History of Gibbons UC
Gibbons United Church became part of the UCC on June 10, 1925–the day the United Church of Canada was inaugurated. It became part of the Bon Accord Circuit of the United Church, along with Coronado, Excelsior, Namao, Cardiff and Bon Accord United Churches. The church had first been recognized by the Presbyterian Church in 1922–the year the Ladies’ Aide was constituted. In the beginning, the Gibbons congregation met in members’ homes. In 1930, funds were raised by the Ladies’ Aide to purchase the town bank building, which became the first permanent home for Gibbons United Church. Gibbons UC was known for having a very good Sunday School. On average, there were 33 children attending in 1938.
By the 1950’s, the church was no longer associated with the United Church and the church did not have regular worship services. Sunday School was still offered by the “Sunday School Circle”. This energetic and enterprising group of women worked together to conduct an interdenominational Sunday School for up to 70 children from the Gibbons area. In 1966, the Sunday School Circle purchased an old school house (from Sturgeon County) which sat on the present site of Gibbons United Church. They moved the Sunday School classes from the bank building to the present site in 1967. Until 1981, the church building was independently maintained by the Sunday School Circle.
In 1980, a group of people from Gibbons began to explore the possibility of re-establishing the United Church in Gibbons. On September 14, 1980, regular worship services began to be held in the current Gibbons United Church building. On May 10, 1981 the church once again became a congregation of the United Church of Canada, becoming part of the Redwater Pastoral Charge. The pastoral charge boundaries were later revised, and Gibbons United Church joined with Coronado United Church to form Sturgeon Valley Pastoral Charge.
In 1984 and 1985 the Gibbons United Church building underwent a complete facelift. An addition was added to the front of the church, and the sanctuary was enlarged and reconstructed. Two offices were added upstairs and a kitchen and a Sunday School classroom were built downstairs. The renovation of the church was a great community builder. Many volunteers from the Gibbons congregation joined hands with friends from the community to make their dream come true. The church building was re-dedicated on May 12, 1985.
A lot has changed in the past 30 years. Sturgeon Valley Pastoral Charge began with full time ministry, but since the 1980’s, church attendance has significantly declined across Canada. On July 1, 2000 we went from full time ministry to 1/2 time ministry. But we have rallied again, and on July 1, 2010 we went to 3/4 time ministry.
In 1987, Coronado United Church joined with Gibbons United Church to form Sturgeon Valley Pastoral Charge. In the early days, separate Sunday services were held in Gibbons United Church and in Coronado United Church from September to June. In the summer months we worshipped together. It was suggested that since attendance was lower, and we enjoyed each other’s company through the summer months, why should we quit worshipping together? We began holding combined worship services on November 17,2002, with the location of the service alternating from Sunday to Sunday. Although we each maintain our own status as separate congregations within the United Church of Canada, we come together for worship and community outreach projects. In this coming together, our churches have grown stronger and our connections now run deeper.
For many years we have served as a training site for student ministers. We are so very proud of our many student ministers who went on to be formally recognized as ministers in the United Church of Canada. We pray that the next 90 years will be as rich and full as the first 90!