St. Paul’s 150th Anniversary Service on June 18, 2016



SATURDAY, JUNE 18, 2016, 2:00pm

2016 marks the 150th anniversary of the coming of the Rev. James and Mrs. Mary Nisbet to the banks of the North Saskatchewan River to establish a mission to the Cree peoples of this region.  The Nisbets, along with others from the Old Kildonan Presbyterian Church founded by the descendants of the Red River Settlement (now Winnipeg), made an arduous 7 week cross country trek on Red River Carts pulled by oxen to finally arrive at kistahpinanihk (“sitting pretty place” in the Cree language) on July 26, 1866.  The site of their landing – a smaller advance party in canoes coming downriver from Fort Carlton, an initial stopover – is marked today near the foot of Central Avenue by a stone cairn and a model of a Red River Cart.

An Anglo-Metis former employee of the Hudson’s Bay Company, James Isbister, had been farming in the area since 1862 with a small settlement growing around him that was simply called Isbister’s Settlement.  Renaming his mission settlement “Prince Albert” and naming his worshiping community, “St. Paul’s”, Nisbet and his party set about erecting the necessary buildings to house them, to provide a place of worship, to begin farming for their own and the growing settlement’s sustenance, and to provide a school for local children. Almost immediately – and especially later when the teacher, Lucy Baker, arrived to join the mission – worship and education was extended outward to various First Nations communities in the wider district.  To this day, a special relationship exists between the Presbyterian Church in Prince Albert and across Canada with the Mistawasis First Nation, with a Presbyterian congregation still sustained there.

So 2016 is a very significant year, marking the 150th Anniversary of the founding of St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church, the City of Prince Albert, and the coming of Presbyterian worship, witness, and service to what is now the Province of Saskatchewan.

To mark this occasion, the present congregation of St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Prince Albert is holding a special Service on Saturday, June 18th, at 2:00pm, at St. Paul’s Church in downtown Prince Albert at the corner of 12th Street and 1st Avenue East.  This building, now the home of Prince Albert Baptist Church, was the fourth building erected and used by St. Paul’s in its long history, built and dedicated in 1906.  Currently St. Paul’s is worshiping in rented space elsewhere in Prince Albert, at 292 15th Avenue East.

The Baptist congregation has a great respect for the heritage and legacy of James and Mary Nisbet and their missionary party and has kindly opened its doors to St. Paul’s as a way of celebrating so significant a milestone while at the same time giving the Presbyterian congregation an opportunity to regather in its former building to say thank you and goodbye to a much-loved edifice that holds so many memories and which has been the site of so many formative experiences on each one’s spiritual journey.

The guest Minister for the Service will be the Rev. Angus McGillivray, a former Minister at St. Paul’s.  Joining him and his wife, Kathleen, as guest soloists at the Service will be Peter McGillivray, their son, a professional baritone classical and opera singer, and Judith Oatway, a professional soprano classical and opera singer and a direct descendant of the Selkirk Settlers who founded the Red River Settlement and the old Kildonan Church in Winnipeg.  The Organist and Pianist for the Service will be William Sgrazzutti, Organist for First Presbyterian Church, Regina.  The Choir Director for Messiah Lutheran Church in Prince Albert, Colleen Bowen, will coordinate a Mass Choir from local and province-wide congregations.  The Service will be led by the Rev. Ted Hicks, the current Interim Minister for St. Paul’s, and the Rev. Amanda Currie, of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Saskatoon, St. Paul’s Interim Moderator.

The invitation is extended far and wide to join in this significant celebration – to the people of Prince Albert, to Presbyterians throughout the province, to former members as a homecoming, and to well-wishers from the wider Christian family in PA and beyond.

Please watch this website for information as further plans are developed.

Comments are closed.