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Oldest ‘retired’ CRC building rededicated at heritage site

Alberta’s Nyverdal congregation original owner

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

PICTURE BUTTE, Alberta - The oldest Dutch immigrant-built Christian Reformed Church sanctuary in Canada recently was rededicated after it painstakingly had been restored by a group of volunteers from the area. The original dedication as the Nyverdal, Alberta CRC took place on May 20, 1909. The building was sold in 1947 and after having been moved to a different town, was used as a sanctuary and later as a restaurant at yet another location.

Following a publicity and fundraising campaign in 1989, local history-minded Dutch- Canadians purchased the building when it became redundant to the restaurant owner. The former church building soon after was moved to the Prairie Acres Heritage Village at Picture Butte, a facility operated by the Prairie Tractor and Engine Society. One of the museum’s volunteers was John Brouwer who originally spearheaded the campaign.

Brouwer and his supporters already knew they would be able to obtain some of the original furniture of the church if they could get the building. The restoration, made possible through grants, was completed recently and this summer. Some former members who had attended the old church before 1947 travelled from other parts of North America to be at the rededication ceremony. The original pump organ of the church also had been donated to the project. It had been bought in 1947 and was still owned by project volunteer Bert Konynenbelt and his family. Dena Withage-Kooy who served as organist in the old church, travelled from Washington State to play the instrument at the rededication ceremony.


The Nyverdal congregation - so named because several immigrants from the south-central Overijssel town settled in the newly founded prairie village in 1905 - later reorganized in three: Granum, Burdett and Monarch as continuation of Nyverdal. The (Dutch) settlement of Nyverdal eventually was renamed Nobleford. Many of its original settlers relocated to, among others, Lynden, Washington.

The historic building can be used for such events as wedding ceremonies and may be seen at the Prairie Acres Heritage Village & Farm Equipment Museum. The village also has other heritage buildings, including a CPR station, a post office, a hiproof barn, an one-room school, a garage, a homesteader’s shack and an early farm house as well as an interesting collection of early farm machinery.

The museum is located at 3A Street S, Secondary Hwy 843 (1.5 km S of Picture Butte). The postal address is Box 768, Picture Butte, AB, T0K 1V0, information can be obtained by calling secretary Dick Papworth 403-329-1201.