Return To Top
or which derive from his legacy
Save The Old Westbourne
Baptist for an Aberhart
Op-Ed Article published
in Jan.22nd, 2009 of the Calgary Herald
and February 2009Ed of the
City Light News - pdf
Lay Preacher from
Dec. 5th, 1915 - 1929
After preaching for Bible classes around Churches in Calgary,
William Aberhart preaced his first sermon to a struggling
Baptist mission church in Victora Park. It had
been planted by Dr. Willard Litch of First Baptist Church
back in 1905, after starting as a Sunday School outpost 2
blocks to the east on 13th Ave.
( SeeBuilding Permit pdf below. )
While Aberhart maintained his principalship at Crescent Heights
High School, he became a unpaid lay preacher
at the Westbourne Baptist Church. Not being ordained, Aberhart
called in others to do official duties. In 1922 a
fulltime pastor, Rev. Ernest G. Hansell was called
to assist Aberhart in the work and perform the official pastoral
Rev. Ernest George Hansell
In 1917 he gained the position of Cartoonist for the Calgary
Letterhead in use by Hansell in 1922
Cartoons of Ernest G. Hansell - pdf
Newspaper Announcement of Hansell's Arrival
at Westbourne Baptist in Nov. 1922
Annual Report and Elections
Memorization Award 1925?
Church Brochure - pdf
He also had an active testimony and ministry
in other churches using his cartoonist expertise
on the Chalkboard. Note special gospel vocal music includes
wife and John. W. Lucas, who later became and remains as
the speaker on the 75 year old Broadcast,
The Sunrise Gospel Hour. ( See
Evidence of these skills surface in the Westbourne
Youth Cheer Up - Later he would draw Social Credit
Cartoons while he was a Social Credit Member of Parliament.
(See Cartoon PDF Under
This Church is still a historically preserved
building with later additions build after the
time of this photo
It is rumored to be moved to the Youth Campus by the Elbow
River by the Stampede Board.. a move we hope will not happen
as much of the Historical value derives from
the history that took place in this location.
And the loss of the basement and annex will
greatly reduce the floor space.
Recent Window Inserts on the Old Westbourne
indicate it's future use as a performing
arts rehearsal space. Does this really
preserve the history of what happened within
that changed Alberta history?
We are hoping that a Foundation museum
dedicated to Aberhart- Social Credit - and Church History
may be established here.
(Patrons to support this are welcome.)
The Old Westbourne Below as it looked in 1944
Shots of Buiding During
Stampede Construction All Around the Block
Slide Show of Additional Interior Pictures
of the Old Westbourne Baptist Church - Feb.2007
History of Westbourne and Mother
Church 1st Baptist (PDF)
Building Permit Tag Discover after 100 year concealment !
In 2011, Heritage Architect Lorne
removed bricks from the SE corner of the
building to discover the interior build.
Lo and Behold, Calgary City Builting Permit
was discovered nailed where it wasplace one years
ago in 1911!
See The Story of the Permit pdf. )
Original Certificate of Alberta Incorporation
June 21st, 1923
After Aberhart's move to withdraw from
the Baptist Union to become Independent Baptist
Westbourne Baptistry BackDrop
( from a smaller painting here )
This Painting of Mount Rundle in
the Canadaina Rockies, which hung in the home of Deacon John
& Annie Dick
( she was a Prophetic Bible Life of Christ Teacher who had
a young Ernest Manning in her class) became the model from
which a visiting Scandinavian Evangelist
painted the backdrop on the wall behind the Baptistry.
Set of Westbourne's
1915 - 1920's??
No Tipping Head Back Communion Cup Ad
Methodist Year Book 1918 USA
Launched From Westbourne
was from this location at 13th Ave. and 4th St. East that
the popular evening lectures series by Aberhart on Prophecy,
led to the formation of the Weekly Prophetic
Bible Conference. It soon outgrew a number of venues
ending up in the 2,000 seat Palace Theatre, where
Aberhart started the Back to the Bible radio ministry and
Radio Sunday School Club in the fall of 1925. He also
gained among his listeners a huge response to
start a Bible Training School to train students
in an atmosphere free from the prevailing modernism of the
For a brief period from 1927 to 1929, the Westbourne
Baptist congregation changed homes and followed
William Aberhart to the Prophetic Bible Institute Building
where the congregation then held it's meetings. In 1929, a
division over doctrinal and governance (ie. rent) issues caused
many of the Westbourne congregation to return to the old location
in Victoria Park.
