The year was 1937. The Depression had not yet run its course, the Second war in Europe had not yet begun, and in just a few short months, a new King would ascend to the throne of the British Empire. During that year Hanna would experience two very severe dust storms which would come to be viewed as the "worst storms ever". Money was tight, but so were relationships. Neighborliness was a way of life and everyone helped each other out as the need arose. Churches were well attended at both morning and evening services and faith was for many an important part of life. It was this kind of a setting that Hanna Alliance Church was born.
It all began when a group of like-minded Christians gathered at the home of Clifford Carter. Mr. Carter had arrived in Hanna in 1925 and had come to faith through the ministry of Rev.A.W.Coone. After attending Moody Bible Institute for three and one half years, Mr. Carter returned to Hanna, where he was involved with several churches in the area over the next five years. In January of 1937, a group of Christians got together with a desire to establish a non-denominational church. This was done, and Mr. Carter and a Mr. Willis were chosen to be pastor and assistant pastor respectively. For the first few months the group met in the old "White School" on the school grounds. Then, when the school board had need of the facility, the church was moved to a vacant building owned by Dr. Wade. The group chose the name "Calvary Tabernacle" for their fledgling work.
In 1941, it was decided to join with the Christian & Missionary Alliance. This was done successfully and later that year it was also decided to purchase the Bambrick Building on the corner of Third Avenue and Centre Street, opposite Fano's Garage. This would be home to the congregation for twenty-one years. The back of the building was turned into a parsonage with a bedroom, a kitchen and a living room, and the rest of the building housed the hall used for meetings. It was a bit crowded, but the work was beginning to grow under the faithful ministry of those men whom God brought to serve this small congregation.
In 1956, the congregation decided to build a manse for their pastors to live in. With three bedrooms and all the modern amenities, this was a welcome change from the cramped quarters at the back of the church. And the former parsonage at the back of the church now became available to be used for church ministry functions. This no doubt helped with the Sunday School, the boys and girls club, and the youth group, which were all organized by the church.
In 1959, discussions began to be had about the need for a newer, bigger church building. It was decided to finish paying off the manse before pursuing that idea much further. The day did come, though, when it was time to move to another building. The old United Church came up for sale, and in November of 1962, the congregation moved to this new location. As our church historian, Myrtle Greenway, put it: "As always, some renovations were necessary. Partitions for Sunday School rooms had to be built both upstairs and down. The women rejoiced to have a kitchen. Now we could have church suppers in our own building. The sanctuary with its Gothic windows and comfortable pews made us very happy. It was an improvement, a real place of worship."
In 1966 another change was made. This time, it was a change of name. The name that had graced the congregation for almost thirty years was retired and Calvary Tabernacle became known as "Hanna Alliance Church", the name by which the congregation is known to the present day. Within a year, there was beginning to be talk of the pros and cons of remodeling the old church or building new to facilitate growing ministry opportunities. In 1970, land was purchased from the Town of Hanna, and in 1973, the building was completed and ready for use. The Dedication Service was held on June 10, 1973. This building, with some renovations, has been home ever since, and as the congregation has waxed and waned, it has proven to be adequate for the congregation's needs.
A quick reading of the official church history shows a number of interesting themes or strands in the history of Hanna Alliance Church. One most important strand has been the importance of the ministry of the Word and of prayer in the life of the congregation. The official history recounts many, many instances of how these two core ministries impacted and influenced the lives of those who have made Hanna Alliance their church home. Another key strand throughout seventy-five years of history as a congregation has been the understanding that people need to have a personal relationship with God through Christ. The individual ministries of this congregation have always had this goal in mind - that men and women, boys and girls come to a place of personal faith in Jesus Christ. It has been with that motivation that another strand has been so prominent at Hanna Alliance Church. Down through the years there has always been some form of ministry to children and to youth. And as one looks at the old Sunday School records, for example, it is obvious that many children have had an opportunity to learn about the Saviour of the world. As a result of these emphases, Hanna Alliance has had a part in helping many young people enter into a life of ministry and service to God.
Over the years, Hanna Alliance has been blessed by the ministry of eighteen pastors. They are:
Clifford M. Carter (1937-1940)
Gordon A. Ferguson (1940-1942)
William Rose (1942-1945)
John Harder (1945-1948)
Norman W. Dreger (1948-1951)
Harold J. Jost (1951-1955)
John Klassen (1955-1960)
Roy David (1960-1964)
Howard Woodruff (1965-1966)
Graeme Crouch (1967)
Percy Barley (1967-1971)
Jack Allinson (1971-1973)
Robert W. Payne (1974-1980)
Richard Munro (1980-1982)
Garry Anderson (1983-1987)
Deiter Magnus (1987-1994)
Bruce Palsky (1995-2002)
Paul R. Warnock (2002-2019)
Ron Wurtz (Transitional Pastor, March - December 2019)
Walter R. Willford (2019-present)
As we look back, we give thanks to God for all the opportunities to be involved and encourage people's faith in this community and surrounding area. We look forward to an exciting future as we continue to make disciples who make disciples and bless our community. It is our heart-felt prayer that the Lord Jesus Christ receive all the glory!
Information on the history of Hanna Alliance has come from several sources including Myrtle Greenway's notes for 50th anniversary, the Hanna Herald and others. Thanks to Pastor Paul Warnock for gathering and updating this material.