The History of Kirk United Church
Late in 1953, a Women's Association circle from McDougall United Church started a Sunday School in Sherbrooke School to serve Sherbrooke, Dovercourt and Woodcroft. Mrs. G. Martin was appointed the first Superintendent. The work was continued in 1954 with Mrs. W. Morgan, a Deaconess with the Extension Department of the Edmonton Presbytery, who took over as Superintendent and carried on for a year. The Sunday school grew and classes were held in a gymnasium and most corridors. On May 10, 1955, Mrs. Morgan called a meeting of interested people, and in the spirit of Matthew 18:20 - "For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them" (NLT), the decision was made to start a church. A Religious Education Committee was formed with Mr. H. G. Williamson as Chairman, and Mr. A.J. McCullough as Secretary-Treasurer. Services began the next Sunday with Mrs. Morgan conducting them until the end of June 1955.
During the summer of 1955, Mrs. J.E. Kirk was contacted by Edmonton Presbytery to do extension work in this area. She hesitated to accept the position, but Reverend Kirk encouraged her by saying he would help, although he was on leave from the Edmonton Presbytery because of ill health. Despite Rev. Kirk's declining health he took the Sunday Services. Rev. Kirk and Mrs. Kirk's leadership and example within the four brief months before his death on December 30, 1955 played a very important part in the establishment of the Congregation. Mrs. Kirk continued the work after his passing.
On January 1, 1956, Reverend J.R. Geeson accepted the ministerial duties of the church, although he was retired, and under his leadership the church continued to grow. On April 18, 1956, application was made to the Presbytery for recognition as a congregation, and therefore a church. They needed a name. Up until now, they had been known as "The United Church of Canada serving Sherbrooke, Dovercourt and Woodcroft Districts". At a meeting held on May 27, 1956 the congregation voted to name the church "Kirk United Church" after Rev. Kirk, who had not lived to see his work come to fruition.
The Service of Constitution was held on June 10, 1956 with 227 people joining as Charter Members. During Spring 1956 there were many meetings held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. McCullough. To be recognized as a church meant great responsibilities; committees were formed - the Committee of Stewards, Board of Elders, and the Women's Organization, to name a few.
In the fall of 1956, Mr. Dick Martin came as a minister, helping them to operate as a church should, and a Building Committee was set up. Edmonton Presbytery had bought 5 lots on St. Albert Trail north of Dovercourt Ave. The Building Committee considered this location, but didn't think it would be large enough for both a church and parking lot. They met with the Planning Department of the City of Edmonton and made an exchange of property. The present site of Kirk Centre had been set aside for apartments, but the City was intending to rezone it, and Kirk United Church was able to get the property.
In order to call an ordained minister for their new church, a manse was necessary, and so this was the first project of the Building Committee. It was completed in the fall of 1957, and Reverend. Ian MacMillan and his family were able to move in. In the spring of 1959, the Christian Education Building was finished, allowing church services, Sunday School, and mid-week groups to joyfully invade every square inch.
A Sanctuary addition was later completed in 1966, quite closely following the comprehensive layout first designed when the Christian Education Building was built. The general feeling of the congregation at the Service of Dedication on January 2, 1966, can be expressed in the words of the Building Committee chairman, John Soprovich: "I accept these keys believing this house to be well and faithfully constructed. Now with gratitude we see this place of worship finished and open for worship and service..."
Kirk United Church continued holding services until June 2019, when they officially disbanded and Kirk Centre took over the care and administration of the building.