Harry Scrimgeour led a group of Westbournites
back to the old building, to restart Sunday School and
services in the old location. In the previous interval, students
from the Prophetic Bible Institute had their first experiences
preaching from the old building with those attending from
At the Insitute Building, the remaining church members under
William Aberhart established a new entity, naming it the Bible
Institute Baptist Church (later Bethel Baptist), the start
of a new denomination which would come to be known as the
Gospel Missionary Association.
As is the case it seems, even groups which split off
from the Aberhart work, continued to do well. And
we see here 3 developments which mirrored
In February of 1930, the old Westbourne Church
used to a high standard in preaching, hired another dynamic
new Pastor from Ontario, the Rev. Morley Hall.
Early Westbourne Congregation under Morley
Hall - 1930's
like Aberhart, also began a new radio ministry, (a.) The
Back Home Gospel Hour, which
reached out into the city and far into the country
on the same station as Aberhart, CFCN.
Requests from listeners in Drumheller
Brooks, Benalto, Crossfield, Edmonton Norwood, Northwood in
Therien, and Bellevue,
led to the establishment of a new group of Regular
Baptist Churches which became the Alberta core of the current
Fellowship of Evangelical Baptists.
A mission point was also started in Edson.
See Regular Baptist NewsLetter of April 1944 - pdf
of Management For the Radio Program Initiated Regular Baptists
Dr. Morley R. Hall
Hall, amidst a congregation that had
already supported the start of a Bible School
soon realized the need for another Bible School
for like-minded fellowships being established. The
Rev. George Dawe came to assist him in this work.
Below on the left is Morley Hall leading the very
first class of (c.)The Western Baptist Bible College
with the first students on October 4th, 1934.
March 1965 Tribute to Morley Hall
in the Evangelical Baptist Magazine - pdf
First Class in 1934
It was in this era that the back annex
was added to the Church
for the College offices and perhaps an extention of the front
Class Lists of the Western Baptist
Bible College at the old Westbourne - pdf
Student Body and Faculty 1936 or37?
graduating class came in the spring of 1937.
Western Baptist Bible College
Graduation Class of 1937.
Men L-R - David Milligan, Ceil Birch, Don Hills,
Bill MacDonald, Albert Phillips
Ladies L-R - Eileen Clarke, Jean Dougan
Ruebena Hurd, Kathleen Ashely
This College was closed in the Second World War years as
the young men went off to do their patriotic duty and women
filled their spots. It was later reopened after the war
in Port Coquitlam BC as the NorthWest Baptist Bible College.
( Surviving currently as a denominational
seminary in Langley BC)
Morley Hall Family, Calgary
Westbourne Building Sign
This Gives an idea of the active congregational
life of the church
Note that the Pastor's residential address has been blacked
out on the sign, perhaps due to unexpected visitors.
Stylish Faculty & Grad Program Momento
1937 Gives Faculty Positions Below
1938 Faculty and Grads
an account of Morley Hall's ministry
written in 1998 by his son Raymond Hall. - pdf
(Note: date of Aberhart's first preaching
Westbourne was Dec. 5th, 1915 not 1920 as recollected
by Raymond Hall.)
Short History of the Western Baptist Bible College
by the Rev. George Dawe
1998 - pdf
Brief History Of Western-Northwest Bible
College by Merle Pierce in relation to
Fairview Baptist in Calgary - pdf
Pastor Morley Hall led Wesbourne
1930 to 1944when he left to minister back in
his home province of Ontario.
Many Pastors (Regular Baptist which merged
to become Fellowship Baptist) pictured here in later
in this late 1940's photo were graduates of the Western
Bible College at Westbourne. Names below
Back Row(l to r):
Jack Pickford, Mr. Bye, J. McKay, John Cunningham, Mr. Lotimer
Front Row (l to r) :
G. Reeve, David Milligan, W. Tompkins, R. Beck,
J. W. (Bill) McDonald.
After Pastor Morley Hall moved
to new works in Ontario, Westbourne Called Pastor John Cunningham
to take the lead.
