Cornerstone Fellowship Church (Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Canada)
The Cornerstone Fellowship Church, in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, began services in 1958, formally organized in 1962, and closed in 2017. It originally began as the Swift Current Evangelical Mennonite Church (EMC), an extension of the Wymark EMC located at nearby Chortitz that was started through a revival among Sommerfelder Mennonites in 1958.
When some people affected by the revival moved to Swift Current, they began to hold Thursday night services at the rented Southside Hall in 1959. Cornie Plett, a summer worker sent by the EMC Mission Board helped facilitate these meetings in the summer of 1959. In August 1959 the former Mennonite Brethren church in Swift Current was purchased and a German Sunday School was started. The first Sunday morning service was held on 29 November 1959.
There was a desire to establish a church in Swift Current for the many people who were relocating into the city from the rural churches in the area. From the outset, the church provided biblically based teaching to many people from Low German background. The congregation provided a witness and a place for people to grow in their Christian faith.
In 1960 K.P. (Klaas) Unger was the first outreach worker, sent jointly by the Wymark EMC and the EMC Board of Missions. The church became formally organized and autonomous in January 1962 within the Evangelical Mennonite Conference.
Through much of its history the language of worship was English. The transition from German occurred in the 1960s. For at least two decades the congregation provided a manse for their pastor. Cornerstone Fellowship Church enjoyed an extended period of spiritual and numerical growth, moving from their original building into a larger facility to provide for the expanding ministries. Many EMC missionaries and pastors originated from the Swift Current and Wymark churches, and some were still serving in 2017.
Eventually, the congregation relocated to the former Swift Current Bible Institute campus. The campus was sold in 2012 when it required extensive repairs and maintenance and had become a drain on the church. Several attempts to revitalize the church were made. In 2003, the name was changed from Swift Current EMC to Cornerstone Fellowship Church. Having two pastors was another effort to reignite the church in the community. A vibrant children’s program was also offered in its last several years.
With the decline in members, energy and finances, the congregation decided in March 2017, to shut down operations as of 30 June 2017. The EMC General Board was made aware of this decision and accepted the decision of the church with sadness. While it was disappointing to see a church close its doors, there was gratitude for the many years of vibrant ministry in the Swift Current community. The ministry of the Cornerstone Fellowship Church of over 57 years had a positive impact for the Kingdom of God and for that God is praised.
Canadian Mennonite (22 August 1958): 1.
Unpublished history, 2 pp. Mennonite Historical Society of Canada collection, Mennonite Archives of Ontario.
Tim Dyck interview with Rev. Lester Olfert, 2017.
D. K. Schellenberg, “Swift Current Church Profile,” The Messenger (Sept. 23, 1983): 5-7.
Address: 2150 Walker St. East, Swift Current, SK S9H 4C1
Cornerstone Fellowship Church Pastors
|K.P. (Klaas) Unger||1960-1961|
|Ben and Henrietta Friesen||1962-1965|
|Dave and Lydia Dueck||1965-1972|
|Milton and Gladys Fast||1972-1977|
|Cornie Kehler (lay minister/interim)||1977-1978|
|John and Tina Toews||1978-1989|
|Lester Olfert||1975-1978, 1989-1992 (associate, senior)|
|Mel and Mary Koop||1999-2003|
|Randall and Faith Krahn||2004-2009|
|Bryon and Janice Bezanson||1999-2017 (youth, associate, senior)|
|Michael Vanderswaag (associate)||2015-2017|
Cornerstone Fellowship Church Membership
|Date Published||June 2017|
Cite This Article
Dyck, Tim and Terry Smith. "Cornerstone Fellowship Church (Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. June 2017. Web. 18 Aug 2017. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Cornerstone_Fellowship_Church_(Swift_Current,_Saskatchewan,_Canada)&oldid=148913.
Dyck, Tim and Terry Smith. (June 2017). Cornerstone Fellowship Church (Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 August 2017, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Cornerstone_Fellowship_Church_(Swift_Current,_Saskatchewan,_Canada)&oldid=148913.
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