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Pages 16 to 21 of the Crandall History Book, 2000.

Crandall United Church
By Ivan Lawrence

Rev. Bowins and his mother arrived at the Oak River manse in July 1963. Rev. Bowins served the Oak River/ Crandall charge until the end of June 1971. He accomplished a lot in those years; helping to bring improvements to the Crandall church such as a used oil furnace, paneling on the basement walls, and insulation in the attic. A new church was built at Oak River and a house was bought adjacent to the church for use as a manse. The Crandall church community provided financial assistance with the purchase of the latter.

Rev. Donald and Edna McNeill came to the pastoral charge in July of 1971 from the Keewatin Presbytery and stayed until June 1978. On his suggestion, the Crandall United Church Women bought a memorial plaque, which was soon filled with names of, loved ones. The McNeills accepted a charge at McBride, British Columbia, later retiring to Lethbridge, Alberta. They returned to this area several times, at one time taking an active part in Crandall's 90th Church Anniversary.

Rev. Tom Delgaty came to the Oak River/Crandall pastoral charge as a newly ordained minister. Tom and his wife, Evelyn, moved into the Oak River manse in July 1978.

Easter sunrise service followed by the regular service the same morning started with Rev. Tom. Some years it was rather cool waiting for the sun to come up, sitting on bales with blankets over our knees and shoulders. The early service took place on a high hill on the Lawrence farm, followed by a pancake and sausage breakfast held either at the home of Mrs. Roberta Wallace, or the community centre.

One of the highlights of Rev. Delgaty's ministry was a trip he and Gordon White took to the Holy Land in 1980.

Mr. Delgaty also began the tradition of Christmas Eve services. These services continued on with Rev. Barber, Pastor Al Rempel, Rev D. Morton and were always well attended, except when the occasional snow storm intervened.

The Delgatys made the decision to leave the pastoral charge as of June 1989. As a result of not being able to get a replacement minister, Birtle Presbytery allowed Rev. Tom to serve the charge for another year until the June of 1990.

Rev. Garfield Barber came in July 1990 from the Rossburn, Manitoba charge. He remained here until June 1993, continuing with the Easter Sunrise services. The 1991 Easter service in March was the warmest one for several years.

Pastor Al Rempel and his wife, Brenda, came to the pastoral charge in July 1993 on three-quarter time, as both were taking university courses. Easter sunrise service was continued with Pastor Al. One memorable happening took place in 1994 when freezing rain began, ending with a foot of snow by nightfall, making dreadful travelling conditions for Easter Sunday visitors.

Pastor Al was of the Mennonite faith, but this did not get in the way of filling the needs of the charge. He continued his ministry here until June 1995. He accepted a position at the Whitewater Mennonite church in Boissevain, Manitoba.

In early July 1995 Rev. David Morton and his bride, Christy, came to the Oak River/Crandall pastoral charge. David was newly ordained and came from the Toronto, Ontario area. Both were gifted musically, so were great assets to both Oak River and Crandall charges. When our regular organist, Hazel Henderson, was unavailable, Christy was able to fill in very capably.

Due to weather conditions during the four years that the Mortons were here, Easter Sunday services could not be held on the hill as in previous years. A decision was made to have 8:30 a.m. services at the church and breakfast in the community centre, thus bringing to an end an annual tradition.

Rev. Morton announced on January 10, 1999 that he had made the decision to seek a change in pastoral relations at the end of June 1999. He and his wife, Christy, are now situated in Cranbrook, British Columbia.

The Oak River/Crandall pastoral charge was not successful in getting a replacement minister; therefore, we have relied on Sunday Supply until the end of June 2000. There has to be much credit given to certain members of the Oak River congregation for obtaining people who were willing to take Sunday services at both points on a regular basis. Those attending church have enjoyed hearing the different speakers who came from Virden, Rivers, Hamiota, Brandon, and Minnedosa, Manitoba.

With the help of the U.C.W. and community members the church flowerbeds and grounds have been kept attractive through the years.

We have never lacked dedicated organists, and U.C.W. members who took care of weekly church cleaning faithfully, also decorating the church for Thanksgiving Sunday.

A congregational meeting was held on December 12, 1999 to make the decision as to the closure of the church. A majority vote ruled that Crandall United Church would be closed as of July 15, 2000, pending legal procedures. The main reason for the church closure is because of lack of Sunday attendants. Our community, both urban and rural, has depleted drastically in the last three decades, which has made it impossible to carry on.

