all about oac
A Brief History
Okotoks Alliance Church had its beginning in the home of Pastor Rudy Friesen in 1988. Pastor Friesen, his wife Sharon, and a small group of enthusiastic people met together sharing time in the worship of God through “church meetings”, social gatherings at the local pool, the local skating rinks and in each others' homes.
In early 1989 the church moved into the “Royal Bank” building, immediately to the east of what is now the Town Of Okotoks Municipal Centre. The 5000 plus square feet of space allowed the church to expand its ministry efforts, providing a strong visible street presence in downtown Okotoks.
Like many early church works, Okotoks Alliance Church led a nomadic existence, moving from the “Royal Bank” building (1 McRae Street) to the building that now houses the movie theatre in Okotoks and to several schools in town.
In 1990, Okotoks Alliance Church purchased 8.8 acres just north of the Town of Okotoks. This property became the permanent home of our church.
In the fall of 1991, Pastor Friesen left his position at Okotoks Alliance Church and Pastor T, his wife R and their two children continued on with the work started by the Friesens.
December of 1991 saw the erecting of the “miracle on the prairies”. Starting on Friday morning, through all of Saturday and then early on Sunday morning, Okotoks Alliance Church’s first permanent facility of 1600 square feet was erected (see 'Western Wheel' newspaper article here). The “chapel” was built by members of the congregation, augmented by the support of men and women from Calgary, Okotoks and area. The first service saw a congregation marveling at what could be accomplished with the strength of God and trusting that the still wet textured ceiling would not rain on them.
The fall of 1994 saw the beginning of the church’s current permanent facility with the building of the current sanctuary and adjacent rooms. In April of 1995, the first services were held in the sparkling new church.
Additional growth necessitated the building of the north wing of the church in 2000, which currently houses church offices and much needed classroom space.
The fall of 2000 saw more excitement for Okotoks Alliance Church with the hiring of Darrell Wood as the first Associate Pastor. Pastor Wood, his wife Kelly, and three children brought much needed support to the ministries of the church, with Kelly serving as part-time Children's Director from 2003-2005.
One year later, another big step was realized as Dan Shoop joined the Okotoks Alliance Church as its first Youth Pastor. With his wife Bev and their two children, Pastor Shoop established a strong youth support presence among the congregation.
Summer of 2005 brought Craig Somerville, his wife Tammi and their two daughters to continue on as Associate Pastor, with Tammi serving as part-time Children's Director from 2005-2008. That summer also saw Murray Lutzer come in to continue with the youth ministry of Okotoks Alliance Church as Youth Pastor, continuing the work that Dan Shoop had started. Terra Buschmann joined the Children's ministry team from 2006-2007.
Increased demands of church ministry saw Tim Korthuis come on staff in September of 2007 as Worship Pastor, Rick Kneeshaw serving from November of 2007 to September of 2008 as Executive Pastor and Lori Hafermehl serving as Children's Pastor from February of 2008 to July of 2009, with Tim Korthuis taking on the responsibilities of Children's Pastor as of July 2009. In March of 2009, Sharon Rae joined our staff as part-time Youth Director.
In June of 2010, after 19 years of ministry at OAC, Pastor T stepped down as Lead Pastor to pursue God's call to work overseas. Their wonderful times of ministry at Okotoks Alliance Church will not be forgotten. Pastor Melvin Sylvester stepped in as a 'transitional pastor' role to assist the church in this time of transition, and assist the Elder's board in searching out a new lead pastor.
In September of 2011, the church extended a call to Pastor Terry Lee and his family to come be the new Lead Pastor at Okotoks Alliance Church which they happily accepted. The church continues to grow and reach out to the fabulous community of Okotoks, and invited Lee Umbach to join the team in June 2014 as part-time Children's Pastor, with Pastor Craig taking on the role of Family Pastor (including Youth and Small Groups).
Pastor Terry and the congregation are excited about what God has in store for Okotoks Alliance Church, as we look forward to continuing to partner with others within the community to meet the spiritual and physical needs within Okotoks and its surrounding area.