What messages did parishioners of Westminster Memorial United Church hide in a time capsule not seen in 100 years?
What did they think was important to tell the world long after they’re gone?
“We find out on August 4 when, as part of the Church’s centennial service, the building’s cornerstone will be removed and opened,” said Kevin Sprong, the current minister of the church.
The morning will include a regular service, with a nod to the centennial of the building, Sprong said, explaining that parishioners have extended a welcome to all well wishers.
Invitations have gone out to former ministers and former parishioners no longer living in the area, he said. It has been confirmed that Rev. Frances Patterson and Rev. Yvonne Terry will be attending.
The cornerstone will be removed at the end of the service, he said. It is expected that coins as well as copies of the Kamsack Times are included in the cache.
“And we will be placing items from today into the time capsule which will be sealed for another length of time.”
As part of the centennial observance, a committee including Audrey Horkoff and Kim Romaniuk, has created a 24-page booklet containing photos of members of the congregation over the years.
Photos include a “Baby Band” which in 1946 was an opportunity for young mothers to share social time with others their age and their small children; a choir in 1958; Easter services in 1954; the sod-turning for the building’s extension; Sunday School events from a time when 40 to 50 kids attended Sunday School, and the “treasured” stained glass windows erected by the Woodward, Nyrerod, Knoff, Harper and Berkeley families.
“Their beauty continues to be a subject of conversation with folks that visit our Church,” the booklet said.
Information in the booklet said that the Church was officially opened on November 23, 1919. The estimated coast of $25,000 was to have been raised through donations, but because the goal was not reached, a mortgage had to be secured.
“This Church has served waves of settlers through two World Wars, the dust-bowl years of the early 30s, the cyclone of 1944, the prosperous years that followed, and so much more,” it said. “It has proven to be an asset to the community as the pioneers that built it had hoped it would be. This beautiful building and its congregations have provided many services to the town and ensured an abundant supply of dedicated and skilled volunteers for the Church and town functions and activities.”
Members of the Westminster Presbyterian Church of Kamsack had first met in a store on main street in Kamsack and eventually a building was erected that served the members until 1918 when it was lost to fire. It was then that the decision was made to construct a larger, permanent facility.
In 1919 the current building at the corner of Queen Elizabeth Boulevard and Hudson Bay Avenue was constructed and in 1925 the word “Memorial” was added out of respect for veterans of the First World War.
The booklet includes the names of 19 ministers who served the congregation, from James Morrison in 1910, to Kevin Sprong, who has been here since May 2015.
“Music has been an important aspect of our Church. We have been fortunate to have had so many talented choir directors,” it said. This includes Ida Eggenschwiler, Margaret Hunter, Mary Derwores, Pauline Zipchian and Susan Bear, the current director.
The booklet includes photos of members of the United Church Women’s organization which holds an annual fall supper as well as teas and bake sales with revenues going to various outreach programs as well as supporting the general fund.
At 11 a.m., following the service and the reveal of the time capsule, burgers will be barbecued and served on the street by the Kamsack air cadets, their parents and supporters, Sprong said.
Because the congregation is a co-sponsor of the Johnny Cash impersonator who will be performing at the Smoke on the Water event at Madge Lake on Saturday night, arrangements have been made to have “Johnny Cash” attend Sunday’s service, Sprong said.