First Baptist Church had its earliest beginnings around 1905, and has weathered many ups and downs throughout its history. Discontinued for a time during the Great Depression and the First World War, it was started up again in 1948 by Mr. C.P. Jinks, a Baptist deacon who had relocated to Pincher Creek from Texas. Unable to accept the fact of a town of 1500 people without a Baptist church, he and his family began a search for fellow Baptists in the area. The group he assembled rented the Orange Hall on the former Bridge Ave (now Bev McLachlin Drive), and on Thanksgiving weekend of 1948, 23 people became charter members of the “new” church.
Throughout the first few years the church struggled with financial challenges, criticism and differences of opinion. Rev. and Mrs. A.J.D. Milton were instrumental in bringing the new congregation to a place of stability and consensus. Many of the original founding members lived in Cowley and transportation was often difficult. Yet the church persevered because they were convinced of the need for an evangelical Christian witness in the community, including a Sunday school for teaching children the faith, and the need for communal worship and fellowship among those of like mind.
The help and support of the First Baptist Church in Lethbridge, as well as the financial support of the Baptist denomination were major contributors to the success of the church in Pincher Creek and Cowley. Though these two congregations chose to meet separately for a time, in 1968 they rejoined and the congregation continued to grow. Mill Creek Camp was founded in 1967 and has continued to be a major outreach supported by the church right up to the present day. The Baptist Leadership Training School in Calgary was another resource for the spiritual formation and training of the young people from Pincher Creek.
By 1979, the church had grown to an average attendance of 75 people, and was outgrowing its space in the Orange Hall. A building committee was formed with encouragement from Rev. Ron Harris, and the Orange Hall was sold to the Elks Lodge in 1982. The proceeds from the sale, as well as a generous donation from First Baptist in Lethbridge and many personal sacrifices from the congregation, made possible the construction of the new building on Charlotte St., which was dedicated by Rev. A. Wolstenholme in October, 1985. For the three years during the planning, fundraising and construction, the church met in the old gym of Matthew Halton School. During this time, by the grace of God, the congregation grew steadily. Members used their gifts and talents to serve in many new ways, and their hard work has benefitted all of us who still use the building on Charlotte St. today.
God has carried the church in Pincher Creek, AB, through many challenges and we are grateful to Him and to all those who went before us to establish this congregation as a place of worship, ministry and service in our community. Thank you especially to Lois Smyth, Selma Tustian and Marie Smyth who have helped preserve the memory of all that God has brought us through. We trust He will be just as faithful to guide and help us in the future as he has been in the past.