Arizona Church (1898)

Arizona Church #2The church is a simple frame structure with Gothic windows. Throughout the building’s life as a church, it was not equipped with pews but used chairs instead. It was originally a Presbyterian church. Methodists rented it until 1925 when the Methodist Church of Canada, Presbyterian Church in Canada, Congregational Union of Canada, and General Council of Union Churches amalgamated into the United Church.  Arizona Church became a United Church at that time.

The Arizona United Church remained in use until the mid-1960s when it was closed for regular services. However, it was used for weddings and funerals as needed. Former members of the church raised money to have it moved to the Museum in 1974.

_DSC3876And7more_tonemappedThe Arizona district was settled in 1883. The community came to be named “Arizona” because early settlers joked that they were so far away from civilization that they might just as well be in Arizona, USA. This isolation meant there were no schools or churches in the early years. Some twenty years after settlement, the area received rail service when the Canadian Northern Pacific Railway built a rail line from Portage la Prairie to Brandon. This rail line eased life in the area considerably.

The first settlers were Mr. and Mrs. Fred Roseberry who were prominent members of the Methodist congregation. The first Church services were held in their home. Using private homes for church services was a common practice in pioneer Manitoba. After the formation of a school district in 1885, the Methodist congregation in Arizona used the school classroom for church services, another common practice in pioneer Manitoba.

The church services were conducted in the Roseberry home by Rev. J. W. Bell, who walked from Carberry (a distance of 17 miles) every Wednesday morning. According to local lore, Rev. Bell carried a gun en route to these services in Arizona so that he could take advantage of duck shooting along the way.


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