St. Peter’s Lutheran Church to celebrate centennial

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Les Stulberg / Contributed

St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, which is in Scapa, will be celebrating its Centennial with a special service on August 13 at 1 p.m. A church picnic will follow. The event is open to all who would like to attend. Organizers hope many former pastors and anyone with family ties to the church will attend.

The historic church is located about 10 miles southeast of Endiang in a tranquil setting of rolling prairie hills. The uniqueness of the church’s history has warranted it being named a Provincial Historic Site. This building was a church that literally came to the people.

Originally built in the Wetaskiwin area in 1911, the church was located there for 10 years before being moved to its present location in 1921, where it has served the people and weathered the storms for the last 90 years.

The local congregation used school houses and people’s homes for a place of worship prior to learning the Wetaskiwin congregation had disbanded and the church there was sitting idle. In the winter of 1921, local men travelled to Wetaskiwin, where they removed the roof and steeple and cut the walls and fl oor into eight-foot sections. These pieces were loaded onto railway fl atcars and shipped by rail to Craigmyle. From there, the disassembled church was loaded onto horse-drawn sleighs and transported to the present site for reassembly in the early spring of 1921. The dedication service held on May 15, 1921 in the reassembled church.

The original services were conducted in German but as time went on, more people found English easier to understand, especially the younger members of the congregation. In 1937, services in English were also added.

In 1961, the German services were discontinued all together and all the services were conducted in English. Regular worship continued until 1978. Since then, a few special services are held each year and the church has found a growing popularity as a place for weddings.

The church yard has an adjoining cemetery, which still sees a few burials each year and is well maintained by dedicated volunteers.

Volunteers have kept the 100-year-old church in good condition. In 1994, the siding was restored to its original cedar and following that, new cedar shingles were installed in 2008. The church has been given a fresh coat of paint this summer to ready it for its centennial celebration.

In 1995, a bell, coincidently also from Wetaskiwin, was installed in the bell tower of the church.

St. Peter’s Lutheran Church has become somewhat of a tourist attraction and the guest book found in the entry way of the church contains signatures from all over the world.

If you are in the vicinity, it is well worth your time to check out this historic church with its proud and unique history.

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