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Airdrie United Church members celebrate 100-year anniversary of first service

Those passing by the Airdrie United Church on First Avenue would have noticed a colourful tribute to the building's history on Jan. 8.
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Balloons and lawn ornaments were erected at the Airdrie United Church on Saturday to recognize the building's 100-year anniversary of its first service.

Those passing by the Airdrie United Church on First Avenue NW would have noticed a colourful tribute to the building's history on Jan. 8.

On that morning, a selection of lawn decorations and placards were set up in front of the facility to mark the 100-year anniversary of the church's first services in early 1922.

Members of the church who brought the centennial milestone to the attention of the Airdrie City View declined to be interviewed, but cited a book – Pioneers of Faith: North of the Bow River – that chronicles the building's history. According to an excerpt from the book, which included clippings from the Airdrie Recorders newspaper, the church's first services were held on Jan. 8 and 15, 1922. 

"In planning the new church, the building committee kept in mind, not only the building of a larger church, but to provide accommodation for the rapidly increasing Sunday School enrolment, which now numbers 125 pupils, and to have erected a substantial building, warmly constructed, well lighted, with adequate heating equipment and good ventilation," the excerpt reads. 

The book outlines how the first services followed the official laying of the cornerstone at the Airdrie church site in September 1921.

"Mr. W.H. Cushing spoke of an early church he helped to build for the Methodist and Presbyterian churches in the very early days of Calgary, and congratulated the Airdrie people on their get-together spirit in the present enterprise," stated the book, referencing an article from the Sept. 8, 1921 edition of the Airdrie Recorders.

The clipping went on to state the church building was constructed on land donated by A.B. Graves to the trustees of the Airdrie Methodist Church. According to the article, it was built in "cooperation territory," held in the name of the remaining denomination. "This cooperation scheme embraces the Presbyterian, Congregational, and Methodist Churches at present."

The book also outlined the church's programs for the Jan. 8 and 15, 1922 opening services. According to that program, speakers included Rev. C. Sykes, who was the pastor for the Central Methodist Church in Calgary, Rev. W. Simpson, the field secretary of religious education in the Anglican Church, and others.

When reached, staff of the Airdrie United Church said they were initially unaware of the centennial milestone, but were appreciative of the members' decision to set up the decorations.

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