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Pentecostal Church

Our Treasured Heritage
A History of Coalhurst and District
Coalhurst Pentecostal Assembly
Written by Rev. H. Konrad

Information received from the "Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada - Alberta and N.W.T. Mackenzie District History Book "Rejoice'"- with permission Pages 66 - 68

In 1917, Mr. Simonette came and started a number of house meetings. They met in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Smith with Mr. and Mrs. John Holmes, Mrs. Wm Borrows, Mr. and Mrs. Nesbit, Mrs. Johnson and Lillian participating.

The assembly grew rapidly during the coal boom, and in 1920 they bought Ernie Pitt's one room butcher shop. After cleaning, papering with a plain blue paper, and furnishing benches, a pot bellied stove and table, they were ready to hold services in their newly acquired premises.

Sunday School was always a priority for the Assembly and they started having four classes, one class in each corner of the room.

Some of the Pastors who came to preach in the beginning were: John McAlister, Sam Fredrickson, Bill Manley and others.

The presence of God was manifested in those days with people getting to know Jesus as their personal Saviour and being filled with the Spirit with signs following.

About 1930 the assembly outgrew the butcher shop building and started to use the United Church with Pastor R. Martin McCallum pastoring. After Pastor McCallum left Pastor S. Fredrickson served the church under the guidance of Rev. George Bombay of Lethbridge - In 1937, under the leadership of Deaconess/Pastor Sister Beulah Hamilton and assistant Sunday School Superintendent (who later became the Sunday School Superintendent) Charlie Wesselman, the assembly purchased the United Church.

In 1940 the assembly took on its own governing body and looked after their own affairs under the leadership of Bill Dutton. In May 1941, Miss Edina Harding, a graduate of Bethel Bible Institute in Saskatoon, came to Pastor the Church. She was assisted by Elsie Abrahamson and May Crowell. In the year of 1943 a country house was purchased and then relocated on the lot beside the church and became the new parsonage. In August 1945, Edina Harding resigned.

Pastor J. Erhardt pastored from January 1946 until 1947. Pastor J. Robertson pastored until 1951. Rev. and Mrs. N. P. Pearce pastored the assembly from January 1951 to February 1952. In that month disaster struck, the church building was completely destroyed by fire. Although Rev. Peace resigned, he stayed until a replacement was found. They also started to rebuild the church building, which was completed at a later date, and is still in use at the present time.

In 1952 Rev. and Mrs. Charles D. Howey arrived and pastored until 1956. From 1956 until 1958 Pastor and Mrs. Labrentz pastored the church. In 1959, Lewis Varty came to pastor. Others who came were Rev. L. Broughton (who left after a short time for the mission field). Rev. M. Hambly and Rev. Ken Roset, who grew up in this assembly and went to Central Bible College in Saskatoon. After his graduation the assembly called him to be their pastor and he stayed till 1975. Following Rev. Ken Roset was Pastor A. Fitz who resigned after a year and was followed by K. Sumners who stayed about a year.

In October of 1978 Rev. H. Konrad came to pastor the church and is the present pastor.

Charles Wesselman gave strong leadership within the church and was the Sunday School Superintendent for over 30 years. Ted Roset became the next Sunday School Superintendent and gave strong leadership within that department for another 20 years.

Many honorable men and women have come and gone. The blessing and power of God was evident in their lives and ministry. The manifestation of God's power within the Assembly was evident through people getting to know Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour, filled with the Holy Spirit and other miraculous manifestations of God's presence.

Some of those who attended Bible school were Edwin Wiebe, Violet Wiebe, Ken Roset and Jack Moch.

Coalhurst Pentecostal Church by Rev. Norm Labrentz

The first Pentecostal meetings held in Coalhurst were conducted by Brother and Sister Simonette of Lethbridge. The date was 1917. Bro. Simonette was an engineer working out of Lethbridge. At this time, a Pentecostal Church was already functioning in Lethbridge. Bro. Simonette began to canvas the village of Coalhurst with little success, until he came to the Johnson residence. He found their young daughter desperately ill, dying with pneumonia. Bro. Simonette laid hands upon her fevered brow, prayed the prayer of faith and the girl was instantly healed. Upon seeing this Divine Miracle, Mother Johnson became the very first to accept Christ. From that day onward, the Johnson home became the meeting place for many cottage prayer meetings, where many were saved and filled with the Holy Spirit.

Little was recorded of those early days until January, 1937. The Coalhurst church was under a unique arrangement with the church of Lethbridge. Coalhurst had its own Pastor, but the Pastor at Lethbridge was the Chairman for Coalhurst also. In 1937, Pastor S. Fredricksen served under the Chairmanship of Bro. George Bombay of Lethbridge. The services were now being conducted in the local vacant United Church. Upon Bro. Fredericksen's leaving, Sister Beulah Hamilton was installed as Deaconess/Pastor in November, 1937. She was also Superintendent of the Sunday School and Charlie Wesselman was the Assistant Superintendent. That year, the congregation purchased and received transfer of the title to the property from the United Church of Canada to the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Sister Hamilton resigned in June, 1938, and Brother Good from Lethbridge supplied pulpit ministry every Sunday. In January, 1940, the chairmanship of the church was changed from Lethbridge to local leadership in Coalhurst. At that time, Brother Dutton was pastor, and Bro. Borrows was chairman. In February 1941, both offices were amalgamated into one under Bro. Dutton. Sister Harding filled this dual office from January 1942 until her resignation in May 1945. Bro. John Ehrhardt served as Pastor/Chairman from January, 1946 to September, 1947. Bro. James Robertson of Altemont, Man., came to pastor until January, 1951.

A Brother Peace was called and served until February 1952 when the old church building was destroyed by fire. Although Bro. Peace resigned, he was asked to remain as Pastor until a replacement could be found. Bro. D. N. Burtain, the District Superintendent, served as Chairman of the church, until Bro. Charles Howey arrived in June, 1952. He resigned this pastorate in May 1956, to take up the challenge to begin a pioneer church in Fairview. At various times, when the pulpit was vacant, Brethern from Lethbridge supplied this ministry to the Coalhurst church. Pastor Norman Labrentz served from November, 1956 until Dec. 31st, 1958. Mention must be made of Brother Charles Wesselman who faithfully served the church in various offices until the time of his home-going, Feb. 9th, 1957. His vision was largely responsible for maintaining the Sunday School buses and reaching the all-time record Sunday School attendance of 103 in April, 1957. Bro. Lewis Varty followed the Labrentz's as pastor, in January, 1959.

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Mary Tollestrup