Church of the Ascension constructed 1940-1941, 10 miles east of Nipawin; R.M. 487.
NIPAWIN (farms) — The church of the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ is the first church of the parish.
The church was constructed in 1940-1941 on a two acre site ten miles east of Nipawin. The first Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Rev. Michael Horoshko. Bishop Andrew Roborecki visited the church m 1960.
At first raw timber was obtained from forests twenty-five miles away from the settlement. It was later prepared, gratis, into construction lumber at the sawmill of the brothers Ivan, Mykhaylo and Stanyslav Fran-tsishyn. Construction began in 1940 under the foreman-ship of Nykola Gulka with all parishioners taking part. By 1941, the church was completed and equipped with all the necessities for holy services. In 1945, Hryhoriy and Ivan Gulka finished the interior, painted the church and constructed the pews.
The east-west oriented church is a rectangular structure measuring 38 x 32 feet with a shingled gable roof centrally apexed by a small blind cupola. The small adjoining porch-sacristy is north of the sanctuary. The interior contains but one main altar, a nave and a choir loft entered by a stairway south of the main entrance. A cast iron stove near the sacristy provides the heating system. There is no vestibule. Decoration in the church consists of several oil prints brought by earlier pioneers from their homeland.
Near the church stands a mission cross and adjacent to it, a belfry was constructed in 1940. The parish hall, constructed in 1947, was sold in 1970. The two acre church and cemetery site was purchased for a symbolic fee from Hryhoriy Pushkarenko.
Ukrainian settlers arrived in the 1930’s from various parts of Canada but predominantly from the Ituna, Yorkton and Cudworth districts. The first organizational meeting, in November 1939, was attended by 10 members. At the second meeting, on January 21, 1940 at the home of Michael Pihowich, the first executive was chosen with: Nicholas Gulka, president;
Peter Yurkowski, vice-president; Michael Pihowich, secretary; William Gulka, assistant secretary; Hryhoriy Pushkarenko, treasurer, and John Senkow, financial secretary. Prior to the construction of the church, holy services were held in private homes by the pastors who commuted from Prince Albert.
In 1941 the parish had 20 members (Prop. Knyha) and in 1961, 60 souls (Directory). At present the parishioners are affiliated with the parish of All Saints in Nipawin.
Updated October 2003
The wooden belfry, situated on the north side of the church succumbed to the elements in the early 1980’s. The bell was mounted on a concrete pedestal on the side of the original wooden belfry. The mission cross also located on the north side of the church collapsed in the 1970’s because of decay and deterioration. In 2002, the one armed metal cross from All Saints Church in Nipawin was set on a concrete base on the south side of the church, replacing the original wooden metal cross.
In 1989, the 50th anniversary of the organization of the Ukrainian catholic parish of The Ascension was observed. In preparation for this special occasion, the barbed wire fence, shrubs and trees that served as the border of the church property were cleared and replaced with evergreens. The late John Arabsky constructed a magnificent metal gate and archway entrance to the church grounds. The interior of the church was repainted in its original colors. The late John Arabsky and his wife Matha restained all the pews of the church. The shingles on the roof were replaced. Steve and Ann Derkach replaced the original maroon woven carpet with a woven white one. A commemorative outdoor Divine Liturgy was celebrated by the late Reverend Father Lubomyr Ramach, pastor, and Reverend Father Walter Kostiuk, former pastor. Nipawin All Saints choir sang the responses. A short program and barbeque followed prepared by the Knights of Columbus completed the celebrations.
Although the church of the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ is no longer used, the parishioners have a special sentimental feeling for it. The cemetery on this site serves the churches of the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ and All Saints in Nipawin. (See Nipawin All Saints Parish.)
The Ukrainian Catholic parish of the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Nipawin (farms), still remains under the pastoral charge of Melfort.