Fonds - Michel-Natal Pastoral Charge (Sparwood, B.C.) fonds

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Michel-Natal Pastoral Charge (Sparwood, B.C.) fonds

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  • 1900-2002 (Creation)
    United Church of Canada. Michel-Natal Pastoral Charge (Sparwood, B.C.)

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52.3 cm of textual records

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The coal mining towns of Michel and Natal were founded c 1900 in the Fernie area of British Columbia. Missionaries and churches soon took up residence in these towns. Fernie Methodist Church was built and dedicated in June, 1900 and the early ministers also provided services to the surrounding mining communities. A Methodist church was built in Michel in 1903. In 1899, Presbyterian work began in the area with services being held in various bunkhouses, dining rooms and halls owned by the coal company. By World War I, the Methodists and Presbyterians were working together throughout the Kootenays and this was the case in Michel. The churches entered union in 1925 and services were held at both the Michel United Church and at a mission house in nearby Natal. By the 1960s, services were only being held in Michel as the Natal mission house had been deemed unsafe. The village of Sparwood was first established in 1950 when the coal mining company opened lots to provide better housing for people in Michel and Natal. In the mid-1960s, major developments in Sparwood took place involving a large amount of resettlement of the population in the area, the development of a new "planned town" urban renewal and creation of a vast open pit coal mine which was developed by Kaiser Resources Ltd. Sparwood was incorporated as a Municipal District in 1966 when it took in the whole area of Natal. The Michel-Natal Pastoral Charge existed from 1925 to 1963 and was served by their own clergy. From 1963 to 1965, Michel was served by the minister from Fernie while Natal no longer held services. From 1965 to 1969, there was most likely a shared ministry arrangement with the Anglican clergy in Michel. In 1970, Sparwood was listed as a pastoral charge for the first time. It was probably served by the Fernie United Church clergy in the early 1970s. From 1973 to 1977, the Sparwood congregation was a part of the East Kootenay Ecumenical Ministry, an Anglican-United Shared Ministry which included Sparwood, Elkford, Grasmere and Jaffray. Sparwood-Elkford Pastoral Charge existed from 1977 to 1979. From 1980 to 1989, St. Barbara's United Church (Sparwood, B.C.) is listed as a separate pastoral charge. In 1989, it is again listed as a Shared Ministry but from 1990 to 2000, St. Barbara's United Church (Sparwood, B.C.), Knox United Church (Fernie, B.C.) and Grasmere constitute the Elk Valley Pastoral Charge within Kootenay Presbytery.

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Scope and content

Fonds consists of records from Michel Methodist Church, Michel United Church, Natal Methodist Church, Natal United Church, St. Barbara's United Church (Sparwood, B.C.), Elkford United Church, Sparwood-Elkford Pastoral Charge and Michel-Natal Pastoral Charge. Records include a Baptism register (1903-1998), Marriage registers (1906-1998) and a Burial register (1904-1998); Circuit register (1904-1964), Historic roll (1979-1996); Joint Board of Management minutes (1980-1990), Session minutes (1939-1948), Stewards minutes (1946-1952), Official Board minutes (1900-1998), Trustees minutes (2002), East Kootenay Ecumenical Ministry Council minutes (1972-1976); Sale of St. Barbara's United Church records (2000-2002); Ladies Pleasant Hour Society minutes (1939-1946), Ladies' Aid/United Church Women account book (1959-1968), United Church Women minutes (1975-1990); and Congregational financial records (1946-2001); and Annual reports (1977).

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Box list available. Online Finding Aid

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BCAUL control number: UCCBC-286

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