On July 15, the final Sunday service of worship and celebration was held at Hyas Baptist Church, culminating ministry in this area for over 100 years.
It was early in the 1900’s that recent immigrants from the Ukraine and Russia settled and desired to gather together for worship. They were Christians who experienced persecution in their homelands and were making a fresh start in Canada where they could practice their faith freely.
After meeting in homes for several years, in 1924 the believers recognized the need for a church building. With only $200, many donated materials and countless hours of volunteer labour, land was purchased and a building took shape. Services began in 1926 with about 30 people attending.
Through the years, the church grew and that growth necessitated many additions and subsequent renovations. The present church structure dates back to the 70s. It has been well maintained and continues to be a pleasing presence in the town.
Church members decided in April that they were not in a position to continue ministry due to declining attendance and varying congregational needs.
The final service on July 15 took place with mixed emotions and memories awakened. It was attended by many who had been raised in the church and who returned to say farewell. Previous pastors and leaders came from places near and far. It was a wonderful reunion in many ways.
Rev. Mark Doerksen, of Canadian Baptists of Western Canada presided over the service, which included a historical video, greetings from the Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Conference of Western Canada and church ministries from the area and beyond, along with wonderful singing and prayer.
It was acknowledged throughout that the church is not a physical space but rather God’s people who love and serve Him wherever they are.
In that light, we are sure that the ministry of Hyas Baptist Church will continue to be fruitful.
“Not to us O Lord, not to us but to Your Name be the glory because of Your love and faithfulness” (Psalm 115:1.)