The Knox Presbyterian Church held a celebration of their 120th anniversary on Nov. 2, with a special supper and a commemoration of longtime pastor, Rev. John Ferrier.
The special evening was held in the Knox Hall, with the Variations community choir, who performed a program of music from throughout the decades. Longtime member Shirley Ward presented her memoroes of Rev. Ferrier, noting she was among the first in the congregation to meet him as he arrived along with a church official at the Weyburn Inn, where she was having coffee with her mother. She shared many anecdotes about Ferrier, including how he was deeply involved in the church and community during his years of service here.
Rev. Ferrier was born on June 12, 1943, in Preston, Ont. (now Cambridge), and graduated with a Master of Divinity in 1974. He was ordained as a minister in the Presbyterian Church, and served in Chauvin and Wainwright, Alta., before coming to Knox Presbyterian Church in Weyburn in June of 1979, and remained serving there until he retired in April of 2006.
In the community, he served as chaplain to the Weyburn branch of the Royal Canadian Legion since 1980, was a voluntary chaplain to the RCMP in 1992, and for the Weyburn Fire Department in 2003.
He passed away on Dec. 21, 2018, at the age of 75 years, and a funeral service was held on Dec. 29 at Knox Presbyterian. A special portrait of Rev. Ferrier was presented, and Rev. Jay Song said it will be put on display in the church to honour his memory.
A history of the church was presented by Jim Nedelcov, with notes from late historian Isabelle Eaglesham.
Knox Presbyterian Church had its beginnings in the village of Weyburn in 1899, after J.A. Knowling donated property for the church to be built, and built the church’s first manse just south of the church.
A small tent town sprung up with some 117 homesteaders of various denominations, and the first Presbyterian minister was a student minister, Rev. John Smith, with the first service held in the CPR station located on Railway Avenue near Third Street.
A small frame building was built on the present site of Grace United Church, and this housed services until the stone school was built just north and west of the current location of the Presbyterian Church. The congregation met there until the fall of 1906, when they moved into the basement of the partially-built Knox Presbyterian Church.
The church was completed in the spring of 1907, at a cost of $15,000, and could seat 450 people. The dedication service for the new Knox church was held on March 3, 1907, with a membership at the time of 90 people.
The pastor at the dedication service was Rev. Robert Leslie, the board of management included Harold McGowan, Dr. R.M. Mitchell, Ferguson Washington, William McIntyre, William Bullis, Neil McKinnon, Percy Smith, John McClellan and William Pierson. McKinnon, who was later known for owning and operating the McKinnon Department Store downtown, was the chair of the building committee.