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The Standard Church of America

The Standard Church of America, formed by Ralph Horner in 1916, traces its origins to Methodism. The Methodist concept of “Christian perfection”—also known as “sanctification” and “the second blessing”—stated that, through spiritual devotion and baptism, individuals could be saved by Jesus Christ. This concept formed the basis for the Holiness Movement in Canada, a movement that consisted of roughly 20 Protestant denominations, including the Standard Church of America, the Salvation Army, and the Church of Nazarene. In Canada, Holiness denominations started forming in the late 1800s but did not become allied until 1943 under the Canadian Holiness Federation. These Holiness denominations consist of fundamentalist churches that are highly evangelical in that they believe in the literal truth of the Bible and emphasize salvation through faith: they actively convert others to their faith.

Horner started his spiritual career as a Methodist preacher but, in 1897, he formed the Holiness Movement Church of Canada in Ontario. The church eventually split, and Horner left to form the Standard Church of America in Ontario. In 1916, the church was a grassroots movement, aimed at recruiting poor and less-educated Christians. The church's preaching style was highly emotional and based on evangelical principles. The Standard Church of America sought to convert individuals and communities through travelling revival meetings.

In 1935, a revival meeting was held by the Standard Church of America in the rural Black community of Campsie, Alberta. Many of Campsie’s residents were converted to the Standard Church, and a few began preaching across Alberta. Most notable among them was Andrew Risby, who went on to preach in Amber Valley before building the Standard Church of America in Calgary’s Inglewood neighbourhood in 1947. The Standard Church became a vital institution for Calgary's Black community and was a preferred venue for weddings and funerals. The church continues to operate at 1307 10 Avenue in southeast Calgary.

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