Church Profile - Barrhead, Alberta

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We have shared a number of profiles of local congregations over the past few years. We do this to provide our readers with some insight regarding how God plants and builds His church, often from very humble beginnings. The Savior told His disciples and apostles 2000 years ago to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). The people of all nations are to hear the saving gospel of Jesus Christ.

One day, at the marriage supper of the Lamb, we will witness what the poet so aptly describes:
They come from the East and West,
They come from the South and North,
Let glad praises ring,
They dine with their King;
And they hear their Savior’s word.
They see and behold His face,
Ecstatic that they will be,
With all who sing and praise the Lord,
Throughout eternity!
They've battled the storms and gales,
They've struggled with thorns and pests,
They come from the hills,
They come from the vales,
To here where the soul has rest.
They’re coming in robes of white,
To welcome their Groom and King;
The One, who shed His blood for them,
And freed their souls from sin.

During the 1920’s and 1930’s, a general European emmigration saw many German families come to Canada. A few of them began homesteading in the region of Manola, Barrhead, and Highridge, in the province of Alberta. As these families settled into their new surroundings, they felt the desire to worship God together. Soon, church meetings were taking place in various homes.

In 1942 the Wagner family moved from Silvergrove, Saskatchewan to Manola. A farm was purchased, and Brother J. Wagner declared himself willing to serve the small congregation with the Word of God. Now that they had a shepherd for the flock, the church soon saw the need to build a sanctuary in Manola. Thus, a modest building was erected in 1943 and dedicated to God. Members from sister churches shared in the joy of the congregation on this special day.

In those days of mostly unpaved roads, it would take some families up to 1.5 hours to travel to the church after heavy rains. They had to get up very early on Sunday mornings, feed the livestock, milk the cows, and then prepare the horses for the drive to church.

For many years the church in Manola hosted week-long camp meetings, usually in the second week of July. Guest preachers from different locations in Canada and the USA came to preach the Word. The assembled congregation had the privilege to hear Brother Salamo Weissburger and later his son, both from Brazil. God blessed the Word, and over the years many people sought the Lord during the various services, receiving forgiveness of their sins and dedicating their lives to God. Baptism services took place at the Pembina River, close to Manola. This river is used by the Barrhead congregation for baptism to this day.

After some years, retired farmers began to sell their homesteads and move to the town of Barrhead. Others moved to Edmonton. As most of the families now had automobiles for transportation and the roads were gradually improving, it became easier to travel during inclement weather.

The time came when the old church building in Manola was sold and plans to build a new and better church in Barrhead were begun. A building lot was purchased in 1974, and on April 1 of that year the Kemp & Jeske construction company of Edmonton began the new building project. A number of people from the congregation joined in the labor while they also looked after their farm duties, and on Saturdays additional help arrived from the congregation in Edmonton. The new sanctuary was dedicated at a service in November 1974, to which Brother F. Krebs was invited as guest preacher. A parsonage was also erected adjacent to the church to house the Roesler family, who not only pastored the congregation at the time, but provided considerable help in the church building project.

Our Lord God blessed and sustained the Manola/Barrhead congregation throughout the years. Seventeen different pastor families served the church, first in Manola and later in Barrhead. Many of these pastors began their personal ministries in the Manola/Barrhead church. They served faithfully, boldly preaching the Word. Some of these brothers have gone on to their reward, some have retired, and others are serving the Lord in new locations. The following is a list of the pastors who served the church over the years: J. Wagner, G. Liske, J. Reimchen, D. Mantei, F. Henschel, E. Siebert, K. Krause, R. Roesler, G. Tonn, D. Kauenhowen, H. Ilgert, H. Klinger, G. Thiessen, H. D. Nimz, F. Friesen, and J. Reimer.

We can say with the prophet Samuel, “Thus far the Lord has helped us” (1 Samuel 7:12). Reassured by this prom- ise and holding fast to the Lord’s hand, we are confident that God will lead and protect us through the coming years. May the Lord give us the will to fulfill His work obediently, boldly, and joyfully.

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