The day was Sunday, the date - July 27, 2014, the location – St. John’s Minster (the old log church now residing at the Lloydminster’s Weaver Park), the occasion – to celebrate its existence and its rich history that has been preserved.
“It was a wonderful piece of nostalgia going back to the old days,” said Rev. Canon Michael Stonhouse. “The log church here was opened in 1904, the first service was on July 23, 1904. There was a morning and evening service.”
The origins of this church tell a tale of its own.
“Mr. Lloyd had wanted it (church) to be bigger than it is, but he was getting all the logs from the First Nations at Onion Lake, and this is as high as the trees were,” said Rev. Stonhouse.
“It was the First Nations at Onion Lake who did all the logging and brought down the logs,” said Stonhouse. Up until then, the Barr Colonists had met in Mr. Lloyd’s house, the immigration hall and various places in Lloydminster. “They recognized their need for a church and back in 1904 the church was built.”
Used until 1910, it was outgrown, said Stonhouse.
“So they moved into the present brick church,” he said. “It’s wonderful. Once a year we come back to here and celebrate something of our heritage. It is wonderful that the City of Lloydminster is willing to maintain it and preserve it.”
The building may have started its life as a church, but that was not always so. For a time it was a recycling depot. It was eventually moved to Weaver Park as part of the historical display.
The fact is not lost on Stonhouse that the community can gather in it and use the building as a church once again. Believe it or not, besides the fact that church service is still held there and from time to time, it is used for weddings.
“It is nice that it still can be put to use, that it is preserved, ” said Stonhouse. “It is such a visible landmark of Lloydminster, our heritage, our beginnings,” and civilization arriving in this area.
There is a piece of lore surrounding the building of the church.
“It is believed that some of the logs at the base of the church actually have the names of people who helped build the church,” Stonhouse said he has been told.
There seems to be documented fact of a great deal of history surrounding the building. The general consensus is that the parishioners are very grateful the building is being used as a museum, but more importantly, it is being used for its intended purpose, a church for worship.