Old Knox Church - An Alliance Connection

Rev. Harry Turner was feeling restless. The time he had served as minister in Winnipeg had been valuable. However, now, God seemed to be calling him to a change. He spent time in prayer and in conversation with John Woodward, looking for direction. Although his congregation had joined the Alliance, he felt that his ministry in the church was over. "I'll do anything you ask me to do," he told John Woodward, now the Alliance Superintendent.

The Superintendent knew that the Old Knox church, an Apostolic Congregation, in Saskatoon was needing a new pastor and suggested that he look into the situation. Some direction seemed to be evident as Harry ministered as guest speaker in the Old Knox church in Saskatoon. When invited, he agreed to become the pastor of this thriving church.

Built as a Methodist church in 1900 to seat 160 people, the Knox congregation grew rapidly. Two additions during the next ten years expanded the building so that it finally could hold 700 Methodist worshippers, and still the church grew. The decision to relocate and build a larger facility left the Knox Methodist church building empty for 10 years.

In 1924, a man of God, Rev. O. J. Lovik, was directed to organize an Apostolic Assembly. One year later, his successor, Rev. J. A. Erickson led the 85 families as they moved into the vacant old Knox church. The congregation enjoyed the worshipful facilities where that numbers could increase.

Harry Turner took over the leadership of Old Knox on June 3, 1928. He held an 11:00 a.m. worship service, was involved in the 2:30 p.m. Sunday School and Bible class hour, broadcast the live radio program at 3:30 p.m. and spoke at the evening service at 7:30 p.m.

By now, the church building was 28 years old and needed a facelift. It looked years younger when it received a fresh cost of white paint trimmed with green. The interior also was completely repainted before the end of September.

By the fall, Harry had assessed a need for Bible teaching. He developed and led the Old Knox Church Bible school held Thursday evenings. The first 16-week course he taught was on "The Holy Spirit."

He also was anxious that his people stretch their vision. They had seen God at work in Saskatoon, but they needed to see what God was doing in other countries. He held a three-day Missionary Convention in October with Dr. Walter Turnbull, the vice-president of the Alliance, as guest speaker.

The winter was full of ministry for this pastor and his people. He held Glad Tidings Bible Training School, with evening classes now on Monday and Wednesday in the church. Topics included Teacher Training, Bible Chapter Summary, Bible Analysis and Bible Doctrine.

Rev. Turner invited the Christian and Missionary Alliance, a missions-orientated organization with missionaries in 19 countries of the world, to come and share their missionary vision with his congregation in the spring of 1929. John Woodward, as Western Canadian District Superintendent, brought in a team of three missionaries and a musical group for a week of meetings.

The missionary speakers challenged the people to pray and give money if they were unable to become missionaries. The offering taken the last evening was $1,400. Twenty young people responded to the invitation to yield themselves to Christian service.

During one of the last meetings, John Woodward gave the congregation an overview of the work of the Alliance in Western Canada. For many, this society was new, but the impression was positive.

One highlight that summer for Harry Turner must have been the first Western Canada "Keswick" held in Englewood, Saskatchewan. Organized by John Woodward, they planned it to deepen the spiritual life, evangelize the unsaved and promote missions. Harry was on the platform as speaker with outstanding men such as William Aberhardt, Rev. L. E. Maxwell, principal of Prairie Bible Institute in Three Hills, Alberta and his colleague Rev. John Woodward. The Conference had 1,000 attending the first Sunday services and 700 the second Sunday. Weekly services included six meetings each day. The people came as many days as they could, pitching their tents on the prairie and soaking up the Biblical truths taught by these well-known godly men.

That fall, an evangelistic campaign with Uldine Utley, a 17-year-old girl evangelist, began the fall program at Old Knox. They moved the Glad Tidings Bible School to the Turner's residence on University Drive.

The Alliance invited Harry Turner to become a field evangelist. In this position, he would minister to the entire continent of North America, holding meetings in as many places as possible. In January 1930, they made his acceptance of the position official. He would begin his duties on April 1st.

One of his last duties as Pastor at Old Knox church was to organize the 1930 Missionary Rally of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. While he went out on his first itinerary as evangelist, the missionary convention began. Again, the speakers challenged the people. The missionary offering came to $594.36.

In reporting the results of the convention, John Woodward wrote,

"The meetings in this city were held in the Old Knox church which was rented for the occasion. This, the second convention here, was most fruitful, and a number of friends requested that a work be organized. At the end of the convention, the auditorium of the Public Library was rented for a special meeting. Despite heavy rains, over thirty persons were present, of whom 28 voted to become members of the Alliance. We organized the Saskatoon Branch of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, with a temporary committee in charge."

The Broughtons joined the other interested people for the first Alliance worship service July 6, 1930. The Alliance had rented the vacant Wesley church on Nineteenth Street and Avenue G. Both John Woodward and Harry Turner were on the platform that first Sunday.

Various speakers filled the pulpit during the summer and fall. In October, the Wesley church was sold, and the Alliance church moved to the Public Library Auditorium for their services.

The new church in town struggled for existence. With attendance dwindling, the Alliance decided to continue meeting during the week for prayer, but to join other evangelical churches for worship on Sundays.

Besides the services in the Library Auditorium, they began afternoon services at Patience Lake and Pike Lake. Cliff Broughton welcomed the new avenue of ministry, driving the chosen speaker out to the little country schools.

By the middle of November 1930, they made the decision that services under the auspices of the Christian and Missionary Alliance could not continue.

Old Knox Church

Cliff & Mildred Broughton & family

Dr. Harry Tuner was the fifth president of the Christian & Missionary Alliance, from 1954 to 1960. Through his influence, the Alliance gained a foothold in Winnipeg and Saskatoon.
[From "Rebirth" by Lindsay Reynolds, 1992, C&MA Canada]

Rev. & Mrs. John Woodward

Historical Flashbacks were researched and written by Lorraine Willems. Contributors are noted on the related pages. Copyright 2003 and 2013 by copyright holders.