A Journey in Faith - the Story of the Squmish United Church

Part 2

Our Women Move Ahead

Members of the Ladies Alpha Unit

Members of the Ladies Alpha Unit were honoured at a luncheon in the garden of the N. Halvorson home in Brackendale. Seated, front row (left to right), are Mrs. D.D. Morrison, Mrs. G.S. Clarke and Mrs N. Hutchinson. Back row (left to right) are Mrs. A.L.A. Hankey, Mrs. E. Robertson, Mrs. T. Halvorson, Mrs. H. Buffrey, Mrs. E. Lamb, Mrs. E. Klontz, Mrs. A.R. Barr, Mrs. J. Knight, and Mrs. H.M. Wingfield.

The explosive changes of the post-war years had their effect on the membership of the Ladies Aid. In January of 1955, the name Ladies Aid was dropped, and the groups were renamed as members of the United Church Women's Association. Numbers had grown so rapidly that a new group of younger members was organized in November of 1955 in the shops area. It took the name of Jean Neil, one of the founding members in 1913.

During the latter part of 1956 and early 1957, the ladies raised money to complete the upstairs of the manse, providing the resident minister with a study and more bedroom space. In June of 1957, the Harmony Circle was formed in the downtown area, under the patronage of Mrs. A. O. McNeil, with Mrs. Ellen Harley as its first president. The original group of older ladies became the Alpha Circle. A Neighbourly Circle was formed on Hospital Hill, but loss of members led to its dissolution.

Members of the Harmony Unit

Members of the Harmony Unit (Anne Boscariol and Maureen Gilmour) preparing a gourmet invitational luncheon in aid of Brasilian refugees (March 1969)

Packing hampers for Community Christmas Care in 1983

Lynette Halvorson and others packing hampers for Community Christmas Care in 1983

Amateur Night in April of 1968

Colourful costumes from the world community during an "Amateur Night" in April of 1968 (featuring Shirley Halvorson, June Halvorson, Maureen Gilmour, Mary McCullough, Norma Wingfiled, Ellen Harley, Diane Rosebrough, Margaret Gibson, Evelyn Dawson and Anne Boscariol).

In March of 1961, the various groups joined the Vancouver-Burrard Presbytery. In December of that year, the United Church Women's Association became the "United Church Women", with each group designated as a "Unit". Mrs. Ellen Harley was the first president of the coordinating executive. This was the year in which Mrs. D. D. Morrison was presented with life membership, in recognition of twenty-five years of dedicated service to the work of the church.

When the Christian Education Centre had been constructed, the ladies offered to plan and equip the kitchen. This attractive room has become a centre of fellowship for the women of the church.

In September of 1975 a group of young mothers formed a new unit, named after Barbara Mackenzie, a tribute to the minister's wife.

United Church Women Life Memberships.

1961 - Kay Morrison; 1977 - Alison Barr- Lisabeth Halvorson; 1978 - Mae Stack- Elsie Robertson; 1979 - Freda Clarke- Ellen Harley; 1983 - Mildred Campbell- Shirley Pudney; 1986 - Vera Moule- Evelyn Smith; 1988 - Shirley Saugstad

"To unite all women of the congregation for the total mission of the Church, and to provide a medium through which they may express their loyalty and devotion to Jesus Christ in Christian Witness, Study, Fellowship and Service."

New Challenges and a New Manse

Burning the mortgage on the Christian Education Centre

Burning the mortgage on the Christian Education Centre, 1975. Rev. W. Mackenzie and Treasurer D. Rudy share a ceremony at the new manse.

The ready access to Vancouver changed the habits of Squamish churchgoers. Members of the community tended to become a multitude of weekenders, and church services were changed from evening to morning. With increased weekend activities in the community, Church School attendance diminished. This difficulty was successfully overcome by holding a midweek Church School, in addition to the traditional Sunday morning classes.

