APOSTOLIC CHURCH OF NORTH BATTLEFORD INC.
(Living Faith Chapel)
OUR HISTORY & DISTINCTIVES
A.C.O.P. is a product of the Pentecostal renewal which began in the early part of the 20th Century.
Let us give you a little background on how Living Faith Chapel got started.
The history of the North Battleford Church Assembly began in the nineteen twenties, when Gospel meetings were held in various homes around the city. There was a great revival among the people, as the Holy Spirit moved and a number of people accepted Christ as their Savior. As the numbers grew, it became evident that a larger and permanent facility was necessary. People prayed, and God provided a house at 1232 – 102nd Street, at that period it was known as Edward Street. The Bert Ayres family was very instrumental in the purchasing of this building in 1932. It was renovated and became the first Church home for the Apostolic Assembly in the Battlefords. To-day, this lot site is the parking lot for the Northern Auto Parts establishment.
During the passing of time, several Evangelistic meetings were held in the city. One particular meeting place was the Old Duchess Theatre, which was located three lots south of the building, currently the Innovation Credit Union building. Evangelistic meetings were also held frequently in the new Church building and many souls were saved.
The first full-time Pastor was Charles Kingsfield in 1934. The upstairs of the Church was the Pastor’s residence. In those days, the Pastors worked to augment their earnings as well as preach the Word of God. Other Pastors that followed were Robert Dean, Ross MacPherson, Charles Strickland, Rev. Johnson, Rev. Yoeman and Rev. Fenwick.
In 1942, Reverend J. E. McEwen and his family came to Pastor in North Battleford. He worked at various jobs in the city, and preached the Word of God until 1954, when he moved his family to Edmonton, Alberta. Many souls were saved and baptized under Reverend McEwen’ s ministry. During those years, a baptismal tank was placed under the platform floor in front of the Church hall, covered with a door. This tank was used in cold weather, but many of the baptismal services were held either at the west or south of the Battleford river bridge sites.
Bible summer camps began during these early years, and were held at the Schalm farm in the Belbutte, SK area. Bible camp was a time of expectation and anticipation, that God would graciously pour out His Spirit upon hungry souls.
The Church introduced a half-hour Gospel radio program and continued until it became too costly . During this period of renewal, Youth for Christ meetings began with youths from other churches in the area, and proved to be very successful.
The Ministerial Association was organized among the Churches in the Battlefords, and the radio program of Sunday morning worship services began by all participating Churches. The rotation allowed the Apostolic Church to be on the air every six weeks.
Bible studies and prayers were held every Wednesday evening, and youth meetings Friday evenings. In the 1950 era, there came a tremendous revival in the Battlefords. Evangelistic meetings were held, people were filled with the Spirit, healing occurred, as well as the beginning of Sharon Church. Churches were divided and the Apostolic Church was not left unscathed. A number of our Congregation followed the throng, but returned after a couple of years. These were testing times for the church and financially burdensome, but the faithful few carried on, and God intervened.
In September of 1954, Reverend George Schalm came and remained approximately one year. During his stay, Pastor Cliff Baynes became an Associate Pastor, and succeeded Pastor Schalm.
Pastor Baynes began the Indian Reservation visitation program, which was carried on for a number of years to the following reservations – Saulteaux, Moosomin, and Little Pine. On his departure, the church was left for a brief span of time without a Pastor, and remained at a plateau, but people prayed and God never ceased to move.
Pastor Harry Roberts succeeded Pastor Baynes, and became very active with the Evangelistic work on the reservations. Pastor Norman Walker became an Associate Pastor, and together, they brought about our first Church Constitution, which has been revised many times since its first acceptance by the congregation.
Pastor Murray Jones succeeded Pastor Roberts, and was assisted in his ministry by Don Shiach, and they continued with the work on the reservations. During this period, an offer was made to the City of North Battleford to purchase land at 2102 – 102nd Crescent. Agreement, dated April 10th, 1967, for $2,557.00, to erect a $25,000.00 Church building. However, this deal did not materlize, because of lack of funds. These were difficult days for the Church. Pastor John Henry Essler succeeded Pastor Jones, and was influential in guiding the congregation through this difficult period. Unfortunately, due to ill health, Pastor Essler resigned.
The church experienced a time of testing during the periods without the Pastor, but with prayer and fasting, the Assembly was able to function. Reverend Denzel Fenn, from the Church in Saskatoon, assisted with the radio programs and Reverend Robert Larden, the A.C.O.P. representative, never failed to encourage the congregation to press on, and to look on the harvest fields, with a bright future for God’s people.
God answers prayers, and in April of 1970, Pastor Ken Hartenberger arrived to Pastor the Church. He brought with him youth vitality, and a determination to win souls for God. This was a time of renewing and soul searching among God’s people. God began to move among the “Jesus people” crowd, and several accepted Jesus, and attended the Church services.
A new Church building site was chosen at 1611 – 93rd Street in North Battleford – for a new 40′ by 40′ structure, and work commenced in November of 1971. A congregational meeting was held in which several names for the new Church building were submitted. After a lengthy discussion, the new name was approved as “Apostolic Church – Living Faith Chapel”.
The old Church was sold and moved to a new location. Arrangements were made with the Seventh Day Adventist Church leaders at 1522 – 106th Street, to allow the temporary use of their building on Sundays until the new Church was completed.
