The Early Beginnings
In the 1800’s missionaries began their work in the Northwest Territories gathering together all who wanted to join together in fellowship and share the hospitality of their surrounding neighbours. As thecommunities grew so did the missionaries come, traveling on horseback, to bring together settlers and established places of Worship. It is believed the English born Rev. E. Paske-Smith, (known as someone always ready for a horse trade) was the first incumbent to hold services in thedistrict between 1884 and 1888. He traveled from Calgary to “The Crossing”, as High River wascalled, to as far south as Mosquito Creek Between 1888 to 1892 services were on J.W. McLaughlin’s farm on the west edge of what is now High River. Occasional services were held at the CPR Station, Astoria Hotel, the Methodist Church, Bavis Hall and various homesteads by The Reverends.H.B. Collier, Theo Mathews, S. Stocken and A.J.S. Ard. An article in the “Best of Times”refers to Rev. Collier being known as, “the big Irishman who always carried a club, and lookedas though he might like to use it on the heads of his congregation if they did not pay attention to his sermons; while The Rev. Mr. Matthews was the little Englishman with the big feet who always rode an Indian Cayuse about the size of a big dog and carried a revolver”. On occasion W.E.G. Holmes lassoed all the unbaptised to receive the Holy Rite of Baptism. He would host these “baby round-ups” on his homestead 1 Y2 miles south of town. It was not until 1901 that Divine Service would regularly be held in Bavis Hall by The Rev.H.M. Lang-Ford (Deacon).