Rev. Norman Penrose, his wife and their three children (the youngest, a daughter, was the first child ever born to a resident minister in Squamish) moved to Port Colborne, Ontario, in 1964. He was succeeded by the Rev. and Mrs. Harold Wingfield and their three daughters. By this time the manse, which had been the pride and joy of the ladies in the 1930's, was sadly in need of repair. A new manse seemed out of the question, as the mortgage on the Christian Education Centre had yet to be repaid. However, God DOES move in mysterious ways. Mrs. Harold Kyle (formerly Eileen Walton) offered her home on East Depot Road at an exceptionally low price The congregation endorsed the sale of the original manse, with the proceeds to be used to purchase Mrs. Kyle's former home, and in June of 1966, the Rev. and Mrs. Wingfield moved into their new home. The ladies of the U.C.W. assumed the task of renovating and furnishing the new manse. And, as in the past, this has been a continuing obligation. Through their efforts, the home of the minister and his family was well furnished and kept in good condition.

With the arrival of the Rev. and Mrs. Wayne MacKenzie and their children, the congregation began a concentrated effort to repay the outstanding mortgage. The sale of some timber on the manse property brought in a sizeable contribution towards this effort, as well as providing a larger open area around the building. At a farewell luncheon on June 22nd, 1975, the Rev. MacKenzie joyfully burned the mortgage. After twelve years, the Christian Education Centre was free of debt!

With the departure of the MacKenzies for Revelstoke, the Rev. Jack Lindquist and his wife and two small sons came from 100 Mile House to serve the congregation of Squamish United Church.

Images of the many volunteers that the church depended on

Throughout the years, the work of the church has depended on countless volunteers. Pictures show clockwise (i) Alex McBride helping with logging work at the Manse (loads of timber helped to pay down the church debt), (ii) the church choir - already thriving in 1969 - joining with singers from St. John's to present the Christmas Cantata "The Celestial Visitor", under director Mrs. E.L. Kristianson, (iii) an equally flourishing junior choir in December of 1970, (iv) some of Grades 2-5 in the crowded Wednesday Evening Bible Class in March of 1972, and (v) a Sunday School pageant in October of 1970, with Kellie McIntosh as the Queen of Sheba, the Barr boys as the Three Wise Men, Wendy Halvorson as Miriam, and Kent Halvorson as Moses winning first prizes for their costumes.

Activities for Youth

The 1st Squamish Cub Pack

The 1st Squamish Cub Pack, with their leaders, Ted and Alma Hill, circa 1965

Making a donation to the Easter Seal campaign

The youngsters parrticipating in the Wednesday evening group are here seen making a donation to the Easter Seal campaign, money which they erarned by a Walkathon in September of 1972.

The policy of Squamish United Church has been to provide appropriate activities for young people throughout its history. Sunday School has been a traditional cornerstone of our church, but the church has also been involved in a variety of other groups. Beginning in 1921, Boy Scout and Cub packs were sponsored by the United Church, and they continued under its auspices until the Scout Movement became a community organization. However, the First Squamish Cub and Scout packs are still sponsored by the United Church.

Early in the 1950's, C.G.I.T. and Explorer groups attracted a large number of young girls. The organizer of the C.G.I.T. was Miss Eileen Ganong, who has appeared on church records as Mrs. Eileen Walton and more recently as Mrs. Eileen Kyle. When Girl Guides and Brownies became active, the two church groups were disbanded, as the community was not large enough to support both organizations.

T.I.C.'s (Tuned-in-Christians)

Early in the 1960's, Mr. and Mrs. Harry McCulloch organized a group of teenagers who called themselves T.I.C.'s (Tuned-in-Christians). These young people met regularly and became an active and dedicated force in the life of our church. (i) the group on a cross-country bus trip with leaders Harry and Mary McCulloch, and helper Terry Aldridge, in 1972, (ii) Robin MacKenzie, Susan Wingfield, Diane LaPointe, Karen Oldfield and Vandy Stubbs trying out one of the tents, (iii) the group are give a triumphal welcome as they return home.