First Baptist Church had its earliest beginnings around 1905, and has weathered many ups and downs throughout its history. Discontinued for a time during the Great Depression and the First World War, it was started up again in 1948 by Mr. C.P. Jinks, a Baptist deacon who had relocated to Pincher Creek from Texas. Unable to accept the fact of a town of 1500 people without a Baptist church, he and his family began a search for fellow Baptists in the area. The group he assembled rented the Orange Hall on the former Bridge Ave (now Bev McLachlin Drive), and on Thanksgiving weekend of 1948, 23 people became charter members of the “new” church.
Throughout the first few years the church struggled with financial challenges, criticism and differences of opinion. Rev. and Mrs. A.J.D. Milton were instrumental in bringing the new congregation to a place of stability and consensus. Many of the original founding members lived in Cowley and transportation was often difficult. Yet the church persevered because they were convinced of the need for an evangelical Christian witness in the community, including a Sunday school for teaching children the faith, and the need for communal worship and fellowship among those of like mind.
The help and support of the First Baptist Church in Lethbridge, as well as the financial support of the Baptist denomination were major contributors to the success of the church in Pincher Creek and Cowley. Though these two congregations chose to meet separately for a time, in 1968 they rejoined and the congregation continued to grow. Mill Creek Camp was founded in 1967 and has continued to be a major outreach supported by the church right up to the present day. The Baptist Leadership Training School in Calgary was another resource for the spiritual formation and training of the young people from Pincher Creek.
By 1979, the church had grown to an average attendance of 75 people, and was outgrowing its space in the Orange Hall. A building committee was formed with encouragement from Rev. Ron Harris, and the Orange Hall was sold to the Elks Lodge in 1982. The proceeds from the sale, as well as a generous donation from First Baptist in Lethbridge and many personal sacrifices from the congregation, made possible the construction of the new building on Charlotte St., which was dedicated by Rev. A. Wolstenholme in October, 1985. For the three years during the planning, fundraising and construction, the church met in the old gym of Matthew Halton School. During this time, by the grace of God, the congregation grew steadily. Members used their gifts and talents to serve in many new ways, and their hard work has benefitted all of us who still use the building on Charlotte St. today.
God has carried the church in Pincher Creek, AB, through many challenges and we are grateful to Him and to all those who went before us to establish this congregation as a place of worship, ministry and service in our community. Thank you especially to Lois Smyth, Selma Tustian and Marie Smyth who have helped preserve the memory of all that God has brought us through. We trust He will be just as faithful to guide and help us in the future as he has been in the past.
Two church congregations have become one. These are our "vows".
This address is from the First Baptist Congregation to the Heartland Congregation
We were always your brothers and sisters in Christ as part of the larger Church
But we have decided to get engaged to you and we feel absolutely privileged to do this.
These are our engagement vows
We want you to continue to be who you are. A body of believers who looks after each other. We don’t want you to lose your close fellowship.
As time goes on we will intend to grow into a larger close fellowship
We do not want one of you to feel left out or unwanted, not one
Your prayers will become our prayers
We desire your prayers
Your hurts will cause us to hurt with you
When you sing and worship and praise God we will worship God also
When your kids run around make noise and even break stuff we are happy that they are in this church
This building is your building
If we say something wrong to you we will apologise
If you say something wrong to us we will forgive you
You have permission to say things we need to hear
We will bear with you and submit to you
We will love and respect your leaders as our leaders
As we get to know your ministries we will support them
We want to know your vision, your hearts desires
We hope you want us
We want you to keep this vow in case you have to remind us
We are going to post this vow to remind us of this great day
Praise God for His mercies
We have gotten a glimpse of your heart and character and desire to obey God. We know you take the responsibility of a pastor seriously. We have prayed about our decisions. We joyfully call you be our Interim Pastor.
FBPC has some vows for you also
It’s also our intent and desire to call you to become the Pastor of the Merged Church of Heartland and FBPC before next year.
We resolve to love and accept you, Dana and your family
We resolve to love and accept your Heartland family
We resolve to make your work as our Pastor a joy
We want you to preach Christ to us and watch over us We will respect you when you admonish us
We will uphold you in prayer
We will support and protect you
We will support and pray for your camp ministry
We will test what you teach in the light of scripture