The Moose Jaw Zion United Church resides in a historic building on main street. The beautiful architecture has graced the city of Moose Jaw over 100+ years. Please see below for a more detailed history of the building we cherish today.
THE DECADES OF ZION
THE 1880’S: BEGINNINGS
In the early months of 1883 the first Methodist services in Moose Jaw were held in the waiting room of the CPR Depot. By April of 1883 the newly formed congregation had erected its first church building in the zero block of Fairford St. W. In 1884 the second Methodist Church was built on the corner of High Street and First Ave. E. and became known in the community as “The Little White Church”.
THE 1890’S: FIRST PERIOD OF EXTENSION
In 1890 the Methodist Conference acted to divide the Moose Jaw Mission into two sections: 1) Moose Jaw, Boharm, Carmel and Pioneer (Wesley); 2) Pasqua and Caron. The Methodist congregation of Moose Jaw continued to grow and by 1895 the Moose Jaw Mission had become self-supporting.
THE 1900’S: GROWTH AND BUILDING
The late 1890’s and early 1900’s were years of phenomenal growth. To meet the needs of a growing congregation the third church building was erected on the site of the second church at 1st Ave. E. and High Street (now the home of St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church) and then in 1906 work began on the present church building on Main Street North. Patterned after Zion Methodist Church in Winnipeg the present church building was completed in 1907 and given the same “Zion Methodist Church”. By the 25th Anniversary in 1908 a full congregational life was established in Zion and the church was the centre of many community activities.
THE 1920’S: CHURCH UNION
The most significant event in Zion’s life during the 1920’s came on June 10 1925 when Zion gladly entered the union of Presbyterian, Congregationalist, Methodist and the General Council of Local Union Churches in Canada to form the United Church of Canada. Since 1925 Zion has born the same “Zion United Church”.
THE 1930’S: DEPRESSION AND CELEBRATION
Because of the depression of the 1930’s and drought on the prairies these were difficult years in Zion’s history however the church was maintained and continued to serve through the faith and labour of the congregation. In 1933, at the height of the depression, Zion paused for the happy celebration of her 50th Anniversary.
THE 1940’S: THE WAR YEARS
Again, as in 1914-1918, Zion knew the days of war and the loss of her sons and daughters. But again through the faith and labour of the congregation the church remained strong and again there were times of celebration. The 50th Anniversary of the Ladies’ Aid was celebrated in 1942 and the 60th Anniversary of the congregation was celebrated in 1943.
THE 1950’S: YEARS OF VITALITY
Following the war years and throughout the decade of the ‘50’s Zion flourished with a new vitality. To meet the needs of the congregation and growing numbers of the young the present Christian Education Building was added to provide more Sunday School space, a new Church Library, a Ladies Parlour, and Auditorium and new Church Offices. The cornerstone of the C.E. Building was laid in 1956 and the dedication was held in April of 1958.
THE 1960’S: YEARS OF CHANGE
As with the whole of society and the church as a whole these were years of change for Zion. With shifts in population to the outer areas of the city Zion sought new ways to minister in a downtown situation and to an aging congregation. By the end of the decade concerns were being raised about Zion’s future. A very significant change came in the 1960’s and early 70’s with the establishment of a Church Council with Divisions to replace the Session and Committee of Stewards.
THE 1970’S: CELEBRATION AND CRISIS
The decade began with two great celebrations in the life of Zion – the 90th Anniversary of the Congregation in 1973 and the 50th Anniversary of the United Church of Canada in 1975. However it was soon after that structural defects were discovered in the main church building which demanded that the congregation vacate the building. After much soul-searching, consideration and prayer the decision was made to restore the building and with much support and labour and faith the project was completed. In addition to the structural renovations, the sanctuary was re-decorated and an elevator installed. The restoration of the 1970’s has assured the future of our historic building in this city and was a statement of faith in the future of our congregation.
THE 1980’S: 100TH ANNIVERSARY
By the grace of God we happily see the continuation of a vital congregational life in Zion. And when a history is written in 2083 this decade may well be remembered as the decade of the 100th Anniversary! Celebrations included a presentation of slides featuring moments in Zion’s history and gifts and souvenirs were on sale throughout the weekend.
THE 1990’S: ORGAN RESTORATION
Again many changes took place. The organ was in need of restoration. Fund raising took place, and in 1993 the organ console was replaced at a cost of over $75,000.00