Rimbey United Church – celebrating 100 years in the district

In 1901 the brothers Sam, Ben and James Rimbey and their families arrived from Kansas in covered wagons. The Blindman Valley was to become their new home. The Rimbey brothers were the first settlers in the area, but soon other families began to arrive.

In 1901 the brothers Sam, Ben and James Rimbey and their families arrived from Kansas in covered wagons. The Blindman Valley was to become their new home. The Rimbey brothers were the first settlers in the area, but soon other families began to arrive. Within months a Sunday School was organized at the home of James Rimbey. The house soon became too small for the congregation, and the services, church and Sunday School were moved to the Ben Rimbey home where they continued until 1903, when the new school was made available for church purposes.

The Methodist Church sent William C. Cooper to be the circuit rider minister for this new mission field. He lived at Bentley and rode horseback to the different homes and gathering places in the area to hold services.

John Wright, who arrived in 1907, was the first resident minister. He inspired the people to build the first church. Construction began in 1908 and was completed in the fall of 1909 on land donated by James Rimbey. All the building was done by volunteers including Sinclair Mellis (who skidded logs with an ox). Logs were cut and hauled to the George Cummings sawmill west of Leedale to be planed.

As well as the new church in Rimbey, this Methodist mission field had preaching points at Lockhart, Potter Creek, Leedale, Springdale and Bluffton. In 1911 the first manse was built beside the church. Both faced onto Jasper Ave. In 1925 the Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational churches merged to form the United Church of Canada.

In 1948 the church was moved to its present location and placed on a full basement. It was redecorated and had extra rooms built. In 1950-51 a new manse was built on 54th Ave. In 1984 a larger church was built in front of and joining the old church. The cross at the front is from a native birch tree obtained from the Dave Adams farm. The foyer features a stained glass memorial window.

Now in 2008, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the church, a major renovation has taken place including the installation of an elevator, the enlargement and renovation of the kitchen and completion of a bright and flexible use sanctuary.

The public is invited to come and help us celebrate!

On Saturday, May 24 at 7 p.m. there will be a desert theatre – a melodrama entitled, The Devious Doings of Oozely Mudslime.

On Sunday, May 25 a worship and ribbon cutting will be held at 10:30 a.m. followed at 2 p.m. by an organ concert on the recently purchased digital keyboard by renowned musician Ray Lonsdale.

Call Alice at 843-6732 for more details.

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