Pastor John Cunningham. He established
the church plant in the Calgary Community
of Killarney. Leaving Westbourne, he later affiliated with
the Southern Baptists when they arrived in Canada
and formed the new Cambrian Heights Baptist.
Meeting of Westbourne Congregation
a Southern Baptist Delegation.
(The proposed merger was rejected bymost of
A good period shot to study the interior of
the back part
of the Westbourne Sanctuary of that time.
Note Alfred Girling's Pulpit woodwork in foreground
with embedded letters "We Preach Christ Crucified"
and SignBoards on Wall At Back ( See Alfred J. Girling Below
'Keep Thyself Pure' & 'Preach
also Girling's work. (see below on missing signboards)
The unseen Platform Motto Board overlooking the Pulpit read:
"Christ Died For Our Sins According
To The Scriptures" -ICor 15:3b
Whole Page Image to Identify Audience.
Additional Names to Match the Faces are welcomed.
Talented Wood Craftsman and Westbourne
Deacon lends his skills to adorn Westbourne Church
and the lives of those he loved. He may have attended during
the time of William Aberhart before
the Morley Hall era.
Alfred J. Girling and wife Elizabeth - 1932
Deacon Girling was a CabinetMaker who added stylish
woodcasings and shelfs. on the railcar interiors of dining
and other cars
at theOgden Shops of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Alfred Girling Built this Pulpit (pictured
in original setting above, date unkown) and a Matching Communion
Table for the
Westbourne Congregation. Front is adorned
with 'God Is Love' and Canadian Maple Leaves.
Top of lecturn has embedded wood of another kind
reminded the preacher that, "We Preach Christ
Crucified" A warning of earlier struggles with
modernism and the Social Gospel replacements.
Girling Communion Table (text on 3 sides)
Flash - Missing SignBoards
Alfred Girling had also made signboards one
crossed the front of the platform and said
"Christ Died For Our Sins According To The Scriptures"
Two others at the back wall read
"Preach the Word" & "Keep Thyself Pure"
The signs were taken up to the new Church meeting area
in Thorncliffe but have not been seen since.
On a trip to Crossfield, Aberhart Foundation researcher Larry
was informed that a similiar set of pulpit, communion table,
and signs were there. And when examined, It is no doubt more
of Girlings work and the same scripture message is on the
two boards found there.
The Girling SignBoards at Crossfield Baptist
(Inlaid letters of a different wood)
Girling also liked to remember his family
and special anniversary with his own
special creations in mixed woods.
( A manager he knew from Eau Claire Lumber
would give him scraps of exotic woods.)
MarQuetry - A Girling
Marquetry (also spelled as marqueterie)
is the art and craft of applying pieces of veneer to a structure
to form decorative patterns, designs or pictures. The technique
may be applied to case furniture or even seat furniture, to
decorative small objects with smooth, veneerable surfaces
or to free-standing pictorial panels appreciated in their
own right. Parquetry is very similar in technique to marquetry:
in parquetry the pieces of veneer are of simple repeating
geometric shapes, forming tiling patterns such as would cover
a floor (parquet), or forming basketweave or brickwork patterns,
trelliswork and the like.
Marquetry (and parquetry too)
differs from the more ancient craft of inlay, in which a solid
body of one material is cut out to receive sections of another
to form the surface pattern. The word derives from a Middle
French word meaning "inlaid work". See
Full Wikipedia Definition
the Woodwork of Alfred J. Girling - large pdf
westbourne Young People's
Cheer Up NewsPaper
The Cheer Up Newspaper is preserved
in existing copies
so far from May 1924 to 1931 and covers parts of both Aberhart
and Pastor Morley Hall's times at Westbourne.
In 1924 the editor is Rev. Ernest G. Hansell who began
as official acting Pastor in 1922, while Aberhart remained
the lay preacher. Hansell took his training at the
Bible Institute of Los Angeles, but had earlier worked
as a cartoonist for a Calgary newspaper. This talent
can be seen in the Cheer Up Ilustrations until
Hansell left as Pastor in Oct. 1926.
