University Drive Alliance - 1967 (after expansion) to 1979

Following the move from the Tabernacle on 4th Avenue to the new building on University Drive, the congregation grew steadily. They started two daughter churches to alleviate the crowded situation. By 1965, a building project was underway. An educational wing was added which gave the church much needed training facilities, office space, and increased the seating capacity to 850.

Another challenge to trust God came in 1973. In the seven years since the educational wing addition, very little of the mortgage principle had been paid. With this debt, the church's ministry was restricted. Pastor Boldt challenged the people to contribute so that the church could be "Debt Free in '73." It was an unheard of challenge. Nevertheless, $173,000 was collected in nine months, completing the mortgage payments and freeing the church to follow God's next directive. Pastor Boldt continued to preach the sufficiency of Christ. Lives continued to be changed.By this time, seating in the church sanctuary was at full capacity and the question arose, "Shall we establish another congregation or shall we relocate?" They started another church, known as "Meadowlark Park Alliance" (now Avalon Alliance). The pews soon filled with new people. With inadequate parking and a full sanctuary, there was little motivation to invite people to the services. Adding a second worship service in 1976 solved the immediate problem, but they needed a long term solution.

When thirty-one acres of land became available to the membership of University Drive Alliance for purchase, December 1976 became a miracle month. The members and adherents gathered $100,000 in cash to pay for the land, which they subsequently traded for 20 acres of highly visible and accessible land off Preston Avenue South and Circle Drive.

The trade had come after months of prayer and planning. One Saturday night, while Walter Boldt was in prayer, God directed him to go out to the property on Preston and Circle Drive. He did so, and walked around it, claiming it for God. He visualized the church on the site and prayed for the people that would find Christ on this location. The next morning, he told the congregation of his action, encouraging them to continue to pray that they would receive the land. The next night, Saskatoon City Council voted, after intense debate, to accept the land trade. Now fund raising could begin.

A consulting company stated that the absolute maximum that the congregation could raise was $750,000. The architect had indicated that a minimum of $1,000,000 was needed for building. One of the Board members stated, that "if we can't make our goal $1,000,000, we cannot go with this program."

Walter talked to God, "Lord, I don't know how we can possibly raise that kind of money. But, I want You to know that I believe You are leading us, and I am willing to trust You."

The people looked to God for funds and prayerfully supported the pastor's goal of raising pledges for $1,000,000. The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix recorded the results:

"In less than two weeks, University Drive Alliance church in Saskatoon has raised more than $1 million for the construction of a new complex."

Pastor Boldt had encouraged people in their bedrock commitment to Jesus Christ, to the Body of Christ and to the work of Christ in the world. As a result, God met the church's financial needs.

During this time, a strong evangelism and discipleship ministry was developing. The entire congregation was called to a new level of commitment of their time, talents and treasures to the work of the Lord. The stewardship theme in 1977 was "Together We Build" in which $1,820,000 was pledged over a three-year period. Two years later, they made another $500,000 pledge and in 1980, the renewed pledge to cover the total indebtedness brought in $2,300,000 to be paid over a three-year period.

Douglas Pichler, an architect who also was a member of the congregation, designed a facility that would be functional and attractive. Sod Turning in May 1978 started 18 months of construction. The congregation held their last service in University Drive Alliance on University Drive and 13th St. was on October 26, 1979. The new facility, known as Circle Drive Alliance Church, opened its doors for services the following Sunday. Now there would be adequate space for growth for many years to come.

Throughout his days of ministry at University Drive Alliance Church, Rev. Walter Boldt often indicated how important prayer was to him. His first written request of God is "that the Head of the Church may grant us even greater blessings in the years that lie ahead." In 1962, he stated that "the spiritual pulse of the church can be measured by the interest her members take in the prayer meeting service." Three years later, he wrote, "A decline in our mid-week prayer meeting attendance is of deep concern to your pastor. Brethren, we must band together to pray if we expect the blessing of God." By 1970, Walter Boldt assessed the state of the church, listing three problem areas. Intercession was one. "The Church of Jesus Christ draws her power from her living Lord. If we are to be effective, more of our members must give themselves to the ministry of prayer."

One group that seemed to understand the need for prayer was the young people. The President of the High School youth group in 1968, Holden Bowker, stated that "young people are holding prayer meetings on Wednesday nights, joining the adults for the Alliance Men's and Women's prayer meetings and also for the communion prayer meetings." Don Gustafson, President of the College and Career group wrote, "During recent months a group of young people have been meeting together to pray that God will meet us in a new way in our Youth Fellowship. I believe that a new desire to pray and seek the mind of God is being born in the hearts of people."

As prayer was undergirding the church, various programs emerged to meet the needs of the congregation. Pioneer Girls began in 1961 with Mrs. Verna Dirks leading. This program continued to provide valuable training to the young ladies of the church into the 1980s.

They had started Christian Service Brigade under the leadership of Roy McIntyre. It served an equally important role in shaping young men for service as laymen in the church or in full-time ministry.

Another area of spiritual feeding and training was the Youth Groups. A balance of teaching, practical service and witness plus social activities made these groups very attractive.

