Welcome to Knox Presbyterian Church in Red Deer, Alberta
We are governed by our Mission Statement: “We dedicate ourselves to love and support one another in Christian growth”; and by our Vision Statement: “Creating a Christ-like, Caring, Compassionate Community.”
We are a family oriented church with some young families and a larger senior population.
This sincere community of faith is not just focused on developing our relationship with God but also our relationship with each other. At Knox Church, members are personally known to each other and everyone is treated as a member of our Church family.
Our services are a blend of contemporary and traditional elements and are always enriched by our wonderful music program.
Knox Church History
The Presbyterian Church in the Red Deer area dates back to the time when a wagon trail opened up between Calgary and Edmonton in the 1870’s. The fording place that was chosen on the Red Deer River was the natural place for a settlement. However, there were “Saddle-Bag” preachers at that time and earlier who traveled from Edmonton south. The Reverend A.B. Baird was one of the first of these visiting preachers to hold services at the Red Deer River crossing, most likely conducting open-air services.
In 1887. Mr. A.E. Neilly was the first actual appointee to the Red Deer settlement, being sent out from Toronto by the Knox College Student Missionary Society. He organized a public school and taught the children free of charge. When Mr. Neilly left, the school was placed under the jurisdiction of the North-West Territories and the Reverend Leonard Gaetz, a Methodist minister and school teacher.
In 1891, another regularly appointed minister, the Reverend James Buchanan, came from Manitoba to serve the area from Innisfail to Red Deer. Reverend Buchanan lived in Innisfail and traveled throughout the area. By the time Reverend Buchanan arrived in the area, the wagon trail had been used for some years and a rail line had been built as far as Red Deer in 1890. The settlement had been relocated several miles from the crossing to its present site, and the village of Red Deer was incorporated that same year.
A succession of students followed and in 1893, G.D. Ireland served the outlying fields of Edwell, Essexvale and Hill End. In the village of Red Deer, services were held in the C.P.R. station, Burch’s Hall (located on the N.E. corner of Gaetz Avenue and Ross Street) and in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Piper. People came from miles around to attend services, travelling by foot, horseback and wagon.
A further succession of students and missionaries followed and the congregation continued to grow. The area began to be in a position to consider building a church of their own. During this time the first church Session was constituted on August 14th, 1898. Mr. Barber, a student minister, became the driving force behind inspiring people to launch a building project. Money and materials were gathered and a number of persons contributed free labour. The first Knox Church was located on 49th Avenue and 48th Street and a 20′ by 30′ brick veneer plastered inside and out for a total cost of $600. By the time the church was completed in July 1898, there was only a $60 debt outstanding. It was officially opened and dedicated on July 3rd, 1898 and the first service was held in August.
The first minister to serve in the new church was Reverend Allen Smith who was ordained at Knox on January 17th, 1899 and stayed until the fall of that year, during which time the Red Deer field became an ordained mission charge. The Reverend W.L. Atkinson arrived in the spring of 1900, having previously served in Innisfail. At this time the congregation started to build a Manse, located at 49th Avenue and 48th Street. Reverend Atkinson stayed until 1901 and then returned to eastern Canada due to his wife’s ill health. He was followed by the Reverend S.C. Forster who served until 1905. During this time, the congregation was growing so rapidly that the church building was already too small. By 1904, the church already needed an addition and continued to be renovated over the years with another major addition in 1915. Additions and renovations could not continue to be justified and plans were made in 1949 to build a new church. Finances dictated that the original site be sold and the church moved to its current site, which was donated.
Sufficient money was raised by 1954 to proceed with construction, and the new church was opened and dedicated at the Ross Street location the following year.
The Reverend W.R. Bell held the first service on February 13th, 1955. The basement was still unfinished, but under the direction of the Ladies of the Church, volunteers completed that within a year. Plans for an addition were approved in 1960 and the Christian Education wing was added in 1962, creating an office, Minister’s study, gym and Sunday School rooms.
In November 2006, with the support of the congregation an extensive renovation project was conducted that encompassed upgrading and necessary improvements.