Quest in Roots:
Brookdale Manitoba History

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BROOKDALE CHURCH

The Methodist pioneers held services in the station waiting room for a time, but in the fall of 1903 plans were made to build a church, and a basement was dug on land that Mr. Dave McNaughton donated. The church was completed in 1904. The total amount subscribed was $990. The finished cost of the church was $2000. The building committee was made up of Rev. J. Laycock, minister of the Douglas Methodist Church, Mr. F.

A. Moore, treasurer, Mr. C. Arnott, J. Hunter, A.B.

Moffatt, Charles Gordon and others. The cornerstone was laid by Mrs. T.E. Greenwood of Douglas on November Llth, 1903. The dedication service was held August 7, 1904.

We know very little about the actual building of the church. Mr. Norman Hunter, a long time resident of the Brookdale area reminisced at one time about bringing lumber for the church. He had two teams hitched to sleighs - driving one and leading the other. Coming down the hill at Stoney Creek, south of Neepawa, the lumber on one sleigh shifted and moved ahead, hitting the horses, making things interesting for a time.

Mr. Kneeshaw who lived at Brookdale and later at Carberry, remembers his father going by team and wagon to Douglas for the pulpit for the new church.

The church at Brookdale was used by We keep forgetting all those who lived before us.

We keep forgetting all those who lived and worked in this community.

We keep forgetting those who prayed and sang hymns in this church before we were born.

We keep forgetting what our fathers have done for us.

We commit the sin, of assuming that everything begins with us.

We drink from wells we did not find, We eat food from farmland we did not develop, We enjoy freedoms which we have not earned, We worship in churches which we did not build, We live in communities that we did not establish.

This day make us grateful for our heritage.

Presbyterians and Anglicans as well as Methodists.

In this way the spirit of union, co-operation, and tolerance was cultivated and when the United Church of Canada came into being in 1925, the Brookdale Church in this respect, was ready to accept union.

The first Sunday School superintendent was Mr. A. Millan. The first wedding in the church was that of Mr. and Mrs. Jim Williams. The bride was a Benson, a sister of Mrs. Mel Brown, who was a long time resident of the district and organist and choir leader for several years. The bride was presented with a Bible and a hymn book by the church.

The comer-stone was relaid on August 4th, 1935 after the basement was enlarged and the church fully paid for. Rev. J. D. McKenzie conducted the service. Mrs. W. Watson, who had been a member and worker in the church from its beginning, was given the honor of relaying the corner stone.

In 1953, at the suggestion of Rev. G. Daly, as a 50th anniversary project, the building was moved on to a full sized basement and remodelled. The second relaying of the cornerstone was performed by Mrs. R. Dodds a long time member, organist and choir leader. A former minister, Mr. A. Smith conducted the service assisted by Dr. Jaremko who was minister of the church at the time.

Mr. Cleave Chudley was in charge of the 1953 project. A new Hammond organ was installed in 1959.

With the threat of so many country churches closing their doors, Rev. Wilton Fraser accepted the challenge of organizing a larger parish and this was accomplished in 1971 taking in Brookdale, Arden, Eden, Birnie, Riding Mountain and Neepawa with three ministers working as a team. They were Rev. Wilton Fraser and Rev. Gordon Fulford of Neepawa and Rev. Carol Roberts who had been serving the Brookdale and Gordon churches until Gordon closed in 1971. Rev. Fraser retired in 1975 and was replaced by Rev. Jack White. Besides the ministers mentioned, the parish has been served by a number of intern ministers: Mr. Tom Delgaty, Mr.

Bruce Faurschou, Miss Jan Shearman, Mr. Murray Etty, Miss Cathy Laing, Mr. Steve Chambers, Mr.

Kent Israel and Miss Barbara Edwards. After one year in the larger parish and one further year of University in Saskatoon, these students were ready for ordination. Rev. Carol Roberts was replaced by Ferne Graham in 1978. Barbara Edwards married Neil Jardine in 1983 and was ordained in 1984, and became one of the parish team ministers in 1984.

Rev. G. Fulford had left the parish in 1980 and Rev.

Earl Gould joined the team the same year. Nancy Stephenson became part of the team in 1984.

Brookdale Church has always been proud of its choir. Even today when many churches have no choir, faithful members form the weekly choir.

Some of the leaders through the years have been Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Dodds, Mrs. Mills, Miss Muriel Lang, Mrs. D.H. Mitchell and presently Mrs. Rose Jones. Many records were lost in the manse fire in 1926, but from the 1930''s on, organists have been Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Dodds, Mrs. (Clegg) Bradley, Beryl Dennis, Joyce Vinthers, Muriel Burridge, Betty Mitchell and Kathleen Swanson who has taken several turns. Mrs. Verlie Davison is the present organist. In 1956, when Miss Lang was leader the choir prepared a concert of anthems, songs, instrumentals and a short play. The concert was staged in several surrounding towns as well as in Brookdale. With the proceeds and the generous help from the W.A. new gowns were purchased. A new organ was installed in 1984.

 

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