The board of the Crandall Community Centre has agreed to take on the responsibility of maintaining the church building and contents, so that it can be used if the need arises.

The Crandall United Church has met the needs of many people in 100 years. It will be another loss for our community, not having regular Sunday services.

On June 25, 2000, Oak River/Crandall held a joint service in Crandall church at 10:30 a.m. to commemorate 45 years of being a pastoral charge. The financial arrangement for the last number of years has been Oak River 75%, Crandall 25%, with Crandall holding the 9:30 time of service.

A cairn marking 100 years of continuous service to the community, was erected on west side of the church building with the words inscribed,

"Dedicated to Those Whose lives it Touched
Crandall Church
1900- 2000
To the Glory of God"

Crandall Church Board Year 2000

Board of Stewards
Chairperson- Lena Lawrence
Vice Chairperson- Wallace Henderson
Secretary- Roberta Wallace
Treasurer- Ivan Lawrence

Board Members
Hazel Henderson
Stan Doupe
Brian Johnston
David Lawrence

Session
Roberta Wallace
Vel Doupe
Stan Doupe
Ivan Lawrence

Trustees
Roberta Wallace
Brian Johnston
David Lawrence
Stan Doupe

Memorial Fund Committee
Chairperson- Ivan Lawrence
Treasurer- Brian Johnston
Member- Stanley Doupe
Organist- Hazel Henderson
Auditor- Brian Johnston

Central Treasurer for Oak River/ Crandall Pastoral charge- Brian Johnston

Items presented to and bought for the well being of the Crandall Church since 1970:

*Roberta Wallace donated a number of Psalm books for congregational use.
*Gordon White made and installed new doors for the church
*Bill Cowling made and installed a removable hand railing for the inside steps at the front entrance of the church
*Leslie Rudd built a peaked roof over the door leading into the basement of the church
*1977- first memorial plaque was bought by the U.C.W.
*1979- Public address system was bought and installed
*1981- Ceiling fan installed by Genung Electrical Services
*1982- East side of church roof was reshingled by Ronald Lawrence and crew from Brandon, Manitoba
*1983- Blue hymnbooks sent to Winnipeg to have covers renewed
*1986- Hand railing was made and installed on the basement stairs by David Lawrence
*1987 - Chimney was taken down to roof level and rebuilt.
*1988- Exterior of the church was repainted.
*1990- Chimes were changed over from playing records to cassette tapes by Dean Wallace. Two tapes were purchased at this time.
*1993- New artificial ferns and a silk flower arrangement for the front of the church were bought. The items from 1979 to 1993 were paid for from the Memorial Fund.
*1984- The remaining funds left in the Crandall History Society account were turned over to the Memorial account.
*1989- A second memorial was needed and one was made and donated by Ronald Lawrence. Ivan Lawrence put on the scroll items and bars.
*1989- A bulletin rack was made and put up by David Lawrence
*1990- a variety concert was held in the Crandall Community Centre to raise funds to renovate the north east corner of the church stone wall. The concert was very successful with more money taken in than was needed for the project. The remaining money was invested in a repair fund. Rudy Goertzen of Hamiota was hired to do the repair work. The corner was completely taken down to below grade and rebuilt at a cost of $630.00.
*1994- The cement steps at the entrance of the church were deteriorating to the point of not being safe. Plywood, lumber, paint and labour was donated by Lorna and Edward Eastcott.

Other church members helped them to cover and paint the steps. A silver mound perennial was bought by Louise Hyndman and placed in the flowerbed. The U.C.W. put other shrubs in at a later date. They also put in bedding plants each year. The U.C.W. has always set a day in June for a general cleaning of the church. They have contributed very generously to the upkeep of the church since 1970
*1999-Stanley Doupe scraped and painted the doors of the church
*2000- Wilf Monkman repaired and painted the church steps before the last two services.

Special Anniversary Celebrations
A special service, conducted by Rev. D. McNeill, was held on June 8th, 1975 commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the United Church of Canada. The church was filled with members of both the Crandall and Oak River congregations.

Mac and Scott Doupe opened the service with a trumpet fanfare and led the congregation in the anthem. The choirs under the leadership of Marj O'Connor, Louise Hyndman and Barbara Angus, were enjoyed by all.

