The Grant Story
In the early 1890s, a number of immigrants from Scandinavia made their way to Winnipeg because of the promise of employment. Among these were a small number of Baptists who had originally left the state churches of their homelands. They experienced the loneliness and isolation that comes when people are separated from extended family and a church community.
Martin Bergh, a young Norwegian pastor from North Dakota visiting Canada, saw their need for fellowship and helped these Christians organize. On May 1, 1894, 14 believers covenanted together to form a church – the First Scandinavian Baptist Church.
Over the next three years, the church met in various locations, receiving valuable assistance from Rev. Alexander Grant, pastor of the First Baptist Church (now Broadway First Baptist). Pastor Grant regularly went to the CPR station to meet immigrants from Europe, to encourage them, and to provide assistance. He attended Swedish services at First Scandinavian and learned to sing hymns in Swedish. His impact on the young church was so great that when he died in a boating accident in 1897, the church members agreed to rename their church The Alexander Grant Memorial Baptist Church.
The first building was built on the corner of Logan Avenue and Ellen Street, in the centre of Winnipeg’s Swedish community. During World War II, English became the main language of the worship services and of the life of the church. As the church expanded, the building on Logan became inadequate. A new building was constructed in 1950 on Colony Street near the Manitoba Legislative Building.
By 1975, duplicate services and space at the University of Winnipeg were necessary to house the growing congregation. In 1982, the church relocated to its present site at the corner of Wilkes and Waverley in southwest Winnipeg. This new location has allowed the ministry of the church to grow to include Lindenholm (seniors’ residential buildings) and Linden Christian School, which has over 900 students and offers a Christian education from Kindergarten to Grade 12.
Grant Memorial Church is a member of the Baptist General Conference of Canada, an association of roughly 100 churches with over 8,000 in attendance in Canada and many more in our sister association in the United States. Regionally, we are part of the Baptist General Conference – Central Canada, which includes churches in Manitoba and northwest Ontario.
Today, Grant Memorial is home to more than 2,000 constituents and is known for its emphasis on teaching the Scriptures, its choice of traditional and contemporary worship, its many small groups, and its focus on outreach. We stand on the shoulders of the godly men and women who have come before us as we look forward to how God will use us for His kingdom in the years to come.