A Short History
Most people driving by the church at the top of Connors Hill don’t realize that although the building was constructed in 1973, this is one of the oldest congregations in the city. Central’s history goes back to 1893 when the town of Edmonton, in what was then the Northwest Territories, had a population of less than 2000 people.
Rev. F.A. Mueller of the Baptist Church in Leduc held meetings for German immigrants (mainly from Russia) in Edmonton at Robertson’s Hall on Jasper Avenue and 97th Street. This work continued intermittently and by the late 1890’s Rev. Abraham Hager of Rabbit Hill Baptist Church walked the 15 miles to Edmonton each week to minister to the young people moving there from the rural areas. He eventually decided to devote all his time to the work in Edmonton and moved there from Rabbit Hill. Worship services were held at the old Methodist Church (now relocated to Fort Edmonton Park).
Regular church services were conducted for several years and on April 22, 1900, the First German Baptist Church of Edmonton was officially organized. One of the members of the recognition council was Attorney A.C. Rutherford of Strathcona Baptist Church who would go on to become Alberta’s first premier and establish the University of Alberta.
In 1900 the church had 17 members and attendance ranged between 50 and 70 people, with one third of those coming from a Roman Catholic background. The following year the congregation erected the first church building for the cost of $1500. Edmonton continued to grow with an increasing German population that was the target of the outreach of the church.
Over the next 10 years the building was enlarged twice, but by 1912 the congregation decided to sell the building because it had become inadequate for their needs. They built a new, much larger brick building on 96th Street and 106A Avenue. It was during the time in this building that German immigration greatly increased and Central had the opportunity to launch many new church plants around the city. The 96th Street building is now the Mustard Seed Street Church.
In 1967 the church decided that this building no longer served the needs of the growing, multiplying congregation and plans began to start a new building project on our current site at the top of Connors Hill. This building was completed in 1973.
Central embarked on a new adventure when, in January 2012, we started a second site in southeast Edmonton. The Southeast Site was launched after a significant season of growth with a desire to continue to reach more people with the good news of Jesus and welcome more people into the worshipping community of Central.
Although our church has grown and become more diverse in recent years, our core conviction remains the same: we believe Jesus can be most faithfully followed when we follow together. Our desire is that, as we share our lives, God by his grace would continue to grow us up every day in our love for him and other people, and that God would grow a special love in our hearts for those who don’t know Jesus. We want to be those who follow Jesus together, growing in worship, deepening in community, and moving on mission.
We look forward to the future that God has for us, and our hope is that his Kingdom more and more a reality in our hearts, in our families, in our church and in our world today--that the goodness of heaven would increasingly become the reality on earth, and that God in all of this would be glorified. It is with this vision we meet, we serve, we work and we pray together.