The Methodist Church of Salmon Arm was built in 1895 at Hedgman’s Corner in Salmon Arm on property donated by Ambrose Settle and kitty corner to Harbell Road. The budget for the building was $50 and the congregation relied on volunteer labour. The building was 24 x 36 feet with 16 foot walls covered in lathe and plaster. Lumber was supplied by Kualt Mill and, according to the Kamloops Sentinel, Mr. Bolton had the contract for building the church.
The church formally opened Sunday, December 22nd of the same year with Rev. Turner of Clinton officiating. The manse was built on the river bank on F.B. Shaw’s property and the congregation secured their first resident minister, R.H. Peardon, an accountant from Eaton’s in Winnipeg. Peardon was recommended as a candidate for ministry in May 1899, though he had been living at the manse in 1898.
At some point prior to 1906 a Ladies Aid Society was formed. In December 1907 a new Methodist church was opened closer to the downtown core of Salmon Arm. The church and manse were sold. The Ladies Aid grew in numbers.
The collection contains one set of minutes from the Ladies Aid meeting at the Parsonage beginning in January 1906. They document a regular meeting and are likely a continuation of previous meetings. Five members were present and Mrs. E.A. Palmer was the recording secretary. [S.] Calvert was the President. Other names include Mrs. F.B. Shaw, Mrs. J.A. Wood, and Mrs. Jones.
The women met in the parsonage and the church. When the minister attended he was asked to close in prayer. At different times during the year the group organized Boston Tea, Ice Cream, Strawberry and Lawn socials and held concerts and bazaars to raise money for improvements to the Manse, such as repairs to the stove and oil cloth for the kitchen floor.
The Ladies Aid minutes end in 1923.
The United Church of Canada was formed by a union of the Presbyterian, Methodist, and Congregationalist churches in 1925. The Woman’s Association (WA) was formed to deepen the spiritual life of the women of the Church and to promote a programme of Christian fellowship and service, personal evangelism and stewardship. This was defined as assistance to the local minister, visitation, the promotion of Christian education in the home, Sunday School, and overseeing the furnishing of the manse.
A second set of minutes is in a hardcover book titled First United Church WA Book II 1930-1935 and documents the six years of WA activity at First United. At the first meeting Mrs. A. Bedford was the secretary, Mrs. Campbell and Mrs. Davies were the hostesses. There is no mention of the President’s name. The preceding record of meetings, First United Church WA Book I 1926-1929, are in the care of the Bob Stewart Archives, Vancouver School of Theology.
A third set of minutes is for the Woman’s Missionary Society (WMS). At the congregational level, the WMS group raised funds for missions, educated members about who benefited from mission work, and supported mission work.
The organization did mission work both in Canada and abroad. A large part of the work centered on schools and hospitals. The national WMS appointed missionaries (“WMS workers”) and supported immigrants, Indigenous communities, and people living in poverty in Canada.
This set of minutes begins with the statement, “First regular meeting of the WMS of the First United Church, Salmon Arm, BC. held at the church parlor on April 22nd, 1926.” The book concludes in 1935.
At the first meeting of the WMS Mrs. Williston was elected President, Mrs. Hooper Vice-President, Mrs. Sinclair Cor. Secretary, Mrs. J.R. Tweeddale Recording Secretary, Mrs. Hanna Treasurer, Mrs. Woodman Young People’s Secretary, Mrs. Cox Children’s Secretary, Mrs. Fraser, Associate Helpers Secretary, Mrs. J.C. Robinson, Supply Secretary, Mrs. Sinclair Missionary Month Secretary, Mrs. Shaw Christian Stewardship Secretary, and Mrs. Woodbridge Strangers’ Secretary. Mrs. Williston and Mrs. McDiarmid were chosen as delegates to the Presbyterial meeting at Vernon.