St. Andrew’s United Church
For more than a century, St. Andrews United Church has stood on the corner of Buxton and Eden Street in Indian Head. The congregation is striving to maintain this historic site but they will need some assistance.
James Harvey laid the cornerstone for St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church on July 27, 1907. Construction cost approximately $32,000 and the building was dedicated the following February.
Canadian architect William Marshall Dodd designed the building, which has several notable features. Its exterior is red brick, a material common on the east coast but less so for churches on the prairies. A cupola reflects the style common to churches during the early 1900s. Stained glass windows add to the artistic beauty of the church and inside the sanctuary there is a pipe organ featuring two manuals with ten stops on the swell and six stops on the great, along with a pedal board of five stops.
The building was signed over to the United Church in 1925 when members of the local Presbyterian and Methodist congregations amalgamated. In the 1960s, a Christian Education Centre (C. E. Centre) was constructed adjacent to the north side of the church in order to accommodate the large numbers attending Sunday School.
Members of the United Church noted that over time other churches built in Indian Head in the early 20th century had either been demolished or become private homes. As a step toward preserving St. Andrew’s, it was designated as a Municipal Heritage site in 2010.
Although attendance has dwindled significantly from the 343 members registered in 1925, St. Andrew’s United Church still holds services every Sunday at 11 a.m. The next communion service is scheduled for October 2. The pastor, Rev. Koshy David, also supplies the pulpit for Grenfell United Church and the two congregations will hold a Covenanting Service in Indian Head on October 30 at 2 p.m. In addition to regular services, the United Church is active in meeting community needs through Christmas hampers and other measures.
In order to continue these important initiatives, certain repairs should be done to the aging structure. Exterior painting and brickwork is necessary to prevent water from entering the building and to protect the foundation. The masonry is expected to cost approximately $32,500 and painting will cost a minimum of $10,000. Provided there is sufficient funding, the work would be completed between May and October 2023.
The church plans to submit a grant application to the Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation in time for the October 1 deadline. If the grant is approved, then the church will only need to pay 50 per cent of the project cost.
Operating expenses are already a challenge for the small congregation so, with the lifting of COVID restrictions, they are planning to revive some familiar fundraisers and initiate new ones in order to meet operating expenses and cover building repair costs.
On October 28 and 29, the church will hold a Clothing Sale, which has traditionally been well supported by the community. The church also hopes to organize a Mosaic event at the CE Centre featuring food and music from different cultures.
The CE Centre, with a capacity of 150, can also be booked for private events. The facility is licensed and features a kitchen and a stage. The United Church Women’s group is available to cater lunches, if desired.
“It’s a beautiful facility for weddings; the sanctuary of the church is absolutely gorgeous and Indian Head is full of places you can go if you want your pictures outdoors,” observed church member Pat Braden. “The CE Centre and the church are connected so whether it be a wedding or a funeral you can just move across, and it’s wheelchair accessible.”
Through these and future fundraising opportunities, United Church members are hopeful that the historic building will maintain its place in the community for many years to come.
“We’re looking at the future of the church,” Pat Braden explained. “One thing the church has always done is support those in need; it’s always been a big part of our mandate to provide support within the larger community. But at this time, our fundraising is going to be based around making repairs to the church so the building can continue in order to continue with our other priorities. If the building isn’t here, if we’re not here, the rest isn’t going to happen.”