Various members of the community, realizing the importance of the church in the community presented glimpses into the past.

Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Barr who were married 7 years prior to the church union of 1925 cut, following the service, a beautiful cake decorated by Mrs. McNeill in the shape of a huge 50. Also a delicious meal was served by the UCW for both the young and old.

In the afternoon Mr. and Mrs. Bob Hopley presented a slide show of Africa. We were also able to watch the United Church's Fiftieth Anniversary on television.

On July 6th, 1975 Crandall celebrated 75 years of service. Many months were spent tracking down addresses of past residents so invitations could be mailed. The choir once again was under the leadership of Marj O'Connor and Louise Hyndman. Marj O'Connor and Scott Doupe performed a piano and organ recital before the service.

Rev. D. McNeill gave the call to worship and Malcolm Doupe on the trumpet with Scott Doupe on the piano played the anthem. Rev Victor Bowins and Rev. Anthony Friebert were also in attendance.

Following the service the ladies of the community served a cold plate supper. Thank yous were extended to all those who helped, flowers were presented to some of the senior citizens and a good time was enjoyed by all.

On September 2, 1990 Crandall celebrated 90 years of service. Invitations were extended, the church was beautifully decorated and the church was full.

The service was under the leadership of Rev. Garfield Barber, Rev. Don McNeill, and Rev. Tom Delgaty. Mrs. Alice Rudd gave "Moments to Remember" as she remembered them from growing up in the Crandall church.

Following the service a cold plate meal was served by the UCW in the hall. An anniversary cake was made by Mrs. Nora Shier and was cut by Mrs. Molly Hyndman who was celebrating her 87th birthday and also by Bert Lawrence who was the oldest member of the congregation at 96 years.

An afternoon was enjoyed by many as they visited with old acquaintances.

October 22, 1995 marked the 95th anniversary of Crandall United Church. Christy Morton and Hazel Henderson played a piano­organ prelude to the special service planned. Rev. David Morton was the officiating minister. Pictures were taken following the service and a time of visiting over coffee, cookies and juice was enjoyed by all in attendance. W.I. books and archives were supplied by Geraldine Steen for all to enjoy.

Crandall Church closes its doors after 100 years
By Lena Lawrence submitted to the Hamiota Echo

In 1900, the Crandall community church was built and opened to serve the people of Methodist, Presbyterian and Anglican faiths.

Now, 100 years later, this church which became the United Church in 1925, has closed its doors officially. It has once again become a community church as it was in the beginning. It will function at the discretion of the community centre board, which has taken over management of the building.

A special service commemorating 100 years of continuous service was held on July 2 at 2:30 p.m. This was held in conjunction with the Homecoming 2000 celebrations that were held over the weekend. A capacity crowd filled the church with many listening outdoors.

Hazel Henderson gave an organ prelude followed by the gathering of a mass choir made up of local and former residents, approximately 35 in total.

The sanctuary was decorated with floral tributes placed there in memory of deceased family members. Honoured in this manner were: Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Henderson, Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Nankivell, Mr. and Mrs. Bert Lawrence, Ben Doupe, George and Donnie Ariss, Mr. and Mrs. R. O'Connor, Mr. Al Hirst and the Johnston families.

The service began under the leadership of Rev. Tom Delgaty of Minnedosa, Manitoba and Rev. David Morton of Cranbrook, British Columbia, both former ministers here.

Ivan Lawrence, chairman of the church planning committee brought greetings from the congregation. Rev. Delgaty offered greetings to everyone as the service began. Following the call to worship, the congregation sang a favourite hymn, "The Lord's My Shepherd."

Former Crandall resident, Stuart Johnson of Winnipeg, Manitoba gave some facts of the church history, adding some personal reminiscences.

The choir, under the direction of Donna (Douglas) Johnson of Winnipeg sang the beautiful anthem "Precious Memories", a very appropriate and moving selection. Solo/duet parts were sung by Linda (O'Connor) Lyng of Virden, Manitoba and Jan (Mitchell) Carnegie of Arrow River.

The children's story, given by Rev. Morton captivated both the children, young and not so young. He likened a slab of a 90 year old plus spruce tree (that he brought from British Columbia) to the life of the church showing good years and lean years of growth and struggle. This was followed by the children's hymn "Jesus loves Me". Rev. Morton read the scriptures: Psalm 103; Matthew 4, 1-16.

