At Knox-Metropolitan United Church we are downtown on purpose. We have a lot of history behind us at the corner of Victoria Avenue and Lorne Street in Regina. Our building was once knocked down by the tornado of 1912, but we got back up again. We are not retreating, for we know that our ministry belongs in the downtown. No individual is one-dimensional and that goes for any church.
Knox-Metropolitan has a complex and intriguing present, and an even more exciting future in the offing. And our past is not bad either. Our congregation comes from every neighbourhood of Regina and a few from outside the city. We are a diverse company in race, nationality, education, occupation, and just about any other characteristic. We are united in our calling to ministry and spiritual growth in the city, to being a location and a people committed to the ancient Christian virtue of hospitality, or the love of strangers.
It may not be a requirement to love music to come to Knox-Metropolitan, but it sure makes it easier. Our music program, directed by Hart Godden, is the strongest in the area, centered around a choir of 30-strong, but also includes numerous concerts featuring our Casavant Organ (we have 14 and more organists practising on it regularly – probably a Canadian record!), the Regina Symphony Orchestra, the Regina Philharmonic Chorus, and numerous other choirs and musical groups. Then there is the Rotary Carol Festival – the 72nd annual.
Knox-Metropolitan is located at the center of the city of Regina and we have always been committed to ministry at the crossroads. The Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry (RAPM) has its offices here and its staff – Bonnie Morton and Peter Gilmer – engage in a variety of advocacy programs to help individuals and groups overcome and correct the prejudices toward the poor. RAPM is the direct descendant of the Downtown Chaplaincy, conducted for over 25 years by the Reverend Bob Gay. Through our Outreach ministry we have gone to the corners of the earth. We have been active in refugee resettlement, both with Southeast Asian refugees in the 1980’s and recently with a Kosovar family. In addition, the Outreach ministry raised the funds to sponsor several young adults to visit and live in a mission post of the Moravian Church of Nicaragua and another to participate in mission work in El Salvador. The plan is to send another group of young adults on a mission trip to the northern regions of our country.
Any day you visit Knox-Metropolitan, you may have difficulty with the crowds! Approximately 50 groups and organizations hold regular meetings in our building at all hours of the day: various Anonymous groups, Karate and Tai Chi, baton twirlers, several community choirs, Toastmasters, the Genealogical Society, and a number of business organizations hold luncheons and annual meetings in our facilities. Add to these the full range of church clubs and activities – flea markets, social club dinners and potlucks, youth events, study groups of all kinds, and all the working committees of church life – and you may find it hard to squeeze into the building. Come along and squeeze in.
Knox-Metropolitan is a place bursting with life. We have been here since the beginning – the beginning of Regina, that is. Members of both Knox Presbyterian Church and Metropolitan Methodist Church were among the early settlers in the city and worship services in both traditions took place in 1882. By 1906 both congregations had grown enough so that they built permanent buildings a block apart from one another at either end of Victoria Park. Permanent until the tornado of 1912 severely damaged both buildings; both congregations, however, rebuilt immediately. In 1925 the United Church of Canada was formed, uniting Congregational, Methodist, and Presbyterian congregations across the nation. Both Knox and Metropolitan became United Churches, though maintaining their separate identities. Finally, in November 1951, the two congregations merged to form Knox-Metropolitan United Church (therefore we are proud of and insist upon the hyphen), and moved into the Metropolitan building at Victoria and Lorne.
Where are we going now? Only where you help us to go. Our ministry here is committed to the problems and joys of the downtown core of the city, to worshiping, preaching, and singing our hearts out, to the serious study of our Biblical and historical traditions, to forming a company of very diverse people who are committed to walking with one another on their Christian pilgrimage. We want to become a part of you. Your gifts will change us, and we are convinced we have someone, something, which will change you