About Knox Grand Valley
In the Beginning …
In the earliest years of settlement in the valley, traveling preachers would arrive in the area and everyone gathered in the largest home to hear the Christian message, sing a few hymns, and enjoy some social time with their neighbours. As Luther Village developed in the valley, the reformed churches --Presbyterians, Anglicans and Methodists -- used the school house at Joyce’s corners -- the corner of Main and Amaranth Streets -- for their worship services. A large enough population had settled in this area by the 1870’s that they were able to erect their own church buildings.
In the spring of 1873, the Presbyterians bought land for $1 from Jacob Scott and his wife. The church was built by church people from timber cut and milled in the neighbourhood. Most members were farmers who travelled in wagons pulled by oxen or horses. The corduroy roads were so rough that those who could walk did.
Rev. MacKay from Cheltenham preached his verse from Isaiah 43 when the church was dedicated on September 8th, 1873:
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
This church was at the top of the hill where there was little danger of the waters sweeping over those Presbyterians. I wonder what he thought when he was invited back on February 16, 1902 as guest preacher for the dedication of our present church on the riverbank!
We remember only one occasion when the downstairs piano had to be moved to higher ground but there have been many occasions when church members have watched the water rise and have wondered if there would be a flood.
The manse -- the first brick building in the village -- was built soon after that. A second larger manse was purchased in 1929. Our own Leighton and Mary McGinnis made it their home when the church decided to sell it and build a new manse next to the church in 1963.
When the village changed its name from Luther Village to Grand Valley, a congregational meeting was called to change the name to Grand Valley Presbyterian Church.
During those early years one of the longtime and well-loved ministers was the Rev. Hugh Crozier who served from 1884 until 1899 and not just as minister but also as the dentist for the whole area. His wife, was the first president of the Women’s Missionary Society which she organized in 1875.
The Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational Churches after many years of discussion voted for church union which gave birth to the United Church of Canada in 1925. When the vote on church union was taken in 1925, only a few families left Knox, Grand Valley, to become part of the new United church. The majority stayed Presbyterian.
Our traditions are similar enough that we have been able to share ministry and church life with Trinity United Church over our years as neighbours, even sharing two of our recent ministers: the Rev. Jan Aylward and the Rev. Dr. Ron Archer.
During the 50’s and 60’s we experienced the surge in church growth shared by all the mainline churches. Our Sunday Schools were bursting at the seams; there was an active Couples Club, a Young Peoples’ Society and three women’s groups: the traditional Women’s Missionary Society -- WMS, the Ladies Aid Society, and the Young Women’s Auxiliary. In 1983, the Church came together and fundraised an incredible $50,000 for the purchase and installation of a Wicks organ, complete with chimes. In 1984 the Ladies Activity Group was founded. Most of these women worked outside the home and needed to meet in the evening. Their focus of service was supporting the Sunday School and Youth Group.
We at Knox are changing with the times. Our Sunday services combine traditional elements with contemporary modes of worship. We are gradually changing from “silent, conservative worshippers” to a friendly, smiling and even laughing church family. Our young families and Sunday School children are an enthusiastic and important part of our church family. They inspire us and give us a sense of purpose and hope for the future.
Rev. Noel Ramsey with his siblings
Reaching out to the community is central to our faith and our call to serve. We are pleased that Alcoholics Anonymous and Grand Valley Lions chose our church basement as their regular meeting place. Every Thursday morning, the Grand Valley community is welcome for "Coffee and Conversation." Over the years, Tai Chi, craft and arts groups, the Historical Society have used our space. Our Activity Group holds stimulating and fun meetings each month and takes on many service projects -- helping with Meals On Wheels, supporting Concern — our local food bank, reaching out to those in the community needing help or a friendly visit, and responding with donations when there are natural disasters anywhere in the world.
Over the past few years, we have been holding Sunday afternoon concerts. Our sanctuary makes a fine concert hall and performers appreciate the acoustics. The wider community has supported these events so we hope to offer many more and provide a variety of musical experiences for the Valley to enjoy.
Then COVID arrived and Knox changed with the times again. In January 2020, our current minister, the Rev. Noel Ramsey was ordained and inducted, and in collaboration with the Session and members of the congregation, Knox began offering online worship services, fellowship times and weekly Bible studies via Zoom. Knox continues to offer these online ministries, but has also re-opened the sanctuary for online worship since June 2021. As the province re-opens, Knox continues to prayerfully reflect upon and seek guidance as Church activities and community organizations resume their ministries.
Knox Today ...
While some things do change, there are things that remain constant. Knox continues to be a welcoming and caring community who seeks to deepen faith, nurture relationships and share the love of Christ in the Grand Valley and surrounding area. We believe that the Spirit inspired pages of Scripture testify to the saving acts of God, which is ultimately revealed in Jesus Christ – the greatest revelation of God’s love, forgiveness, and gift of life to the world. We believe that the Spirit of the risen Christ is alive and at work through the universal Church – a community of faith called together to continue the healing and restorative ministry of Jesus Christ. Knox seeks to witness to this Good News with an incarnational faith that shares the love of God and people by nurturing relationships in life-giving ways, ways that continue to pursue the Kingdom in our time. Together, we move more fully into relationship with God. Together, we learn to see our world in more compassionate ways and learn how to be kinder to one another. We hope you will find Knox a place to call home.
'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength’ and ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself’. There is no other commandment greater than these.
– Mark 12: 30 - 31