’s Day program with “who put the overalls in Mrs. Murphy’s Chowder”, which had the children rolling off their chairs with laughter!
Korean mission students came with their music and culture – costumes, dresses, dance, food and Tae Kwon Do. Who can forget their performance on the Canada Day float, or the impersonation of Elvis Presley at the Community Hall!!
A very popular event was the Drive Through Nativity in which five churches took part in an after dark candle lit scenes from the story. Trinity’s part was to supply the inn and live characters as the innkeeper, and Mary and Joseph. The fun part was bringing in the sheep and live donkey. Cars lined up to #47 highway.
And so we have moved on – for 25 years. In October 2009 our membership was 139. Many older members have passed away, and younger members have moved away. We still have our choir, ladies’ group, committees and church members willing to take on the responsibility of caring for and running the church. We are thankful for their dedication.
2015: On the 25th anniversary, a history of Trinity prepared by the History Committee was given by Marion Baller during the worship service. There followed strawberries, cake and ice cream.
We live in a world of change. We have experienced many changes, and we have learned that changes can be made without losing the faith. Hold firm to the faith. God bless you.
Prepared by the History Committee: Marion Baller, Kay Sotkowy, Velma Cole, Wendy Urschel, and past member Tillie Schlamp.