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After 151 years of faithful service within Prince Albert, the congregation of St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church will hold its final Service on June 25, 2017.

After several recent setbacks and given the general decline within the mainline churches in our times, the Presbytery of Northern Saskatchewan passed a motion to dissolve the congregation as of June 30, 2017.  Over the past three and a half years – since structural damage forced the congregation out of its iconic building downtown – the congregation has been exploring various options to continue.  Reluctantly, the point came when it was evident that there was no longer sufficient resources and energy to continue.

The people of St. Paul’s will say goodbye with a mixture of feelings: pride in its central role in the founding and development of the City of Prince Albert; disappointment and grief at its decline and closing; and gratitude to God for God’s faithfulness throughout the generations.

That faith will outlive the congregation and may lead to resurrection: to the reestablishment of a new ministry and mission in Prince Albert in the future. Right now, though, the task before the remaining congregational members is to support one another through so dramatic and traumatic a time.

More details of the plans for closure will be announced as they are formulated. In the meantime, the congregation continues to worship faithfully each Sunday morning at 11am at 292 15th Avenue East under the leadership of its Interim Minister, the Rev. Ted Hicks.  The doors are still open and visitors and well-wishers are always welcome.



This fall, St. Paul’s Interim Minister, the Rev. Ted Hicks, will offer a special Sunday Morning Sermon Series.  As St. Paul’s faces some critical decisions about its future, he will explore some of the crucial transitions the congregation is going through in becoming “A New Way of Being Church in Changing Times”. What St. Paul’s is facing so specifically and dramatically is really a symptom of what the whole church in the developed world is facing as the society in which the church offers its presence and witness changes so rapidly – from the Age of Christendom to Post-Christendom.  Each week, Rev. Hicks will look at one particular transition.  Initially, 3 sermons are planned for the series running from Sunday, Oct. 16 thru to Sunday, Oct. 30, in order: the transitions From Convention to Conviction, From Congregation to Mission, and From Hierarchical to Mutual Ministry.  And maybe more, as he gets warmed up!  Join us for a stimulating, challenging, and relevant series of reflections of God’s call on the Church of Christ in our times.  Each Service is held at 292 15th Avenue East in Prince Albert at 11::00 am.  Visitors are most welcome and especially invited.



Today is an occasion of mixed emotions for many of us.  It is a time of heady celebration, to mark so significant a milestone for this congregation, this city, and the Presbyterian Church in this province.  It is a time of warmth and gratitude, as we reconnect with family members and old friends who have come from a distance to be here.  But, especially for long-time members of St. Paul’s and maybe some of our sisters and brothers from Presbytery and Synod, it is also bittersweet as we say goodbye to this building – so beautiful, so intrinsic to this city and, more importantly, to our lives.

And, in saying goodbye to the building, we are also saying goodbye, in a manner of speaking, to a way of being church, because the letting go of this building is just one step in a longer journey of letting go of the way church used to be in an earlier generation.

To help us process so hard a journey – from a grand old building to temporary rented space; from a thriving congregation to a marginal group wondering if we can carry on – I asked our people to write down their memories from the past and their imaginings for the future.  I won’t relate everything they shared but let me offer a few examples and observations.

First of all, REMEMBERING.

Many people wrote of the building itself: the windows, the organ, the steeple, the bells, the portraits, the furnishings ….  Others wrote of people: ministers and musicians and SS teachers and friends …. Almost all wrote of experiences: weddings and funerals and baptisms – all those milestone moments that leave indelible markings on our lives; and other very individual experiences of a life lived out within the shelter of these walls.  Many wrote of the impact of the congregation out into the community through our mission to send kids to camp….  It was amazing how many people wrote about bats!  Overall, people spoke of the way their life in this congregation and in this building had become so intrinsic to who they are now that it is hard to think of themselves in any other way.

When people turned to IMAGINING, they found it harder.  Harder because it is hard to let go of what is familiar and meaningful; and hard to conjure up what has not been actually seen yet.

There was a tendency to imagine traces in the future of what was familiar in the past, quite understandably I think.  There were general references to carrying on, staying strong, sticking together, caring for one another, finding a new home more modest and suitable for now, keeping our mission to the kids going and maintaining the mission spirit that brought the Nisbet party here in the first place….  To be honest, there was some skepticism about whether there was a future to imagine; yet that was balanced by a resolute determination to face the future with faith, knowing that this is God’s work not ours; and that, whether we recognize it or not, the Spirit is planting in our imaginations pictures of what God is already preparing for us in the next stage of our life together.

