Hillside Christian Fellowship Church

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Hillside Christian Fellowship Church

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The first Mennonites in Beechy, Saskatchewan were 1920s immigrants from Russia. When they first arrived in Canada, they settled in the Main Centre, Saskatchewan area, but eventually moved north of the Saskatchewan River in search of land. The Mennonite Brethren church in Beechy organized on July 19, 1925, as an offshoot of the Main Centre MB church. By 1927, the Beechy group had organized as an independent congregation called the Friedensheim Mennonite Brethren Church. Early on, the congregation met in Homaker's Hall, which formerly served as a schoolhouse. On most Sundays, however, the congregation divided into small groups and met in homes. The Depression stalled plans for a new church building. But in 1942, the Beechy congregation purchased a town hall, formerly used by the Mennonite Brethren congregation in Gilroy. The building was dismantled, transported to a section of land just outside of Beechy, and then used to construct a new church building. The building was moved to town in 1953, when the church became known as the Beechy Mennonite Brethren Church. Renovations to the building occurred in 1969 and again in 1975-6. In 1982, a new 10,000 sq. ft. building was constructed largely with volunteer labour. Again, with the new building came a new name, Hillside Christian Fellowship Centre. Until 1963, lay-ministers and leaders led the congregation. Henry Berg was Beechy's first hired minister, serving from 1963 to 1966. After Berg, the congregation was served by a variety of other paid ministers, many of whom also served the Mennonite Brethren church at Lucky Lake. These include the following: Ed Lautermilch (1966-1969), Ed Epp (1969-1973), Ed Giesbrecht (1973-1976), Helmut Schroeder (1977-1987), and Mike Housek (1987-). Sources: Mennonite Encyclopedia, "Friedensheim;" Mennonite Brethren Herald (10 September 1982): 12; (27 May 1988): 63.

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