Over the last 12 years we have been truly blessed. In 1993 a group of 11 families and 2 singles (24 Adults and 27 children) decided to start a new church.Most of the families came out of the Sonrise Christian Reformed Church of Ponoka. After many meetings we finally officially organized. This special event took place on Monday July 12, 1993 at the Kinsmen Recreation centre at 7:30pm. Rev. J Tuininga led the evening. We used an improvised pulpit which consisted of a table with a Huggies diaper box on it! That same evening 2 Elders and 2 Deacons were chosen. We also decided to call a minister right away that evening, namely Henry Van Olst. Now that we had our own church, we had to decide on a name. Everybody was asked to come up with ideas. Three names stood out which were: Parkland Independent Reformed Church, Faith Independent Reformed Church and Covenant Independent Reformed Church.As we all know the result of that vote, our church was called Parkland Independent Reformed Church.Our first official church service took place on July 18 in the Ponoka Christian School portables on highway 2A. Rev. T. Hoekstra from Neerlandia led our services that Sunday.
By August 1, 1993, Henry Van Olst accepted our call. The church bought a parsonage soon after we knew we had a minister coming.The Van Olst family moved to Ponoka at the end of August. Rev. H Van Olst was officially ordained as a minister on October 30, 1993.This took place in the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Ponoka where Rev. J. Tuiniga led the service.
All the council meetings and the Bible study meetings were held in the basement of the parsonage because we did not have our own church building yet. Since we did not have our own facilities we worshipped in many different places. The places we worshipped include the senior Drop-In Centre, the Kinsmen Recreation Center, The Seventh Day Adventist Church and even under the sunny blue sky! On the Sunday that we worshipped outside, the place we were supposed to worship was unexpectedly occupied. The minister had to cut his sermon short because the sun was beating down and it was getting too hot.
In September, 1993, we were able to rent the Seventh Day Adventist School for our church services and for our catechism classes. We bought white plastic lawn chairs which were set up every Saturday evening in the gym by the Van Olst family. Pete Walls built a folding pulpit and we used a cart to wheel our organ in and out. Mr. Sam Salomons built a portable platform which was also wheeled in for the minister to stand on. This was our minister's first raise!
The Federation of the Independent Reformed Churches took place on October 2, 1996. We are now affiliated with the United Reformed Churches of North America (URCNA). God blessed our church and it grew rapidly. After seven years we built our own facilities. Many people were eager to help so we hired Mr. Per Sakstad who had lots of experience working with volunteers.
On August 25, 2000, our church building was dedicated to the Glory of God. The dedication text was
John 4:24; "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
In 2007 Rev. Van Olst accepted a call to Rehoboth United Reformed Church in Ancaster, Ontario.
We then called Rev. Mitch Ramkissoon who now serves our congregation in our new facilities.
© Parkland United Reformed Church - Ponoka, Alberta