Looking Back


Fragments of Onoway Churches' History

When settlers from foreign lands made their way out west, almost as soon as they got themselves somewhat established, they soon built a school and a church, not necessarily in that order. (A store and post office were not far behind but were often combined with a house.) Onoway area has a long history of churches of different denominations, the churches being built and re-built according to the needs of the local people.


An exhibit currently at Onoway Museum shows artifacts from some of the local churches. Some of the artifacts on display are part of the museum's collection; others are on loan. Not all churches are represented at present; perhaps more objects will be added to the exhibit throughout the winter.


One communion set on display was given to the Onoway United Church in the early 1930s, possibly by an Edmonton United Church. The set (created circa 1895) is designed and built so that the lid can be placed over the tray with its 35 filled glasses and carried to the altar. Felt padding under the glasses keeps them from slipping around in the cavity.


Another variation on the communion set is on loan from the Onoway Baptist Church. The sterling silver set consists of a plate, chalice and wine holder. This type of travelling communion set was probably purchased in a specially made velvet-lined presentation box and was could date back to the late 1800s.


Communion Set Onoway United
Communion Set Onoway Baptist

1890s communion set from Onoway United Church

Sterling silver communion set on loan from Onoway Baptist Church


Portable organ used in Anglican churches in Onoway area

A portable pump organ was part of his ministerial paraphernalia when Rev. Canon Matthews served at St. John's Anglican Church in Onoway from 1946 to 1953. When he took services at nearby churches, Harry Galliford came along as the organist. Rev. Matthews' portable organ stayed with the Gallifords when he left, and the original cover (which was folded) was replaced with the one shown. Mary Galliford Reid gave the organ to Eddy Dales who, in turn, gave it to Onoway Museum.

From Onoway United Church comes the beautiful artwork poster listing those who volunteered to fight in World War II. The list includes familiar family names: Martin, Mills, Kendall, Crossan, Moren, Roberts, McClure, Bennett. What is intriguing is that the list includes not only members of Onoway United Church but Sunday School as well! How old were these volunteers?!

WWII Volunteers
                          Onoway United Church

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Last updated: March 8, 2019