Newcomers Build Churches

The residential area close to the core of the city of Edmonton was first developed about a hundred years ago. Some of the houses in my street date back to the 1920s, and they were originally occupied by immigrants to Canada.

Each group of newcomers settled close to each other and each new group built a church soon after they arrived.

I have noticed these churches during my neighbourhood walks, and when I looked at a map I counted seventeen within a mile of my house. This inspired a new photographic project and I have begun taking photos of the churches as I pass them.

Eventually I hope to capture them all, but in the mean time, here are five. The differing architectural styles tell us something about the congregations’ countries of origin and also something about the styles of their religions.

Norwood Wesleyan Church (Methodist)

Norwood Wesleyan Church was the first in my neighbourhood to use its doors as a means of communication when the Covid-19 lockdown first began.

Norwood Wesleyan Church
Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ)

The Spanish name of the church does not translate to Church of Christ, but that is on their nameplate. The church was “founded and registered by Felix Y. Manalo in 1914 as a unipersonal religious corporation to the United States administration of the Philippines.” Wikipedia.

Carisma Church (Pentecostal)
Santa Maria Goretti Italian Church (Catholic)
St Thomas Knanaya Church

“The Knānāya, (from Syriac: Knā’nāya (Canaanite)) also known as the Southists or Tekkumbhagar, are an endogamous ethnic group found among the Saint Thomas Christian community of Kerala, India. … The Knanaya claim descent from Thomas of Cana and those who came with him.” Wikipedia.


  1. Anne, I love your new ‘project’. There is a Saint Maria Goretti church in San Jose too. She must have been special or something. Norwood Wesleyan is Methodist maybe? Interesting that only the St Maria Goretti church looks to be physically accessible. There is a church on Story Road right before Story crosses 101 (if you are driving east) that resembles the Inglesia Ni Cristo church architecturally. It used to be painted all green.

    • Yes, the Wesleyan Church will be Methodist. I’ll add that information to the photo caption.

      I think the Iglesia Ni Cristo church took over a building that was formerly a Catholic church. I’ll check it out.

      You are right about most of these buildings not being accessible. In this area, nearly all buildings have basements with windows for emergency egress, so the main floor is always raised up, hence the steps. I’m surprised more of them have not built ramps, though.

      • It turns out that the Iglesia Ni Cristo church took over a building that was formerly the Buchanan Eastwood United Church which had a much less impressive facade. The current look with the pointed arch front and two tall spires were added to make it look like other Iglesia Ni Cristo churches.

        • The back story as it were is always fascinating! We attended a Methodist church in Japantown for quite a few years. Recently I saw a photo of it and it is so big! They have added space over the years and their needs for more space continue to grow. They do a lot of community outreach.

          And there may be other ways to enter the churches with multiple stairs. One never knows.


          • I always like to hear of churches making positive contributions to the community. That, it seems to me, is closer to the original intent of the New Testament.

            Maria Goretti is a saint because she forgave the man who tried to rape her and then murdered her. She was 12 years old. I shake my head.

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