CUC Initially Hosted Alberta Camp Meeting
One hundred nine years ago the first camp meeting in Alberta was held at Ponoka with about 50 people in attendance. Many changes have taken place since that first camp meeting in the “Alberta Mission Field.” (The Alberta Conference of Seventh-day Adventists was not organized until 1906.) By 1915 camp meeting attendance increased to 500. (Photo 1) No longer were meetings held in tents; meetings were held in the Assembly Hall of Alberta Industrial Academy, the forerunner of Canadian University College. Some attendees rented rooms in the two dormitories but many families still resided in tents.
Although camp meetings were held in various locations throughout the province as an evangelist outreach, Lacombe became the most common gathering place with a “white cotton city” laid out on the hillsides of Lake Barnett (Photo 2) and later on the present site of the McKibbin Education Centre and the church (Photo 3)
Attendance increased year by year so that by the 1970s, Canadian Union College could no longer accommodate the crowds. Smaller regional camp meetings were then held throughout the province until 1973 when Foothills Camp on the Little Red Deer River west of Bowden became the permanent campsite. (Photo 4)
What a contrast there is between living in tents to modern accommodations in a Lodge and RVs; from team and wagon to Cadillac transportation; and from a family setting of 50 people to an estimated 2,000 in 1973. (Photo 5)
July 12-20, 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of holding camp meetings at the Foothills Camp. Plan to attend for physical rest, social interaction, and spiritual refreshing.
This post was prepared by CUC's historian and archivist, Edith Fitch.