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  • Katherine Matiko

Foothills Excursion Two: Churches of the Foothills

Off to my next adventure – camera in hand – in the spectacular foothills of Alberta.


As usual, the Millarville General Store is my starting point. Have you been to the store recently? With beautiful antiques and photos as well as a new plaque acknowledging the origins of the store, owner Tim Babey has created a tribute to the history of the Millarville area.

 

With history in mind, I decide to check out a couple of the historic churches near Millarville, beginning with Christ Church Anglican located a few kilometres east of the Millarville General Store on Highway 549. (It’s about 54 kilometres west of Calgary, Alberta.)


The church was built in 1896 with its logs pointing to the sky, a rather unusual construction technique for the time. Perhaps its founders had heaven in mind when they built it; the little church and surrounding cemetery and grounds are a little piece of heaven on earth, even today.

 

The bell tower silently watches over a peaceful scene, well worth a stop if you are driving by – or perhaps you should make it a destination to bathe your soul in the magical light of an Alberta evening.

 

I love cemeteries. They are somber yet hopeful. They tell stories of undying love. Although the memories of this cemetery aren’t my own, I am touched by the tributes to those who lived long lives and the monuments to those who died far too soon.

 

Sit in this sacred space and rest for a while. If you are lucky, the sun will set on a day well spent.

 

Next, I make my way to Christ Church’s sister church, St. James Anglican Church in the hamlet of Priddis, about 20 kilometres north of Millarville General Store. Nestled between a paved road and an upsweeping wooded hill, this church was built in 1904. Like Christ Church, St. James is supported by an active congregation and hosts regular Sunday services.

 

This charming county church brings to mind the tiny church I attended on the Saskatchewan prairie as a child.

 

The church’s face glows with a welcoming light from the setting sun.

 

As I head back to Millarville General Store to tell tales of my adventure – and find out from Tim, a long-time Millarville-area resident, where to explore next – I feel thankful for the church volunteers who lovingly maintain these elegant buildings. In doing so, they are keeping century-old memories alive.


Until next time,

Katherine

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