Perhaps three key themes emerged out of this exercise and are the raw material to form our imaginations and build our future: vibrant worship; deep caring for one another; and courageous outreach into our community – all of that being part of a wellspring of spiritual renewal that is our true hope of carrying on.

Well, letting go and moving forward does not happen all at once or at the same pace for everybody.  But remembering and imagining helps; being here today helps – as hard as it is for some of you, I know; sharing our stories and our feelings with one another helps; focussing on now and our day to day faithfulness in the little things that count helps; prayer most certainly helps…. Thank you – especially to the St. Paul’s folk – for your courage in coming here today and allowing God’s Spirit to help you in the process of saying goodbye to what was and hello to what is coming.

Fittingly, I think, I will let our namesake, St. Paul, have the final word, as he wrote in his letter to the Philippians:

“One thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”



JUNE 18, 2016




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.


Summer camp can have a strong and lasting impact on the life of a child. At camp kids make new friends, develop lasting relationships, learn new and positive things about themselves, and enjoy the beauty and challenges of the outdoors. It has been our experience that when we are able to send a child to camp, who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity, everyone wins: the child, his or her family, the school, and the camp all benefit. Summer camp gives a child a sense of accomplishment, it shapes their self-esteem, and it is one of the first places they experience both freedom and a strong sense of community.

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Approximately 20 years ago, St. Paul’s congregation began sending kids from our congregation to camp. In 2006, Sandy Scott and his wife Elizabeth ran a marathon, with folks sponsoring them for a total of $3100 enabling us to partner with Riverside School and send 19 kids to camp. The marathon, along with other fundraising events and sponsorship, including a matching dollar for dollar sponsorship from Malcolm Jenkins, has continued and grown every year, raising the bar in our fundraising efforts and sending more kids to camp; we added Westview and King George schools to our partnership along the way; however, because of other commitments, Westview was no longer able to partner with us.
A few years ago, we formed the TRI to Send Kids to Camp Committee which is a partnership between St. Paul’s Church, Riverside and King George Schools; Mona Markwart, principal and Kim Jones, Vice-Principal, of Riverside and Sterling Swain, Principal of King George and others have been excellent to partner and work with. This fall, Berezowski School and PACI have also joined in our fundraising efforts.
Along with paying the camp registration fee; transportation to and from camp is also provided for the children; as well, every child receives a camp kit consisting of such things as soap, wash cloth, towel, bug spray, sunscreen, etc.
4 years ago, a cultural camp was added to our program, in which every student from grade 1 to grade 8 from our partnering schools – Riverside and King George, spends a day at the camp experiencing cultural events.
In the summer of 2015, we were able to send over 100 kids to summer camp.

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Grants and sponsorships come from several local businesses and organizations:

SIGA (Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority)
Northern Lights Casino
Optimist Club, Prince Albert
Kinsmen Club of Prince Albert
Scotia Bank
Individual donations

Link to TRI 4 KIDS Webpage:



“Change of one sort or another is the essence of life, so there will always be the loneliness and insecurity that come with change. When we refuse to accept that loneliness and insecurity are part of life, when we refuse to accept that they are the price of change, we close the door on many possibilities for ourselves; our lives become lessened…. Life evolves; change is constant.”
Jean Vanier, from “Becoming Human”
Dear Friends

