Knox Presbyterian Church / History

History

History

The 30 member congregation of Knox Church met for the first time to worship on Monday evening, June 11,1883, in the general store of I.G. Baker & Company. The Rev. Angus Roberson, at the age of 26, a recent graduate of Knox College Toronto, conducted the service. he traveled by train from Winnipeg to the end of the rails at Dunmore Junction, east of Medicine Hat. There he purchased a team of horses and drove over 200 miles to Calgary.KnoxChurch1.jpg

Subsequent services were held in the hospital of the North West Mounted Police Barracks and later in a tent shared by the Methodist congregation. The first building, a small frame one, was built in the late summer at a cost of $1000.00.

In 1886 a new stone building was commenced, this being the first stone building in Calgary. The cornerstone was laid by Lady MacDonald, wife of Sir John A. MacDonald, Prime Minister of Canada. The third building, an addition to the second, was completed in June 1905, but was torn down the summer of 1913. The fourth church served the congregation until the Church Union Movement was brought to an issue on January 16, 1925, when by a small majority the congregation voted to enter the United Church. That part of the congregation that was unwilling to enter the United Church, were compelled to leave their church home (the present Knox United Church) and seek a place of worship elsewhere. This part of the congregation, now without a home, organized with Presbyterian groups from Hillhurst, Bankview and St. Paul’s under the name of Knox Presbyterian Church, this perpetuating the old name and the original congregation.

knoxchurch1From January 1925 to April 1928 the congregation met for worship first at the Palace Theatre and later at the Oddfellows Temple auditorium. The fifth building, which seated 300 persons, was situated on the northeast corner of 13th Avenue and 2nd Street S.W. was dedicated on April 7,1928.

In order to meet the challenges of the expanding city, the congregation voted unanimously to re-locate in southwest Calgary at 35th Avenue and 37th Street. The sixth building which seated 425 persons, was dedicated on May 29, 1960. It was a beautiful building shaped like a tent or a “tabernacle” of Old Testament frame. This was the building which was burned to its foundation on May 1, 1985. Knox’ s seventh and present building, seating 300 persons, was built on the same site and was dedicated October 4, 1987.

knoxchurch2As early as 1905 Knox has bee interested in helping new Canadians. It was the congregation of Knox Church that extended its resources to the underprivileged, the misunderstood, and even feared Chinese community in Calgary. This congregation both personally and corporately undertook the task of teaching English and the western lifestyle to the Chinese people of Calgary. In 1906, the Chinese Mission requested that they should come under the authority of the Knox Session. The practice of assisting new Canadians has continued throughout the years to include the Vietnamese Boat people and refugees from Central America and Sudan. During these early years, and up to the present time, Knox assisted in establishing several other Presbyterian congregations in the Calgary area.