“Then & Now” columns appeared weekly in the Calgary Herald between 2002 and 2005. The following article appeared September 30, 2003.
Hillhurst Presbyterian Church
1227 Bowness Rd. N.W.
Then: Hillhurst Presbyterian Church
• Built according to plans by architect G.G. Irvine, the gothic revival-style Hillhurst church was completed in 1912 at a cost of $38,000 (including the land). When it opened in January 1913, the local newspaper reported "it is planned for a seven-day-a-week church for the people." In addition to the sanctuary, it included an auditorium (with room for 800), classrooms, parlours, gymnasium, supper room, kitchen, locker room and shower bath. In 1925, St. Paul's Methodist and Hillhurst Presbyterian churches merged, forming Hillhurst United, becoming a member of the United Church of Canada.
Now: Hillhurst United Church
• In 1987, Alberta designated the building a registered historic resource. Many programs, including the Calgary InterFaith Food Bank (1973) and Meals on Wheels started at this church. In 1997, the current pastor, Rev. Karen Holmes, became the first female minister. Three years ago, the Calgary Boys Choir moved home to Hillhurst where they started around 1970. Today, the church where Nellie McClung once spoke continues a long history of serving faith and community in the city. Among the many outreach initiatives supported by the congregation is Inn From the Cold, an inter-denominational volunteer program providing food, companionship and overnight shelter at city church facilities for Calgary's hungry and homeless.