Beginning in 1946 . . .
… when Yellowknife was still a hard-working, hard-playing gold mining town on the northern frontier, Charlie Smith, a field missionary for the Baptist Union of Western Canada (BUWC) came north to see if a Baptist Church was needed. It was. At the time, “new town” was just opening up and two lots were chosen there for the fledgling mission. When Ken Allaby, a young pastor in Saint John, heard about it he wrote to see if anybody had been appointed to go.
Here is how Charlie replied:
‘Needless to say, it affords us not a little joy to hear of someone who feels the call to the great North West. I want to assure you that, if I were younger, you would have rivalry in this regard, as work of this nature strongly appeals to me…. I want to assure you that the work will be difficult. Yellowknife is a rough and tumble place. A minister needs to be rugged in physique, readily adaptable to any situation that may arise. Yet to be strongly evangelistic in his every contact…. there are some Baptist people in Yellowknife, but it does not necessarily mean that they are of the calibre with which to build a work.’
With such encouraging words Ken Allaby set out for Yellowknife and arrived on July 3, 1947. For two months Ken lived alone in a tent, held services in the Canadian Legion Hall and made arrangements for the mission buildings. His wife, Marj, and son Bryan joined him in August.
In 1954 the Baptist Mission became Calvary Baptist Church. A building project in 1962 saw the little mission building grow to include a Sunday School wing. Then in 1977 a whole new and larger sanctuary with balcony and basement were added. In the mid 1980’s the name of the church was changed to Calvary Community Church.
Over the years Calvary Community Church has been a vital part of the community of Yellowknife. It peaked in attendance and activity in the early eighties when we had two pastors, a vibrant music ministry and support for a number of missionaries who were sent from our church to various full time missions around the world. As well, our young people were called to minister in such countries as Nepal and Italy and with such groups as Operation Mobilization and the Celebrant Singers. Many of the future Celebrant Singers received part of their musical training singing in the popular Christmas and Easter cantatas through which the CCC Chapel Singers reached out to the local community.
In October 2004 the church welcomed Pastors John and Ann Webster. Their loving leadership and faithfulness to God’s calling has led the church to where it is today. They have ministered the church through series such as ‘’The Purpose Driven Life’ and ‘Growing for Life’; series that have allowed people to discover and display their gifts and talents.
The church has adopted “Moved by God’s Love into Action” as its Mission Statement. In recent years the church has been mindful to have an outward focus. Calvary Community Church sent a team of youth and adults on a short term mission to Nicaragua after Christmas 2006. The church was enthusiastic about the CBWC outreach ‘Serve 2007’, hosting the youth mission initiative in Yellowknife for a week in July 2007. We had an opportunity to watch as the community witnessed the fruits of service for God. During the past two years members have spent a day washing cars, for free, as part of “Love Yellowknife” a day of service and outreach into the community with other churches.
In the fall of 2008, Pastors John and Ann announced their impending retirement in mid-2009. In their five years with us, they continued to nurture our spiritual health, and helped us grow in our faith. We will not soon forget the Growing for Life series, the baptisms, the cabbages, and the kilt! We bid John and Ann a sad farewell in June of 2009, but we fully expected God would use them in new ways in retirement, and they soon found new roles as interim pastors.
In the meantime, Calvary Community Church began the search for a new pastor, seeking the person God was calling to Yellowknife. In August, we welcomed our new interim pastor, Charles French. The following year was full of new growth, high energy, and plenty of ‘rabbi-trails’ in the sermons! But by spring of 2010, Pastor Chuck was moving on to warmer climes in Victoria.
Our long-serving pastoral search committee ramped up again, and soon came across Pastor Derek and his family who served at Calvary Community Church until December of 2015.
In August of 2016, our new pastor Randy joined us along with his wife, Kim, and their three children.
Rev. J.K. Allaby (1947-1950)
Rev. Judson Stade (1950-1954)
Rev. John Milton (1955-1959)
Pastor William Davidson (1961-1963)
Pastor F. Dean Annis (1963)
Pastor Ray Price (1964-1972)
Rev. Ralph Easter (1972)
Rev. Allen McPhedran (1972-1982)
Pastor Gene Howard (1982-1984)
Pastor Brad Crossley (1984-1989)
Chris Mathisen (1989- 1990)
Rod McLeish (1990-1994)
Larry Warkentin (1996 -2003)
Pastor Abe Block (2003-2004) – Interim
Pastors John and Anne Webster (2004-2009)
Pastor Chuck French (2009-2010) – Interim
Pastor Derek Kaemingk (2010-2015)
Pastor Randy Loewen (2016-Current)