Our Roots

Beginnings (1882)

On a summer evening in Grey County, Ontario in 1882 a man named Peter Elford was on his way home with a load of chopped grain when he came across a crowd assembling for a gospel meeting put on by the “Disciples.” He decided to park his horse and wagon and went. His heart was troubled deeply because a Methodist minister had been preaching that the way the Eunuch was baptized in Acts 8 was by the eunuch taking a water bottle out from under his seat and said, “Behold here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized.”

At this meeting he was so convinced of the gospel message that he had to tell his wife that evening and the person who ground the grain. Shortly all three were baptized.

Saskatchewan (1919-1937)

Peter’s daughter, Eva, who had become a Christian in Ontario, came east to Saskatchewan and married Skip Bell in 1919. They settled on the homestead north of Gravelbourg, near Shamrock.

In 1936, their son, Elford, attended Summer Bible School in Radville and was baptized.

The following year (1937), Eva Bell arranged for J.C. Bailey, a traveling evangelist, to hold a Gospel Meeting in Rouen School (near Bateman). Five were baptized as a result of that meeting.

Skip & Eva Bell

War Years (1937-1950)

After the Rouen School Gospel Meeting, Eva Bell hosted most church meetings in their home. In the late 1940’s, church meetings were held in various home and then, eventually, Standon School.

Lafleche (1961-1981)

After some studies in homes in the winter of 1960-61 with J.C. Bailey, a two week Gospel Meeting was held at the town hall in Lafleche in June 1961 with J.C. Bailey preaching. Nine responded to the Gospel and were baptized while two others were restored. 

An old house across from the High School was purchased for use as a church building. Members of the church in Shamrock began meeting with the Lafleche congegretaion along with a few from Kincaid. 

J.C. Bailey continued Tuesday evening meetings for some time while Morris Bailey travelled from Moose Jaw to Lafleche to preach for 21 years (then for two years after the move to Gravelbourg).

It was the unanimous decision of about 12 adults in Lafleche to build a new church building in Gravelbourg  and excavation for the basement began on October 31, 1980. The move north would be completed with the Grand Opening of the building in Gravelbourg on November 8, 1981.

Lafleche Building

Gravelbourg (1981-2006)

The move to Gravelbourg proved to be fruitful as there were numerous conversions. Ministers who served the Gravelbourg church in this period were:

  • Al and Bev Bojarski (1983 – 1985)
  • Glen and Nancy MacDonald (1985 – 1994)
  • Bruce and Grace Tetreau (1994 – 1996)
  • Larry and Renee Elford (1997 – 1999)
  • Wendell and Dina Bailey (2001 – 2013)
Original Building

Renovation & Expansion (2006-2009)

Increasing attendance over the years led to the need to enlarge the original facility in Gravelbourg. Work on the expansion and renovation began in mid-September 2006 and was completed in the Spring of 2009. A Grand Opening celebration was held on May 31, 2009.

Expansion and Renovation.

Ministers who have served the church in Gravelbourg since 2009:

  • Wendell and Dina Bailey (2001 – 2013)
  • Ray McMillan (part time) (2013 – 2015 )
  • Darrell & Darlene Buchanan (2015 – Present)

From a paper prepared by Gerry Bell.