The Assistant editor was young
Cyril Hutchison and he likely did most of the writing and
leg-work. His Brother Noel Hutchinson was the President of
Young People's for some time before and after his marriage.
Cyril in 1926 becomes President, but in April of that year,
himself seems to be writing and editing the paper.
References to the Radio Ministry and Upcoming Bible
Institute began to appear in the Cheer Up. See
the following, likely written in Aberhart's own hand
in the Mon. May 23rd, 1926 edition.
Radio Theme Banner
& Poem. The Sunday Afternoon Radio Broadcasts on CFCN
from the Palace Theatre on Stephen Ave. Calgary
had just begun seven months earlier.
The humour and variety of the 'Cheer Up'
does not at all fit the dour sour fundamenalism
that the Media often portrayed Aberhart's work as
being. Below Cyril Hutchinson likely sketching himself,
refers to the Youth drive to contribute by sacrifice, to the
Gull Lake Bible Camp Assembly Hall project.
Exhortations to Attend Young People's and Prayer
were part of the Westbourne expectations
A little self-depreciating humour
with a sketch of Aberhart is included
And Portraits of the Young People were often
part of the fare.
Cheer Up deals with Bachelor Support Op's
Dec 20th, 1929
Ju ly 5th, 1926 Edition
Muriel Preston (future wife of Ernest Manning)
is listed as a member of youth group 'C'
July 12th, 1926 Edition has the Program
Flyer of the 1926 July 31 - Aug. 1st Baptist Young
People Union (BYPU) Convention at
McLaurin Beach .Gull Lake Alberta
The Westbourne Trophy was a Silver Cup donated
by the Church to the denomination as an Annual
Young People's Prize for individual speeches on
Christian Missions and Bible Characters.
One is reminded of the Aberhart Instituted Rutherford Cup
for Debating, so often won by students of Aberhart's
Crescent Heights Collegiate High School. (See Principal's
The Inclusion of a Nov.
9 - 1926 Baptist Young People's Union Rally Flyer pdf
at First Baptist is found in the Nov. 1st Edition of Cheer
The Westbourne Oratory Trophy is to be presented to it's
namesake young group who won it at the Gull Lake convention.
Westboune became independent from the denomination of it's
Mother Church, First Baptist in 1921 partly due to doctrinal
differences with the Baptist Schools in the East (ie. Brandon
College was where Tommy Douglas was trained.)
But co-operation in the Youth Camp and Rally continued at
five years later and does not evidencethe narrow sectarianism
that Aberhart is often accused of. The wide appeal of
his radio broadcast argues against this as well.
Sometimes the jokes section contains the names of
youth group members as in Nov.1st -1926 Cheer Up
Muriel (ie.Preston) - "How did you find yourself this
Isobel (ie. Logie) " I just turned back the sheets
and there I was!"
Westbourne Youth like Cyril Hutchison, scrimped
allowances to raise money for the Gull Lake Camp
Assembly Hall. (foreground)
Cheer Up - Selections of Westbourne Young People's Society
More to Follow on the Morley Hall
Cheer Up Volumes as they are digitized. Any missing
issues are welcome!
Baptist Dedication of New
NW Calgary Church in September 14th, 1975
1965 under Pastor Fred Meyer (early 60's till 67)
the old Westbourne Building was sold and
temporary quarter were found for Westbourne congregation
in the Thorncliffe
community hall until a new church was built
under Pastor Fred Adkins
1975 New Westbourne Building
Dedication Program and History - pdf
Baptist 75th Anniversary
of Incorporation (1923)
June 14th, 1998
Program of 75th and Related Histories - pdf
Of Members To 75th Organizers - pdf
Baptist 100th Anniversary
of Founding (1905) Sept. 10,11 - 2005
Under Pastor Dennis Burriss (1978-93)
Stewart, Allan Tuck, ........Emma & Avre Wilkinson
100th Anniversary Anniversary
History 'Footprints' - pdf
History to 2007 - pdf
Note: Aberhart actually first started
preaching at Westbourne in 1915