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Alberta Online Encyclopedia

No. 174: Church of the Nazarene in High River

Ce texte a été publié en anglais et n'est pas disponible en français.

The congregation of the Church of the Nazarene in High River had to wait several years before they could build a church to hold services.

And as historian Dorothy Field explains, their origins date back to the early 1870s.

There had been Methodist missionaries in the area since the 1870s. George McDougall, an important figure in Alberta history, had founded a mission at Morley in 1875, and had also been ministering in Fort McLeod, so he would have passed through the area.

We do know that there was an itinerate Methodist Minister who held services at the Crossing, as High River was then known, every other Friday.

And by 1886, there was a formally organized congregation.

It was 1902 when the Church of the Nazarene was finally built.

And its quite an unusual church, especially the shape. It's shaped like an octagon. If you looked at it from above, it would be shaped like an octagon.

Well, it's a wood frame building. It had originally a bell tower in the centre of the roof, which has been replaced with a steeple. And, like many buildings from the era, it was moved at one point. After 1925, when the Presbyterian Congregationalist and Methodist Churches joined together to make the United Church of Canada, it was moved to another location which was more convenient.

One of the ministers was quite fascinated with new technology. So he decided to replace the choir with a gramophone.

So the salesman who had come to deliver this machine made the mistake of letting some of the local cowboys know at the local watering hole, and they decided to play a little joke. And on Sunday, when the minister was going to first implement the new plan, what should come out of the speaker but, "Just because she made them Goo Goo Eyes," which was not exactly what he was expecting. Apparently he thought he was going to play "Nearer my God to Thee."

So the gramophone was packed-up and the choir at the Church of the Nazarene was reinstated.

On the Heritage Trail,

I'm Cheryl Croucher.

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