The Boldts arrived in Saskatoon to start ministry on May 1st, 1960. The congregation on Sunday mornings averaged 500.
During the first year of ministry, the attendance increased by 100. A radio program, "Songs at Twilight", began January 22, 1961 over CFQC radio. That program was later renamed "Songs in the Night" when it was moved to a later time on Sunday evening. Over the years, Pastor Walter Boldt was involved in radio and later television as a means to communicate the Gospel.
That same year, the church heard about the need for Christian ministry to the Chinese in the city. They opened their church building to be used for a church service for adults and Sunday School for children on Sunday afternoons. A number of people from University Drive became involved in this ministry to the Chinese.
In the summer of 1962, Pastor Boldt had his first opportunity to visit the foreign mission fields of Ecuador, Colombia and Peru. His eyes were opened to the pastoral needs of the missionaries as well as seeing the heart throb of missionary work.
In 1962, the church leadership felt that the most effective witness in Saskatoon would come with the establishment of a daughter church on the west side of town. Many leading families moved to Westgate Alliance when it began in August, 1964. Those remaining at University Drive discovered that within one year, the vacated leadership positions had been filled and the mother church was back up to its pre-Westgate attendance.
University Drive Alliance could seat 600, with an overflow that allowed for another 50 persons in the adjacent chapel. In 1965, a building project was underway. This educational wing gave the church much needed training facilities, office space, and increased the seating capacity to 850.
During the 1970s, Pastor Boldt restructured the staff organization from a multiple staff ministry to a team ministry. Each staff person was hired and assigned based on his specific gifts and talents, pooling resources in a team effort to strengthen the ministry of the church. Under this structure, the staff became enablers who helped the church members do the work of the ministry.
Meetings led by the Sutera Twins began in the Ebenezer Baptist church in October, 1971. When their facilities became too small for the mounting attendance, Walter Boldt took a risk. He cancelled the annual Missionary Convention to allow the revival meetings to be held in the University Drive Alliance building. Pastor Boldt was touched by God during those meetings, and was invited to join a team travelling to Holland where the revival message was shared.
God continued to bring people into the church and the facilities soon became filled. The Board of Elders discussed the situation. Meadowlake Park Alliance church, later renamed Avalon Alliance, was the result. A group of people were willing to assist in this church plant. The services began meeting in a school auditorium in 1973. As before, within a year, University Drive found that its attendance recovered.
After a number of years of casual discussion with the local television station, Walter Boldt was offered a time slot to broadcast a program geared to the interests and needs of the family. The first broadcast was aired in September 1973. "Turning Point" reached into homes in various parts of Canada for a number of years encouraging the viewing audience to be effective in their family and marriage relationships.
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, however $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, the church building was full. The church went to a two-service Sunday morning schedule as the immediate solution to alleviate the crowded conditions. However the question continued to be asked, "Shall we establish another congregation or shall we relocate?" With inadequate parking and a full sanctuary, there was little motivation to invite people to the services.
Church had been negotiating with the City of Saskatoon for property since the fall of 1975. The purchase of 31 acres of land was finally approved by the City in October 1976. December became a miracle month. The members and adherents gathered $100,000 in cash to pay for the land, which was subsequently traded for 20 acres of highly visible and accessible land off Preston Avenue South and Circle Drive.
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.
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."
The sod-turning ceremony on May 7, 1978 was the start of an intense construction period for the next 17 months. November 11, 1979 would be a day to remember. Dr. L. L. King spoke at the 11:00 a.m. service on "We dedicate ourselves". At the 2:00 p.m. service, Dr. Mark Lee spoke on "We dedicate the Facilities." These messages formed a unit, reminding the listeners that their individual dedication to God was as important to the success of Circle Drive Alliance as was the dedication of the building.
On September 17, 1978, Lawson Heights Alliance Church held their first service.
Technology was used to widen the reach of the Gospel message. A donation to purchase a cassette duplicator enabled the sound room staff to quickly duplicate and distribute copies of the Sunday messages to our own congregation and to missionaries around the world. Beginning in the mid 1970s, using the church's sound room equipment, the morning worship service was aired live over the local FM station. After the move to Circle Drive, the FM broadcasts continued, delayed by one week so that the tapes could be edited and delivered to the station for even better quality.
Circle Drive began a unique Christmas outreach in December 1980 known as The Singing Christmas Tree. It continued to be a popular outreach program for a number of years.
Listen to a Sunday morning service and message from November 28, 1982, "The Gospel for the Eye."
In May 1985, the Boldts celebrated 25 years of ministry with the Alliance in Saskatoon. They led a tour group to the Holy Land and then returned for a six week sabbatical. Dr. Mark Lee filled the pulpit during the sabbatical.
Marriage Feast celebrated the marriages officiated by Rev. Walter Boldt. Don Warner is the MC and this hilarious recording from 1985 will bring back many memories.
The campus changed appearance in 1986 as the Personal Care Home was completed and opened on February 2. Then the Christian Education Wing was built and its dedication was conducted on October 12. The next year the final phase of the campus, Circle Drive Place was added. It provides 100 units for seniors who were interested in living near the Personal Care Home or Circle Drive Alliance Church.
Other Alliance churches emerged in 1986. In March, the ministry to First Nations began. Then in September, Forest Grove Alliance (later renamed Erindale Alliance) began their services. A work was also started among the Filipinos in Saskatoon.
Walter Boldt continued to lead this congregation for two more years, guiding them in fulfilling the command of Christ to make disciples. He had led the congregation from 500 attending on a Sunday morning to an attendance of over 1,100 at Circle Drive and had the joy of seeing seven other Alliance churches emerge in the city.
After his resignation on October 1, 1989, he continued to be a man under orders to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth until the King returns. On May 7, 2011 he passed on to his reward.
Rev. & Mrs. W. Boldt, Melanie, Sandra & Wayne
First Sunday at University Drive Alliance Church
In May 1960, Pastor Walter Boldt was installed as the ninth minister of University Drive Alliance. Under his leadership, our congregation has been further challenged to expand its ministry in Saskatoon. In May 1966, the enlarged sanctuary and new educational wing was dedicated by Dr. Nathan Bailey, President of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. -A Tribute to Sound Leadership
In this first report to the congregation, I desire to pay tribute to the sound leadership of my predecessor, the Rev. Roy Mcintyre, who has laid a sound foundation upon which it is now my honor and privilege to continue to build. Rev. and Mrs. Mcintyre, who so faithfully served this congregation, are now the beloved leaders of our Western Canadian District, in which capacity God's abundant blessing is resting upon them. In perusing the annual reports over the last twelve years, I have been impressed with the evident blessing of God upon the Alliance Church. My prayer is that the Head of the Church may grant us even greater blessings in the years that lie ahead. -Rev. W. Boldt, Annual Report, 1960
The evident increase in both Sunday School and church attendance has moved this church into the position where we must seriously consider the expansion of our present facilities. It appears that we are faced with the necessity of either expanding our facilities in our adjacent lot, or relieving the congestion by launching out on an extension project. Problems of this nature are an evidence of life and virility. May God give us the needed wisdom to make the right choice at this juncture of our development.
- Rev. W. Boldt, 1960 Report
Turning Point - W. Boldt Interviewing Julie Fehr
CDA Sod Turning, May 7, 1978
Rev Walter & Doris Boldt
Historical Flashbacks were researched and written by Lorraine Willems. Copyright 2003 and 2013 by copyright holders.