[Updated on website Jan. 7, 2011]

History –  50th Anniversary of  the Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church

1929 – 1979    312 Avenue I South, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

This 76 page book was discovered by Peter in August 2009 (not knowing it existed) and is part of the Dr. Kostiw Collection which was donated by the Kostiw family to Peter and is now part of the Ukrainian Baptist Heritage Centre.  Inside the book was a letter addressed to Dr. Kostiw, dated November 7, 1979, thanking him for his service as pastor in the 1950s and for the information he provided in preparing this book.  The letter also says that the church had a 50th anniversary celebration weekend on October 6-7, 1979. The first part of the book is in Ukrainian [pg 7-55] and the second part is in English [ pg 61-76] and includes 48 pictures.  Editors were Rev. Steve Skoworodko and Paul Ulaniuk.  Published in 1979 by the Ukrainian Ev. Baptist Church in Saskatoon, now called Fairmont Baptist Church.   [The English history section is very short.  A more detailed history is found in the Ukrainian section and would be useful to have it translated into English.]

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Ukrainian people started to emigrate to Canada.  According to our pioneer and minister, the late Reverend Peter Kindrat, many of the Ukrainian folk came to Saskatoon, some of whom were Christians.  By the grace of God, the time came when the Ukrainian Baptist Church was officially organized in July, 1929 with a membership of fifty.  The first pastor of the church was the late Reverend John Shakotko.  A church choir was organized, the church was thankful for the souls saved through its work.  Reverend Shakotko served for one year, then he moved to the United States of America.  Later on he returned back to Saskatoon and continued to help in the work.

From 1930 to 1932, the church work was under the direction of three lay leaders, and in 1932 the Reverend Dr. Ivan Kmeta was called to pastor the church.  A radio broadcast was started once a month over radio station CFQC.  Under Reverend Kmeta’s ministry, the membership grew from eighteen to forty members.

In 1939, a church building was purchased with financial help from the Baptist Union of Western Canada, and that same building is serving the present congregation.  Pastor Kmeta served the church for eight years and the Lord blessed his ministry.  The church began to do outreach work in the towns and villages surrounding Saskatoon.  Brother and sister Kmeta now reside in Philadelphia, U.S.A..

Student pastor Karol Derenchuk served the church for several years.

Between the years 1943 to 1948, the late Brother Fred Sachinski was the lay leader.  His wife is still residing in Saskatoon.

From 1948 to 1951, Reverend and Mrs. Stephen Nischik served the church.  During their ministry the work grew.  Membership increased to sixty-four members.  Sister Nischik helped much in the work, being very active in the Women’s Mission Circle.  The Young People had regular services.  Brother Paul Ulaniuk was the choir leader and the choir had many young people.  They had a radio broadcast over CFQC in Saskatoon.  Brother and Sister Nischik now reside in Garden City, Michigan, U.S.A.

After this the Reverend Dr. And Mrs. C. Kostiw were called to serve the church.  They served the church faithfully, ministering the Word of God in church and over the radio.  Sister Kostiw was active in the Women’s Mission Circle, taught Sunday School and sang in the church choir.  For some time Brother Kostiw was the general secretary of the Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Conference of Western Canada.  During this time many renovations were made to the church building, such as part of a basement dug and a furnace installed.  The church will always be grateful to God for Brother and Sister Kostiw’s ministry.

The Reverend Dr. And Mrs. M. Gitlin took a very active part in the life and ministry of the church.  During his service, a new radio broadcast was undertaken over CJNB Quito, Eqaudor.  Brother Gitlin has gone to his eternal home.  Sister Gitlin resides in Hickory, N.C., U.S.A.

Following this, Mr. and Mrs. Mike Bellows served the church.  Brother Bellows served sincerely and with much dedication as pastor, proclaiming the truth of the gospel.  He visited people, sang in the choir and was Superintendent of the Sunday School, and the work of the Lord prospered.  Brother and Sister Bellows reside in Saskatoon.

From 1958 to 1962, Reverend and Mrs. John Tkachuk served the church very faithfully.  Further renovations were continued, the basement was enlarged, and a kitchen and new addition to the front of the church were added.  The cost was ten thousand dollars plus many hours of volunteer labour by the faithful members.  Brother A. Kurka was the contractor and Brother A. Tkachenko stuccoed the building.  During this time ten new members were baptized and a total of twenty members added to the membership.  A half hour weekly radio broadcast over North Battlefield radio station was begun.  Besides being a church pastor, and a radio pastor, he also carried out mission work in Foxford, Meadow Lake and Wakaw.  Brother Tkachuk served as General Secretary of the Conference in 1955 to 1957, and was President, 1958 to 1961.  Sister Tkachuk was active in the Women’s Mission Circle, as well as being the church pianist and president of the Women’s Circle.  Brother and Sister Tkachuk are residing in Winnipeg and serve the Roseau River Ukrainian Baptist Church, as well as having a Ukrainian radio broadcast.  Brother Tkachuk is a member of the committee of the Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Conference of Western Canada.

In 1962, Mr. and Mrs. Leo Korownyk took over leadership.  Brother Korownyk served the Lord with much dedication, preaching every Sunday, doing visitations, and serving as chairman of the church committee.  The services were well attended.  Missionary outreach work was also being done.  Sister Korownyk was active in the Women’s Mission Circle, played the piano, sang in the choir and taught a Sunday School class and also was president of the Women’s Mission Circle.  They both worked faithfully in whatever needed to be done in the Lord’s vineyard.  Brother Korownyk was general secretary of the conference for a number of years.  Ten new members were added to the church membership.  Brother and sister Korownyk are presently residing in Edmonton. [ pg 63-64]

[To be continued]

© Ukrainian Baptist Heritage Centre
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