On May 28th, 1972, the “Apostolic Church – Living Faith Chapel” was dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ, with a large attendance including former members. The Church continued in its growth, and was blessed with a number of young people – very vibrant – who shared the love of Jesus with others. At the height of this revival, Pastor Hartenberger accepted a call to Edmonton, Alberta, and the church was without a Pastor for approximately eight months.
Reverend S. D. (Jim) Arneson, and his wife Flo, came to minister in the spring of 1976. The growth of the church continued, and in the spring of 1979, a building program began, with an eight-foot extension all around the building, and also a joining link between the fellowship hall of a 10 foot width, which served as an entrance area, bathrooms, a kitchen, and furnace room at the back.
During this major expansion program, the congregation held their meetings at the I.O.O.F. (Odd Fellows Hall) facility, located on the 1400 Block of 100th Street, near the Legion Hall. This was a period of major growth in the Assembly. A thirty-four by fifty-six extension gave a space for the fellowship hall, the business offices and a library mezzanine above the office space.
During these years, our Youth Pastor was Brother Dave Martin. He organized many youth programs, and was assisted by his wife Sherrie. In 1981, Brother Wade Parkinson succeeded Brother Dave Martin, and remained until 1986.
In 1984, a thirty-three hundred square foot Christian Education Centre was added to the fellowship hall, and the kitchen space was expanded. In October of 1987, Pastor Art Atkinson joined Pastor Arneson as an Associate Pastor and remained until November of 1989. In September of 1988, Pastor Llewellyn Janzen, and his wife Kowonda, joined as a Youth Pastor and remained until August of 1995. Pastor Arneson resigned in the fall of 1989, and during this period, leadership of the Assembly was given by Pastor Art and Jean Atkinson, who had come on staff to take care of Pastoral care and Evangelism. During this time, Gwyn and Ginny Vaughn from the U.S. came on staff as “Interim Pastor” from August of 1989 to September of 1989. Pastor Llewellyn and Kowanda Janzen had only recently taken on the responsibility of Youth Pastor. This proved to be a period of some difficulty for the assembly as they tried to adjust to the several changes. The Board gave strong and wise leadership as decisions were made to make way for a permanent Senior Pastor.
We were without a Senior Pastor until Reverend Ben Kirkpatrick accepted the position in the fall of 1989, and arrived with his wife Joyce in January 1990. The growth of the Church continued, and with that, a desperate need for additional space. In September of 1993, Pastor Debbie McNabb accepted the position as Children’s Pastor, and was joined by her husband, Aaron McNabb in September of 1995, as Youth Pastor.
There was still a “Spirit of Revival” in the Body. The “chemistry” was still right for growth. Since the building was already full, and the church had previously attempted double services, something had to be done! They immediately gutted the nursery and toddler rooms to be used as overflow, but this provided only temporary relief. The Board was unanimous that we ought to get serious about paying off the balance on the mortgage. This was accomplished in six months. Now a building fund could be started. At the same time, scouting for a possible location for a new church was resumed. Every possibility was explored. Existing buildings were looked at, parcels of land considered, but nothing seemed to “click.” We even resumed double services for quite some time. This congregation just did not like that routine. “We have to have a bigger building!”
Our greatest excitement and our biggest let down came when the Indian and Metis Friendship Center came up for sale. The church negotiated, arranged financing, and they accepted the offer … and we thought we had a deal, but this was not to be! The deal was canceled by them, and for us it was back to “square one”.
In due time, we were informed that the former Coke Plant was up for sale. The leadership went to look at it and the sheer size of it almost overwhelmed us. The package included a 30,000 square foot building, plus seven lots for parking – two of them paved and wired for plug ins and two houses – both fit for occupancy. After some lengthy negotiations, a deal was made for $165,000 which we were able to pay for in cash (plus GST). We took possession on April 1, 1995. It was an exciting evening in May when the church had their first Praise Celebration complete with our musicians and singers. We literally filled that place with the sound of praise. Why did we do this? Because the “Lord inhabits the praises of His people,” and His Presence is absolutely vital in our thinking! Demolition was begun in the fall of 1995 with some interior walls and structures being removed. Blueprints were prepared for us by Dan Custer of Saskatoon. Per Sakstad, who had built a number of churches in A.C.0.P., including the church in Eston, accepted our invitation to become Project Manager. Construction began on January 2, 1996 and at the time of this writing, completion is hoped for sometime in July. The sale of the “Old Living Faith Chapel” on 93rd street (a location that is rich in memories to so many) to the Seventh Day Adventist Congregation provided us with finances to begin construction.
Pastor Ben resigned in 1997 and Pastor Merv Kurtz was Pastor for one year. Pastor Dan Duncan was asked to take over the Senior Pastor’s role, a role in which he held until 2010. Pastor Dan Glass served as Interim Pastor from 2010 to November of 2011, at which time Pastor Allen Huckabay began as Lead Pastor.
The church has always believed in connecting within the community and offering ministry. In 2003, Bridges for Children was established – a program in conjunction with the RCMP and Ministry of Social Services, which works with children under the age of 12 who are involved with the RCMP. In 2008, Crystal’s Home was established as a home for girls aged 16-17 who do not have a safe place to live. The Mix, a teen drop in center, ran within the church for some time, and for 3 years Two42 a teen drop in ministry ran by Youth For Christ Regina ran also in the church. A Soup Kitchen has been run from within the church, as well as Grief Share Ministry to those who have lost a loved one.