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The Wayside Story

The winter of 1889-90 was spoken of as much colder than normal. In the midst of that same winter the William Monkmans decided they would celebrate their 5th wedding anniversary. As was the custom of the district this demanded a supply of whiskey. So William left by team and sleigh from Balsam Bay, an extremely cold morning, for the town of West Selkirk where he intended to purchase two gallons of whiskey. He decided to call in at his parents whose home was in the district of Poplar Park. Before reaching his parent’s home he stopped at a neighbour’s house, where a gospel meeting was being held. Knowing his parents would be there, he went in. The gospel message was “Christ, the Bread of Life”, preached by Richard Varder and Alfred Goff. That night, January 26, 1890, William accepted Christ as his Saviour. The next morning he returned to Balsam Bay with two preachers instead of the two gallons of whiskey and in place of the intended dance there was a gospel meeting. Nine people professed salvation and were baptized in Lake Winnipeg later that year.The new converts to faith in Jesus Christ first gathered in the home of John Flett. Over the years the church moved from home to school house and back to homes. In 1921 more local people came to faith in Christ under the preaching of George Brandow and Alex Monkman, who started a home Bible study so people could learn more about God’s word and its plan for their lives. That Bible study has continued all through the years to this present day, one group meeting at Wayside and another group meeting in homes in the north beaches.

Every year, from 1921 until about 1935, there were gospel meetings held in the school during the New Year holiday. Itinerant preachers came with stirring gospel messages and many placed their faith in Jesus Christ. As the number of Christians increased they agreed to start a church assembly at Stoney Point (now Patricia Beach). Growing over the years, the church expanded to three assemblies; at Beaconia, Grand Marais and Victoria Beach. Then in 1990 those assemblies combined again and located at the present site of Wayside on Fey Road, on a piece of property donated by a local businessman in a an old school-house donated by a church member, which the congregation renovated.

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The church continued to grow, so in 2004 talk of expanding the building began but at the church annual meeting in 2006 it was decided to construct a new building adjacent to the existing building on Fey Road. The church members placed their faith in God to provide all the needs; financial, labour and materials and in the fall of 2006 with plans and permits in hand the site clearing began, followed by the foundation in the spring and summer of 2007. Much of the labour and funds came from within the church, with expertise sought for skills we did not have. In December of 2011 we moved into the new building, which was formally dedicated to the work of the Lord on January 15, 2012.The testimony of faith, which humbly began in 1890, carries on today. Wayside’s vision, embraced by the leaders among us and lovingly pursued by its members, is based solely on God’s word, which is our life and our passion.