Our Congregation History
Historical interviews and data compiled and written by Pastor David Crook
The beginning of the Halifax Seventh-day Adventist Church goes back to 1887 when Pastor J.E. Kimball held evangelistic meetings and baptized six people. A Mrs. Hunt and a Mrs. Patterson, who were from Dartmouth, remained long-time members.
In the late 1970s Manuella Verge Coolen told the following to Pastor David Crook: In the summer of 1899 she and her sister were out walking and when they came to the corner of Robie and West Young Streets they met two boys who gave them a handbill which advertised tent meetings to be held by Pastor G.E. Langdon. Their family and relatives attended all the meetings resulting in 11 baptisms. When the weather got too cold, the meetings continued in the Northern Star Hall on Agricola Street. The first Seventh-day Adventist church was organized there on May 22, 1900 by Pastor Langdon with 21 members and 51 Sabbath School members. Later they moved to the Sons of Temperance Hall on Cornwallis Street which was a better location. The first camp meeting was held there.
The first church was built on the corner of Maynard and Ontario Streets with William Guthrie as pastor. The first service was held in 1903. The Halifax Explosion, on December 6, 1917, completely destroyed the church. The little group then moved to Courtneys Hall on Brunswick Street, and later to a building on The Commons which had been erected for World War I use.
In 1919 a $10,000 mortgage was obtained and a contractor hired to erect the present church building on 2063 Parker Street. Lumber came from demolished buildings on The Commons that served World War I and also temporary housing for people who had lost their homes in the Halifax Explosion. In 1920-21 the church was ready for occupancy. Half the congregation moved away in 1920 to obtain work which made a difficult year for the church. The church was known as The Women's Church because the largest part of the congregation were women. In 1925 the Munroe family immigrated from Bermuda, thus increasing the membership. The building has remained basically the same except for some interior renovations, a steeple erected and the entrance changed in 1957 during Pastor Ray Matthews tenure.
In 1928 a school was started in the basement which operated intermittently for several years but finally ran consistently and grew to a three-teacher school. In October 1975 the school was moved to the newly-built Sandy Lake Academy on Hammonds Plains Road, Bedford. It continues operating as a 12-grade school to this day. The Halifax church has always been a great supporter of Christian education.
Many evangelistic meetings were held in the early days. In 1935 Pastor O.D. Cardey held meetings in the Empire Theatre on Barrington Street resulting in 33 people baptized. More recently city-wide meetings were held by the following: Pastor Dalrymple from Faith for Today TV program in the late 1960s at St. Andrews School; Pastor George Knowles at Tower Road school in 1971; Pastors David Crook and Gordon Pifher in the Halifax church in 1972; Dr, Steven Vitrano in 1974 held a Field School of Evangelism with Andrews University students at St. Andrews School; Pastor Lawton Lowe in the Fairview School in the late 1970s; Pastors Shawn Boonstra and Henry Feyerabend held "Revelation Speaks Peace" satellite program at Dalhousie University in October 2002; Pastor Dan Wilson at Dalhousie University in 2010. Our present pastor, Kevin Scott, came in June 2014 and committed to holding a series of evangelistic meetings each year, which he has done.
Pastors who have served over the years are: William Guthrie, E.M. Chapman, M. Mackintosh, Joseph Capman, Walter Clemenson, F.W. Stray, James Ward, George MacLean, Ainsley Blair, Pastor Elmer Whelpley, Ray Matthews, Fred Crump, James Reynolds, Fred Bell, Arthur Hands, David Crook, Ron Myers, Edward Richards, Ken Schander, John Gilbert, Roy Dubyna, Larry Hall, Roy Uffindell, Daniel Wilson, Gary Belhomme and Kevin Scott.
Music was always an important part of the Halifax church. Members remember Mrs. Whitney as the pianist for years. Ann Hiscock led the choir with Gladys Hubley as organist. Marjorie Hild conducted the choir with Marie Soper as organist for over 40 years. Elvira Zemlyak served as organist for many years. Doug Perrott, our present organist, has served for many years also.
MEMORIES -- Doug Perrott recalls walking the five miles, regardless of weather, every Sabbath with his father and brothers to church. His father was the janitor and would get the coal fire burning. Brian and Sandra Hiscock and Marjorie Hild remember the delightful youth meetings (Missionary Volunteer) each Friday night. Serious rehearsal took place for these meetings and the attendance was large. Many recall the Food Bank which operated in the garage next to the church run by Melvin Boutilier and his helpers.
The Halifax church continues today at 2063 Parker Street with 163 members which includes many who have come to the Halifax area from other countries for work and education.