Families of many different religious denominations settled in the Warren area, but oddly, only two churches were ever built in the district. The first was the old Meadow Lea Methodist Church built in 1881-82 on the northeast corner of the S.E. 1/2 of 27-13-2W. (close to the present home of Bill Myskiw). This church served the largest Methodist congregation west of Winnipeg. The grandparents of many present Warren residents were staunch supporters of this church.
After the Canadian Northern Railway was built through the S.W. 1/4 of section 28 and S.E. 1/4 of 29 in 1903, some of the Methodist church members moved east to be close to transportation. They drove the four miles west to services at the Meadow Lea Methodist church until 1907. By then most of the congregation had moved eastward towards the railway, and so it was decided to hold services in the village. Reverend W. H. Stratton, the student minister in charge of the Meadow Lea Methodist circuit, conducted the first service in the village in 1907, held in the home of Mr. and Mrs. R. O. MacDonald. Services were later held in the Hanlan School which had been moved to the west side of the village.
Mr. Findlay McIntosh owned the quarter section south of the "Air Line railroad" which is now known as MacDonald Avenue. He sold a lot to the interested church people for $1.00. However, he died before the deed was transferred and his land was sold to C. F. McNaughton in 1910, who apparently honored the deal, and sold them a second lot for $100.00 in case they needed land for a manse. The Warren Methodist Church was built on Lot 1, while Lot 2 was kept for a manse, whenever that need arose.
A Board of Trustees was organized for the church the winter of 1909-10 when Reverend Thos. Merryweather was student minister. The members of this Board were: A. Lobb, R. Jones, M. S. Peacock, R. J. Hunter, G. J. Doak and R. O. MacDonald.
As soon as a new church was talked about, the ladies of the community started thinking about ways of raising money. On August 1, 1910, the inaugural meeting of the newly formed Warren Methodist Ladies Aid was held. Mrs. Steele was President; Mrs. Robert Hunter - Secretary; Mrs. R. O. MacDonald - Treasurer; and members were Mesdames George Doak, Robert Jones, Peacock, S. Badham, Andrews, J. Jones, Lord, Cawley, J. Bassett and Miss M. Badham. These ladies held the first annual Thanksgiving or Fall Supper (as it is now called) on November 9, 1911. This first supper netted $37.25.
The church members borrowed $400.00 from the Methodist Church and Parsonage Fund to help pay for building expenses. Wes Horner was paid $500.00 for the stonework of the basement. Stanley Peacock was awarded the contract for building the church and he started framing it in 1912.
In March, 1913, Mr. and Mrs. R. Cawley and the choir were busy preparing for the opening of the new church on Easter Sunday. The church was officially opened October 20, 1913 when Reverend J. B. Palmer was student minister. For many years the church was served by student ministers. Presumably they were single as no manse was needed. Their billets and some meals were paid for be the Ladies Aid. The loan from the Methodist Church and Parsonage Fund was paid off August 6, 1918.
As the peace rolled by, the new church was served by many dedicated men. Those who served the Meadow Lea Methodist Circuit from 1876 until the birth of the United Church of Canada, in 1925, include:1876-78, Rev. M. R. Morrison;1878-80, Rev. George Hewitt;1880-81, Rev. C. Mearing;1881-82, Rev. A. B. Hames;1883-86, Rev. John Ruttan;1886-88, Rev. F. M. Finn;1888-89. Rev. J. M. Harrison;1890, Rev. W. L. Armstrong, Rev. A. Gordon;1892-93, Rev. J. Wesley Johnson;1894-95, Rev. J. W. Dickinson, Rev. S. O. Irvine, Rev. Hiram Hall,Rev. J. A. McClung;1898-1900, Rev. J. Peters;1900-02, Rev. V. H. Rust;1902-04, Rev. W. Wright;1904, Rev. E. G. Hopper;1907-08, Rev. W. H. Stratton;1908, Rev. Wilding;1908-10, Rev. Thos. Merryweather;1910-11, Rev. Lord;1911, Rev. W. R. Tanton;1912, Rev. Callow;1914, Rev. J. B. Palmer;1916, Rev. Greene;1917, Rev. D. M. Kennedy;1919, Rev. Morrow;1920-21, Rev. A. E. Weaver;1921-22, Rev. L. L. Meech;1922-25, UNKNOWN.