We do not welcome change readily or accept change easily but, as Vanier asserts, “Change … is the essence of life … change is constant.” In the case of St. Paul’s, sudden and traumatic change has come unbidden. We can and will resist it; that is quite understandable. We will experience the loneliness and insecurity Vanier mentions, as well as all the other very personal and individual feelings and reactions it provokes in us; that is inevitable. To deny our feelings and reactions or to try to talk each other out of them only blocks the path to healing and delays the freedom we need to move on.
Allow me to offer a perspective on embracing change that I have found both wise and liberating. It is to distinguish expectations from expectancy.
With expectations, we are essentially dictating what we want the outcome to be. As the People of God, we are putting demands on God that we want and expect this to happen or that. When circumstances don’t turn out that way, we are disillusioned. We may get angry with God for not caring or hearing our prayers and giving us what we want. We might even turn away from God in our disappointment. The energy generated by expectations is aggressive and inflexible. In a group, it creates personal agendas and factions, as one set of expectations clashes with another. And maybe saddest of all, it prevents us from seeing the gift God is actually offering us – we block possibility-thinking, as Vanier suggests.
That’s where expectancy enters in. Expectancy is open and hospitable to possibilities beyond our preferences and imagining. It assumes God is good and loving and wants the best for us. We are not sure what God’s intention for us might be but we live with a lightness and freedom that knows something will be given just at the right time that is exactly what we need and that it will come with an element of delight and surprise – a true gift. Expectancy changes the energy within us and within the group: there is an air of anticipation, even playfulness, as we await the discovery and the unwrapping of the gift God has very specially chosen just for us.
In this time of transition for St. Paul’s – another word for change – I encourage us all to set expectations aside and to foster an air of expectancy among us. Yes, daydream and brainstorm – the more ideas we can generate about the “new St. Paul’s” the better, as such wild imagining helps us be more attuned to God’s ever wilder imagination. But let us not get too attached to any particular possibility until it is suddenly clear to us all what God has in readiness for us.
I also encourage you to talk to me and to one another about the feelings and reactions that are stirring within you and creating expectations. One of the best ways to dissipate the negative energy of those feelings and expectations is to notice them and name them. They lose their power over us when we do.
In the meantime, let us continue to be the church with renewed dedication and faithfulness – gathering for worship, supporting and caring for one another, grounding ourselves in scripture and prayer, reaching out to our neighbours in love, and attending to our call to build up in PA and beyond God’s Kingdom of justice and peace.
Something new is afoot for St. Paul’s – I wonder what it will turn out to be?
And now to God who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to God be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations,
forever and ever. Amen (St. Paul, Ephesians 3:20-21)

In Christ’s Service,

St. Pauls Interim Minister


Ted was born and raised on the West Coast and Vancouver Island. After starting his university education in BC, he moved east to Toronto to pursue a career in theatre and to complete his education there. The currents of the 60’s led him on a spiritual search that culminated in a commitment to Christ in 1972, after which he enrolled in Knox College, Toronto, to study for ministry in the Presbyterian Church in Canada. As a student and a new Minister, he served congregations in Ontario before being called to a congregation in Winnipeg. During his time in the Winnipeg area, he served several congregations and missions, including ecumenical work with the Indian Family Centre, a street-front ministry of the Christian Reformed Church, and with a rural United Church Pastoral Charge. His experience with Interim Ministry led him to Saskatchewan for the first time, to First Presbyterian Church, Regina, in the mid-90’s.

Ted Hicks 2012

Ted left congregational ministry in the late 90’s for further education and formation.  During this period, he studied and volunteered with the Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC, an independent, ecumenical congregation that is pioneering new approaches to the formation of the laity for outreach in troubled communities.  He also trained as a Spiritual Director and as a Centering Prayer teacher and group facilitator.  This further training led him to work as a Spiritual Care Specialist in the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg.  In 2007, Ted answered a Call to the Comox Valley Presbyterian Church on Vancouver Island, where he served until he retired in 2011.  In his retirement, Ted has maintained a private Spiritual Direction practice, taught Centering Prayer and led meditation groups, led workshops and retreats, wrote a column for a community newspaper, and provided pastoral services as a Supply Minister and Hospital Chaplain in the Comox Valley area.  Now Ted has returned to Saskatchewan as a full-time Interim Minister for St. Paul’s here in Prince Albert, going through a difficult transition in its long and storied life as a congregation.  The initial appointment is for one year, with the possibility of extensions up to three years.

Ted is married to Tamsen (Tammy) Matheson, a descendent of the Selkirk Settlers in Manitoba.  Tammy continues her own job as a Career Advisor in the Comox Valley and they travel back and forth frequently to be together as often as they can.  Together, they have 4 adult children who, with their partners and families, live in the Yukon, in Saskatoon, and in the Winnipeg area.  Ted and Tammy have 1 delightful little granddaughter in Saskatoon, and 2 more on the way in Saskatoon and Winnipeg.


Ted is a baseball buff and is learning the fine points of curling from Tammy – all from the comforts of an armchair.  He maintains an interest in the arts – in theatre, movies, and dance, and in music, especially Canadian singer-songwriters and, very especially, Bob Dylan.

His passion as a Minister is to recover the unique, counter-cultural Way of Jesus and to help the Church re-form itself as the Body of Christ at this major transition point in the development of western culture.