After more than 90 years of serving the community, the First Baptist Church of Stettler closed its ministry with the final service Sunday.
“Attendance has dwindled over the past few years, with 35 to 40 people in Sunday services,” said Frank Craig, who chaired the board of the Baptist Church and has been member since 1999.
When the 250-seat church building on 41 Avenue opened with its first service on March 9, 1979, the congregation of about 200 people celebrated the growth of the church ministry.
It was officially established in April 1921 with 40 charter members, with Rev. Bowbrick as the first pastor.
During the latest transition, the final worshippers of the Baptist Church remain united.
“We will not stop our midweek Bible study,” said Bob Derval, who gave the farewell message.
He urged each person to remain faithful during the changing times.
“God opens one door when he closes another,” said Derval, who became active in the church in 1985.
“As we go through this time of transition, God’s hand is always with you. All things will work out.
“No one knows what this future holds.”
While the roots of the First Baptist Church were planted years before the church was chartered, the congregation has gathered in various places over the years, including the current building of Brennen Funeral Home, St. George’s Anglican Church, Knox Presbyterian Church and a location at 49 Avenue and 49 Street, before moving into its final home.
First Baptist Church of Stettler was known as a partner in ministry with other churches in Stettler.
“As various denominations established churches, the spirit of co-operation rather than competition among denominations is noteworthy,” former pastor George Warkentin wrote in a brief history.