St. Peter’s Lutheran Church steeple upgraded

Plans are underway to mark the 100th anniversary of the church at its present site in the summer of 2021

By Les Stulberg

Special to the Independent

Late this summer volunteers undertook a project to upgrade the condition of the steeple on St. Peter’s Lutheran Church at Scapa that would make the founders of the church proud.

The church, which was declared a provincial historic site, is located approximately nine miles southeast of Endiang.

Weather and time had taken their toll on the century-old historic church’s steeple. Its poor condition was causing rain to leak down the bell tower and into the front entry of the church.

The cross that was mounted atop the steeple was leaning southward from enduring many years of stormy weather and its mounting too had weathered and weakened.

The volunteer committee that maintains the church decided it was time to repair the steeple but with the height involved it would not be an easy task. A lift picker was brought in from Hanna to lift the steeple off the church and place it on a flat deck to be transported to the neighbouring farm shop of Donald Viste where the repair work took place.

Removing the steeple from the crown of the tower had its challenges as well as men had to work inside the extremely close quarters of the tower to free the steeple.

Once the steeple was removed, the crown of the tower was temporarily boarded shut to prevent rain damage. The sight of the church minus its steeple would have been an unusual view to travellers by.

The old tin was removed from the steeple only to reveal the shiplap boards the steeple was made of were in much deteriorated condition.

One side at a time, the boards were removed and replaced with plywood to give added strength to the structure. This reconstruction work was under the expertise of Brian Gutsche.

A Hanna firm was hired to clad the steeple with new metal. Once that was completed the steeple was lifted back to its original resting stop on top of the bell tower where volunteers once again gathered to secure it back into place.

The straightened cross was added to the top of the shiny steeple as the final touch.

Team organizer of the project Dean Viste stated, “Looking back at our pioneer congregation members that built the structure back in May 1921 off of constructed wooden scaffolds, roping the material up board by board to assemble, technology has come a long ways and we were happy to be able use a lift machine and a picker.

“It is the first time I ever remember the cross standing straight in the air,” added Viste.

Now, passers-by will see the efforts of these tireless volunteers gleaming in the sunlight atop the little country church with its unique history.

The steeple should be able to endure the harsh prairie weather for decades to come.

The generous spirit of these volunteers is reminiscent of the founding fathers of the church who gave of themselves to bring this historic church to the area in 1921.

Prior to securing the church the Lutherans of the area gathered in school houses and pioneers’ homes for worship. When they heard of a church available at Wetaskiwin whose congregation had disbanded they decided to relocate that church. The church had been built there in 1911.

Men of the area went to Wetaskiwin in the winter of 1921 and cut the church into eight-foot sections and shipped it by railway flat car to Craigmyle, the nearest railway station at the time.

From there, they brought the pieces by team and sleigh to its present site where it was reconstructed in less than six weeks. The foundation cornerstone was laid on April 5th, 1921 and the official dedication followed on May 15th.

Original services were conducted in German with English services added in 1937.

When the church was relocated it was minus its bell. The bell tower sat empty until 1996 when the original bell was located at Wetaskiwin. It was re-installed in the bell tower it had originally been in and a special dedication service took place in August in conjunction with the 75th anniversary celebrations.

Plans are underway to mark the 100th anniversary of the church at its present site in the summer of 2021.

The church committee feels the timing of the steeple repairs is fitting to have the quaint little church looking its best for the upcoming celebration.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Just Posted

Smooth start to Christ King Catholic School’s year in unprecendented times

Students and staff at Christ-King Catholic School continue to adapt to pandemic’s impact on learning

"We are looking seriously at the spread and determining what our next steps should be," says Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, as the daily number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb.
427 new COVID cases is highest in Alberta ever

Central zone has 126 active cases of COVID-19

Stettler’s Dakota Derr wins ‘Youth Citizen of the Year’

Derr has long demonstrated a passion for volunteering in the community

MH Enterprises set to help both employers and those hiring connect with each other

Services run the gamut from education about labour market trends to direct job placement services

Local emergency crews responded to an early morning fire on Oct. 20th in the Grandview area of Stettler. Two residences on Spruce Park Crescent were damaged in the blaze, which crews are still investigating. Mark Weber/Stettler Independent
PHOTO: Early morning blaze damages two homes in Stettler’s Grandview area

Officials were still on site by mid-morning and crews are investigating

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020.	Kenney is isolating at home after one of his ministers tested positive for COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Alberta premier tests negative for COVID-19 but will isolate for a week

Kenney said he will isolate until Oct. 29 and, in the meantime, work from home

JJ Collett Natural Area Foundation held its AGM on Oct. 19 at the Ponoka Legion. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
De-listing Alberta parks creates ‘risk’ for coal mining: CPAWS

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society speaks at JJ Collett AGM

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Temporary COVID-19 testing sites coming to Wetaskiwin and Ponoka

The Wetaskiwin location will open Oct. 23, 2020 and the Ponoka location will open Oct. 29.

ACC President and CEO Ken Kobly spoke to Ponoka Chamber of Commerce members over Zoom on Oct. 20. (Image: screenshot)
Alberta chambers are ‘411’ to members, government: ACC president

Changes to government supports, second wave and snap election

Smartphone showing various applications to social media services and Google. (Pixabay photo)
National media calling for level playing field with Google, Facebook

In Canada, Google and Facebook control 80 per cent of all online advertising revenues

RCMP. (Black Press File Photo)
Calgary man dies in two-vehicle collision near Sylvan Lake

A semi truck collided with a SUV just east of Hwy. 781 on Hwy 11.

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Most Read