The Church had been strong through those years; and the Ladies Aid very active. There had been a Sunday School for the children, with Mr. Nat. Scott, Superintendent for some of those years. In 1925 an important step was taken when the Methodist Church, the Congregational Church, and most of the Presbyterian Churches of Canada were united to form the United Church of Canada. This took place on June 10, 1925. The Warren Methodist Church now became Warren United Church. The deed for the church still remains in the name of the Methodist Church and the Trustees listed on it are: Thos. Scott, Nathaniel Scott, J. D. Bassett, R. J. Hunter, R. O. MacDonald, B. G. Doak, F. McRae and Geo. Tait. Brant-Argyle United Church came into the Warren-Meadow Lea Charge at this time.
Reverend D. B. Sparling was one of the first ministers after union.
No manse had been needed until 1926. Reverend R. Denniston had been living in the Agricultural Hall, but it was getting too cold to remain there. The Church Board then bought the Wm. McCrimmon house and lot for $2600.00. Trustees of the Manse were: J. F. McCullough (Argyle), J. D. Bassett and Thomas Scott. The men soon discovered that finishing the manse and interest on borrowed money would raise the total cost to $4500.00. Mr. Wm. Tait had bequeathed $900.00 for this project. A subscription (canvass) in the community raised $1400.00 and Mr. Thomas Scott loaned the Board $1700.00 at 7% interest.
Reverend J. L. Fargey was a young ordained minister, who filled in for two months in the spring of 1928. He wrote, "Mr. Wm. Rae was principal (of the school) at the time. He and I boarded at Mr. and Mrs. Les Doak's. We had good congregations at church, and the baseball team was pretty nearly all present at the services."
The Ladies Aid had been busy every year serving fowl suppers in the church basement and dinners at the Agricultural fairs. They held teas, plant sales and home cooking sales. They also sponsored plays. With these monies they paid for a cement floor and a furnace to be installed in the manse basement in 1929.
Reverend N. R. Wright was minister that year.
Reverend G. W. and Mrs. Hinds moved into the manse, the summer of 1930. They were instrumental in starting a Young Peoples group, with their first meeting on Monday, November 30, 1931. On the first executive were: President - Bill Munro, Vice President - Mrs. Hinds, Secretary-Treasurer - Muriel Erratt; Literary - Ray Kahler, Social - Eileen McRae. The Hinds stayed until the summer of 1934 when they moved to Eriksdale.
It was the midst of the Depression when Reverend George and Mrs. Hambley, along with their children, Grant. John and Ruth came to Warren from High Bluff. In the fall of 1934, after Hambleys had settled into the Manse, a stable and garage were built on the property.
(In those days you could only drive a car in warm weather. Come cold weather the car was put up on blocks and the horses were hitched up again). Many a tale could be told of driving the minister, in thirty below Fahrenheit weather, with horses and cutter to services at Grosse Isle, Rosser or Meadow Lea.
The mortgage on the Manse had only been reduced to $990.00 by the fall of 1934, so the Ladies Aid offered to assume responsibility for it. That fall they paid $308.00 ($254.00 principal and $54.00 interest) on the loan. For the next three pears they paid the same amount and the mortgage was paid off by the fall of 1937. The Hambleys stayed until July, 1938, when Reverend John McLeod came to serve as the minister. He and Mrs. McLeod and their growing family remained in the manse until 1944. In September, 1943, an Honor Roll was unveiled in the church; then in 1947, it was updated to include all the men and women who were in the Armed Forces during World War II. Reverend John McLeod of Carberry was guest speaker on this occasion.
Bible Vacation School was started during Reverend Joseph and Dorothy Wiznuk's sojourn in the Charge. They and their children, Sonja and Donald, came from Snowflake the fall of 1944. They staged until 1947 when they moved to the Stonewall United Church. At this time Brant Argyle United Church was transferred to the Stonewall Charge.
It should be noted here that as well as taking the church services at four churches every Sunday, all the previous ministers and their successors worked with Young People's groups or Boys' groups. Their wives were also alive with Mission Band, C.G.I.T. and the Ladies Aid.
July 1952 saw the arrival of the Reverend Abel and Rita Parsons. That fall it was decided that a church hall was required. Under the Parsons' able instruction, rehearsals for plays were held. These plays were shown at neighboring villages that winter, to raise money for the planned addition. The summer of 1953 found many volunteers busy building the new Youth Hall, which was completed free of debt, thanks to the fundraising plays. At this time the older church members decided to donate money in memory of their parents. This Memorial Fund was used to purchase a Hammond electric organ, which was dedicated April 11, 1954.
