There is a long line of Baptist history in Cold Lake. The following is a brief synopsis of the start as told by Reverend J.F. Welsh as recorded in the Cold Lake history book, and with help from individuals who were members of each of the churches mentioned below:
“In 1945 the Lord led me [Pastor Welsh] to the town of Cold Lake to begin a Gospel testimony. At that time the town of Cold Lake was quite small. There was no electricity, nor water except in the lake. There were no policemen and certainly no roads. We did not know why the Lord was leading us here for no one knew then that the Cold Lake Air Base was coming, nor Imperial Oil.
The old Hudson’s Bay store building was bought, moved, remodelled, and used for a church building for a number of years. In 1966, a new church building was erected at 602 10 Street.” Pastor Welsh, with a passion to preach, had difficulty transitioning to younger leadership and meeting the needs of a much younger congregation resulting in a serious decline in membership. Following the passing of Pastor Welsh in 1994, the Cold Lake Baptist Church building was eventually sold to house the Harbour Light Alliance Church.
Not wanting to be in opposition to the work of Cold Lake Baptist Church, those who had moved on from Cold Lake Baptist Church prior to Pastor Welsh’s death decided to begin meeting in Grand Centre (now Cold Lake South) in a rented location. Knowing Marvin VanEss from Victory Baptist Bible College in Prince Albert, SK, and after consulting with him, this group decided to call him to be their pastor.
Continuing to meet in Grand Centre until such time that the United Church at 304 10 Street Cold Lake came on the market, the group was able to purchase that building and it became Open Door Baptist Church. While Pastor VanEss was the preacher, Peter and Mary Hebert visited Bearing Precious Seed Ministry in the United States and were instrumental in the founding of Bearing Precious Seed Canada in Cold Lake. With the Heberts in leadership of this ministry, Open Door Baptist Church housed the printing press for the John and Romans booklets that were printed, collated, and distributed from Cold Lake. Around the same time, Reinhardt Schuhmacher moved his family to Cold Lake, assisting in the teen ministry as youth pastor.
When Pastor VanEss felt called to move to Indiana to update his education, Pastor Schuhmacher continued as the new pastor of the Open-Door Baptist Church. Mrs. Schuhmacher, however, was chronically ill with rheumatoid arthritis and required frequent specialized medical care. Therefore, after a few years of ministering in Cold Lake, Pastor Schuhmacher saw the need to move closer to Edmonton and the Bearing Precious Seed Ministry was moved to Victory Baptist Church in Sherwood Park at this time as well.
With laymen preaching and after months of unsuccessful attempts to find a permanent pastor, the diminished congregation of the Open-Door Baptist Church decided to sell the building at 304 10th St. While many members moved on to other churches, the few remaining congregants began meeting at the Grand Centre Senior’s Society room in the Cold Lake Library South Branch until a new, young pastor was sent to Cold Lake.
The continued desire to have a Baptist church in Cold Lake did not go unnoticed and Pastor David Harness Sr. was instrumental in encouraging Charles Hollingsworth to serve in Cold Lake. In response to the direction of the Holy Spirit, Victory Baptist Church of Sherwood Park ordained Charles Hollingsworth as a preacher of the Gospel and appointed him as the pastor of a church plant in Cold Lake (2006-2018). The first meetings were held in October 2006. With the support of many churches from Western Canada, and with the special assistance of Baptist Church Planting Ministries (BCPM), Lakeside Baptist Church was founded. Since that time the congregation has grown.
The building that it currently meets in was acquired in 2009 with the assistance of Martti & Pirrko Sihvo, the same building that had once housed Open Door Baptist Church. Through the generous gifts, and vigorous efforts of the assembly and its friends, it was improved and renovated.
Vern and Melinda Brown were instrumental in expressing the need of a pastor at Lakeside Baptist to Pastor Jason Yellowknee, who was in Manitoba at that time. In February of 2019 Jesse Hollingsworth was called to be the interim pastor of the church and was used of the Lord to prepare Lakeside for their future pastor. Pastor Jason Yellowknee answered the call to full time pastorship of Lakeside in August of 2019.
The Baptist church in Cold Lake has a rich history and a promising future. The membership at Lakeside Baptist Church is grateful for the sacrificial efforts of the many servants of the Lord who faithfully served the Saviour and the city of Cold Lake during their time. We, as a group of believers, have been and continue to be blessed by God’s hand. We, as a congregation, whole-heartedly look forward to ways in which we can serve within our community and beyond to share the Gospel with others.
Quote from (Treasured Scales of the Kinosoo, pages 229, 230)