At this time, Ken Smith and his sister, Judy Ried sang a duet accompanied by their mother, Violet (Hazelwood) Smith of Hamiota who had written the song, "Thank you, Heavenly Father", for the 1982 homecoming church serVIce.

During the offering Rev. Morton sang "Bless this House", accompanied by his wife Christy on the piano.

Rev. Delgaty gave the timely message, "100 Years in the Service of God." Following a prayer, and the Lord's Prayer, Rev. Morton sang a powerful rendition of "All is Well With My Soul."

The final hymn, another old favourite, "The Church's One Foundation," was sung followed by the benediction and a choral benediction.

Glen Neustaeter, chairman of Assiniboine Presbytery, spoke a few words on the closure of the church. Rev. Delgaty now declared the church closed as the United Church of Canada, and committed the building to the care of the community. Though regular services will no longer be held, the doors will remain open for such occasions as weddings, funerals, and special times of worship and celebration. He stated that this in itself was a cause for rejoicing.

Following the service, the unveiling of the newly erected cairn took place with Rev. Delgaty as master of ceremonies. Margaret (Doupe) Heise, of Hamiota spoke briefly of her affiliation with Crandall and Geraldine (Doupe) Steen of Hamiota and Ada Fleming of Crandall who are both long time members of the church cut the ribbon. Everyone was invited to share in refreshments and anniversary cake cut by Lois (Dickey) Daly and Jean (Fleming) Watson. With this, a very special service came to an end.

Assisting prior to and during the service were Stan Doupe and Ivan Lawrence as ushers. Stan, Ivan, David Lawrence and Brian Johnston received the offering.

Crandall U.C.W. Disbands

Wednesday, January 12, 2000 marked the final meeting of the Crandall United Church Women (UCW), an organization that has been constant since it evolved out of the Women's Missionary Society and Women's Auxiliary on January 1, 1962.

The purpose of this new group formed from the uniting of two groups was as follows: "To unite all women of the congregation for the total mission of the church and to provide a medium through which they may express their loyalty and devotion to Jesus Christ in Christian witness study, fellowship and service."

The very first meeting of Crandall UCW was held January 10, 1962 in the church parlour with 15 ladies present. The first president was Alice Rudd.

The UCW remained strong and constant over the intervening years, supporting charities, the local church, Mission and Service, and served the community with suppers and luncheons, among other things locally, and continued to follow the "purpose" under which the organization was founded.

As the years progressed, attendance dwindled, mostly due to fewer residents and people retiring to other areas. The same factors affected the local church, which was closed at the end of June 2000, after 100 years of service.

Nora Shier, Ada Fleming, Vel Doupe, Roberta Wallace, Hazel Henderson, and Lena Lawrence, marking the end of a vibrant component of the Crandall community attended the final UCW meeting.

Crandall Choir
During the 1970's, Crandall Church had a Junior and Senior Choir under the leadership of Louise Hyndman with Marj O'Connor as organist. As the young people grew up, several left the community, leaving only a few who joined with the senior choir, these leaving as well after graduating from high school.

As a choir we were asked to sing at Parkissmo Lodge, several concerts, showers and funerals. With Rev. T. Delgaty as minister, we journeyed to Brandon Mental Hospital one Sunday afternoon in the 80's, where he gave a service to the patients. We also took turns with other churches and denominations, going with our minister to Birch Lodge and Park Residence.

In the early 1980's during Marj O'Connors illness, Mae Taylor and Hazel Henderson filled in as organists and upon Marj's death in November of 1981, Hazel Henderson took over as organist assisted by Mae Tay1or, Mayme Hirst, Lynda Long, Evelyn Delgaty and Christy Morton. Hazel remained as organist until the church's closure in July 2000.

Due to the deaths of some choir members or members moving away from the community, the choir dwindled away to a faithful few.

To celebrate 45 years with Oak River/Crandall Pastoral charge, on June 25, 2000 we had a joint service at Crandall. Oak River choir members joined us and sang a very fitting anthem. Officiating minister was Rev. T. De1gaty, assisted by Pastor Craig Gibbs and John Shaw.

After a decision to close the Crandall Church, our final church service, celebrating 100 years, was held. on July 2, 2000 as part of our Homecoming Reunion. Former choir members were invited to join together and sang an anthem during the service. Rev. T. Delgaty and Rev D. Morton officiated at this service.