Harold Alston (a student minister), his wife Sue and family came to serve the church in 1955. After Harold's ordination in 1957, they moved to Edmonton.
Dr. P. N. Murray and Mrs. Murray came with their daughters the summer of 1957. During the 1950's it was difficult to keep a minister, as Warren-Rosser Charge was not a wealthy Charge, and four church services on a Sunday made a heavy load. Dr. Murray was then retirement age, but he kept the church active during his four years here.
Nels Itterman, a student minister, was in charge of the Warren-Rosser Charge from July 1961, until Reverend John Ross accepted the call.
Unfortunately one morning, in April of 1964 the manse caught fire and burned to the ground. Thankfully Mr. and Mrs. Itterman and their children escaped uninjured. All their possessions were lost, as well as many church records. By the time Reverend John, Winnifred, and David Ross arrived in July 1964, a new manse had been bought by the Charge and moved onto a new basement at the former site. The basement and finishing work of the new manse was all done by volunteer labor.
The Selkirk Presbytery was formed in 1963. It incorporated the United Church congregations of the Interlake, and those east of the Red River. Previously these congregations had been part of the Winnipeg Presbytery. Now these rural churches became more directly involved in administering their own affairs, and the Warren congregation became more aware of its role at large.
The Ross family left Warren in 1972. That fall an Agricultural missionary, who had been serving in Japan, was inducted into the Warren-Rosser Charge. Reverend Cornelius Moerman, his wife, Sieny, daughters - Margaret and Esther, and son, Bob had come to Warren.
In 1977 an addition, 24 feet by 30 feet was built on the southside of the Youth Hall. A staunch member, Sam Davidson, had remembered the local church in his will. This money was used to make more room available for Sunday School and church functions. Davidson Hall was dedicated the fall of 1977. By 1981 the decision had been made to further expand, and a 16 foot by 44 foot addition was started on the west side of Davidson Hall. During 1981 to 1982, volunteer labor and generous donations turned this addition into a minister's office, kitchen and bathrooms. This project was completed in 1984 when the rest of the kitchen cupboards were installed. Along with the new and extended building came another big change to the church. After long years of discussion, the evening worship service was discontinued in the fall of 1981. The congregation and Sunday School now meet together for worship service at 11:30 every Sunday morning.
The Ladies Aid remained active all through these years. When the new Memorial Hall was built in 1939, Thanksgiving or Fall Suppers were no longer held in the church basement. With the addition of the Youth Hall, the stairs down from the front vestibule were closed off and a new entrance made off the hall. The Ladies Aid could now use the new hall for their small functions such as teas and meetings. The Ladies Aid was subjected to name changes over the years. Their official title became Women's Auxiliary, and the Women's Missionary Society was a branch of their local church group. But they had always been known as the Ladies Aid and they remained that until 1962.
That year all women's groups were reorganized into the United Church Women (U.C.W.). Warren had an afternoon and evening unit of U.C.W. for several years. Today there is one group doing the same work. They still serve Fall suppers with the congregation's help; hold teas, help with local church expenses and the church at large. No longer is there any need for an "egg shower'' such as was held in the mid-1940's, when eggs were needed for the Fresh Air Camp for underprivileged children at Gimli.
There has been an active Sunday School at Warren for many years. Bill Calder had been superintendent for many of those years. At this time the annual picnic was usually held in Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg. Not everyone had a car in those days, so Mr. Calder and Mr. Sam Davidson, would take their trucks loaded with youngsters and parents, into the park (it was legal to haul human beings at that time). The annual picnic has been held at the church for the last number of years and the Sunday School is still an active force in the church family.
Over the years many church groups have flourished in Warren. A choir, (sometimes large and sometimes small), accompanied by dedicated organists, has led most Church and Sunday School services.
The Young People's Group became the "Hi-C's'' during the l960's. As times and school population changed, so did the "Hi-C's'', until it gradually faded from view. Many of these young people had been delegates to the annual Tuxis Parliament, an experience they enjoyed. The C.G.I.T. was another group which rose and fell with the number of interested girls in the community. Mission Band, Explores, Tyros, as well as Vacation Bible School have all been a vital part of the church. Over the years Warren United Church has had and still has many dedicated people working in its different groups. The church members who have given so freely of their time, talents and money are too numerous to mention. The same dedication and responsibility is still highly visible today, and so the work of the Church continues on as it did for our pioneers.
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