Quizzing became a very useful tool in sharpening the minds and embedding the Word of God in the minds of those willing to invest the time and energy. The effort resulted in the quiz team winning the International Bible Quizzing Championships in1969, 1970 and 1971.

Viewing the church situation in 1969, Art Ford, secretary of the Board of Elders observed, "As a Board of Elders, we are aware of many spiritual needs in our church and would exhort our members to pray that God will visit His church and that there will be a real spiritual revival in these days of so much unbelief." Two years later, he rejoices, "Our hearts are filled with praise and thanksgiving to God for the moving of the Holy Spirit and the expressions of love which have been manifested in our midst in these days of revival."

When Dick Driedger wrote his report to the members in 1972, he notes the effect of the revival on the church. "In this my first report to the congregation, I wish to express my thanks to God for the deep work of the Holy Spirit among us. Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, new programs have been initiated to enlarge the outreach of the church, and older, established programs have been revitalized to reach our community, and ultimately the world, for Jesus Christ."

The Music Department was a program revived and enlarged following the revival. As Walter Boldt responded to the burden to reach out to others through a television ministry, the need to develop a strong music program became evident. Reuben Balzer was hired in 1973. Under his leadership, a number of small ensembles and larger choirs formed. He established a Sacred Music School in which to provide musical training for young people. This training program lasted for two years and had between 20 - 40 students. Turning Point Singers began to develop their repertoire in 1973. They produced an LP recording of the music that they used in the Turning Point program.

Also - See pictures of the University Drive Ministry Team

Youth choirs presented musicals beginning in 1975. The "Apostle" was presented by the Youth choir that spring. The next spring, the Boys' choir presented "Sam," the Sanctuary Singers "Everlasting Life" during Easter. The Junior AYF choir took "Make it Clear" on a musical tour through Saskatchewan in 1977.

As the Turning Point television ministry was being developed in 1973, a cassette recording and copying ministry began. Al Willems used his expertise to organize and administrate this area, which became known as Turning Point Recordings. In the first year, they copied one thousand cassettes of the messages preached from the pulpit for sale. Within a year, a loaning library was set up so that shut-ins and others unable to attend the service could receive the teaching. Missionaries welcomed the cassettes that caring people in the congregation sponsored.

Trying to reach out to the community in Saskatoon and area, the Morning Worship Service was also broadcast live over a local FM station beginning in 1977.

Taking advantage of the summers in Saskatchewan, a camping ministry for Pioneer Girls and Christian Service Brigade was conducted in the 1960s. In the 1970s, Family Camps were added. They held camps at Ranger Lake, Christopher Lake and Jeanette Lake with around 110 people taking in the week of special teaching and summer activities.

Another area of the ministry included an internship program in cooperation with Canadian Bible College. The church benefited by this program as students would receive practical hands-on training with them, and often have opportunity to be hired for ministry following their education. Interns included Doug Willie, Lynette Miniely, Mike Straup, Ken Driedger, Dan McIvor, Errol Rempel, Audrey Thiessen, John Knelson, Ray Willms and Tom Fehr.

When Susan Driedger took over the leadership of the women's ministry, this program expanded. A name change indicated the change in direction for the program. "Woman Alive" provided spiritual challenge and nurturing for years to come.

Under the blessing of God, the congregation grew as people came to know Jesus as their Saviour and Lord. When the number of converts was totalled up each year, beginning in 1973, a minimum of 110, with as many as 166, came to Christ.

Also - See 1974 Pictorial Directory

Such growth became a challenge to the church leadership. To handle the increase in the congregation, they started a new church plant, the Meadowlark Park (now Avalon) Alliance church, in 1973. That same year, Walter Boldt challenged his congregation to pay off the debt on the building so that monies could be freed for other uses.

Continued growth caused the church leadership to hold two services each Sunday morning beginning in 1976. As the growth continued, the Executive Board of the church began to take the necessary steps to move to a larger facility. They considered using the Centennial Auditorium, but came to the conclusion that they would have to raise the funds, buy property and build a facility that would meet the needs of the programs and people presently involved and allow adequate space for growth.

Walter Boldt challenged the congregation in 1977, "I would suggest that every Tuesday evening be set aside by all of us for special prayer. During a building program satan often attacks a fellowship the most. We must resist him steadfast in the faith."

Also - See Building Committee Guidlines

When the new building was completed on Circle Drive and Preston Avenue, it was a living example of just how God had answered Walter Boldt's prayer "that the Head of the Church may grant us even greater blessings in the years that lie ahead."

Bus Ministry in 1975

Sunday Morning Service 1975

Adult Sunday School Class*
taught by Russ Leister

Youth Class, 1977*
taught by Ken Driedger

Sunday School 1977

"Living Light" Practice

Pioneer Girls 1977

Pioneer Girls Leaders

Brigade Leaders

Packing the Missionary Barrel

Quizzing Champs 1971

Sound Room

Family Camp 1977

Doug Pichler, Architect

Sod Turning for Circle Drive Alliance

Crowd gathered for Sod Turning

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

Photos by Al Willems