History of Coronado UC

History of Coronado United Church
At the turn of the 20th century, people began to settle in the Coronado area.  At first, community worship services were held on Sunday afternoons in local homes.  In 1920, the Canadian National Railway came through Coronado.  The CNR offered the use of the train station waiting room for Sunday worship services.   A small pump organ was purchased, and Rev. Corbett–a retired minister–led the services.
In 1924 an empty two room pool hall was purchased to be used for worship services.  To pay for the building, the premises were rented to a family who lived in the back room and ran a small store out of the front room. Consequently, the services were held between bags of flour and cans of fruit.  In 1927, the Coronado Community Church joined the Bon Accord circuit of the United Church of Canada, which included Gibbons, Excelsior, Namao, Cardiff and Bon Accord United Churches.

Laidies' Aide Cleanup Day 1935

Ladies’ Aide Cleanup Day 1935

In 1933, fire destroyed the Coronado United Church building.  With insurance proceeds of $580, a new 24′ x 40′ church was built on two acres of land which were donated by Ben Berry.  The building consisted of a sanctuary, a kitchen and a small front porch.  In addition to Sunday worship and Sunday School, the sanctuary was well used by the community.  It was home to concerts, community suppers and plays put on by the local drama group.  The kitchen was a boon to the ladies’ Aide, which had been active for several years.  Finally, they had a proper facility for their teas and suppers.  These fundraisers were very important for the maintenance of the church and fellowship within the community.
In 1938, the local school board wished to establish a school in the Coronado area.  The church building housed the school from September 1938 until June 1941.  In 1941, the Uffort School (west of Redwater) was moved to Coronado.  That school closed in 1949 when school busing to Gibbons was begun.  In 1950, the Uffort School house became the Coronado Community Centre.
In 1950, Redwater became a boom town after the discovery of oil in the area.  A United Church was established in the town of Redwater, and Coronado and Gibbons United Churches joined with them as one Pastoral Charge.  Ministry students from St. Stephen’s College–Larry Moore being the first–led three services each Sunday throughout the 1950’s.  As Coronado United Church had the 11:00 a.m. service, families in the Coronado congregation took turns sharing Sunday dinner with the students.  Very close ties were formed with these young men and women and lots of good fellowship was shared.
In 1952, Bill Sayers–one of the student ministers–decided that a CGIT group should be formed for the young ladies in the area.  Lena Demarre and Mable Dawson agreed to lead the “Meeawassin Maidens”–the first CGIT group.  Several happy and productive CGIT years followed for these dedicated girls and their leaders.  Our Christmas Eve Candlelight services were initiated by the CGIT.  The services brought something very special to the community.  The last of the Meeawassin Maidens graduated in 1956.
In 1957, a junior choir was started by Mabel Dawson.  The choir was later led by Joan Briggs, then Helen Briggs.  In 1958, the church held a 25th anniversary service.  Dr. C.F. Johnstone of St. Stephen’s College was the guest speaker.  The minister at the time was Sam Nahirney–a lay supply minister from the Salvation Army.  In 1959, Coronado UC became part of the Moose Hill Pastoral Charge, which also included Redwater, Thorhild, Abee and Moose Hill.
In 1961, a second CGIT group was started by Lena Demarre.  Shortly thereafter, leadership of the group was assumed by Gail St. Nicolaas and Vivien Onushko.  This CGIT group–“The Twilighters”–continued until 1965.  Our annual Christmas Carolling outings are part of their legacy.  In 1961 the Coronado and Redwater youth also formed a joint “Hi-C” group.  Several years of good fun were enjoyed by a large number of teens.
By the early sixties, the intrusion of television into local homes had caused the Coronado Community Centre activities to dwindle.  Rather than have their building sit empty and unused, the members voted unanimously to turn the community hall and land over to Coronado Church so that they would continue to be used for the benefit of the community.  In 1965, the Coronado United Church building was moved 1/4 mile west so it could be joined to the Community Hall.  That Community Hall continues to be of service to the community.  It serves as an active and vibrant gathering place for community suppers, for play school, for community meetings and celebrations.  It even serves as a polling station from time to time.
As more young families began to move into the Gibbons and Coronado area in the 1970’s, Coronado United Church began to flourish.  From the late 1970’s to the mid 1990’s, there was a large Sunday School with wonderfully inventive teachers, and as many as 50 children.  For many years we had a very active ecumenical youth group who put on an annual dinner theatre.  The group was very popular with the youth of the area and the drama production was excellent.  We had a popular choir and exciting fellowship between our seniors and our young families.  It was just great!
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.
Over the past few years, the Coronado community has literally disappeared off of Alberta road maps several times.  It is through the efforts of the Coronado United Church Board that it keeps coming back onto the map.  And we hope it will stay there for at least another 100 years!

On February 12, 2020 Coronado and Gibbons United have Amalgamated to form the Coronado Gibbons United Church. Worship services are now held at Coronado United Church.

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