First CRC Rocky Mountain House
Our History


First CRC had its start in the late 1940s with the arrival of immigrants from the Netherlands. They came to Rocky Mountain House because the Canadian government at the time wanted to bring more land in the west under cultivation. Some of the new arrivals had never farmed a day in their lives and had to learn quickly, in a new country, in a new language.  
One big attraction at the time was affordable land. An unimproved quarter section (that is, bush waiting to be cleared) would cost $800-$1,000 while a property with house and barn and maybe fifty acres of cultivated land would be between $2,500 and $6,000. And if the farm struggled, there were coal mines and lumber mills in the west country. (Today oil and gas fields fill the same need.)
Local historian Pat McDonald tells the story of Rocky Mountain House in Where the River Brought Them. He tells how the Dutch were warmly welcomed. “The Canadians never made fun of us,” said one immigrant, “no matter how bad our pronunciation. They always encouraged our use of English and somehow ensured us that we were doing just fine.”
McDonald tells about Stan Hooker, who was manager of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in the early 1950s. Hooker, he says, “invested in the dreams of the Dutch settlers by advancing loans and supporting them as they developed their homesteads. Hooker was always willing to support the Dutch; as he would often say, ‘They never let me down.’”

First CRC was launched by the immigrants with the same cheerful, stubborn determination they brought to their farms. The congregation met first in various homes, then in a rented hall until a church building was constructed in 1952. Members came from five different denominations in the Netherlands. The mix obviously generated different opinions and an occasional argument. It also put a premium on patience, tact and compromise.


Today the “Dutch Church” has become totally Canadian.  Actually, we cringe a little at the old label. We’re Canucks. We proudly fly the flag. We loudly celebrate Canada Day. We’re passionate about the Flames, or is it the Oilers? We love the west country. Horses, hiking, camping, quadding, snowmobiling, quilting, scrapbooking—we’re into all that.
Today First CRC has approximately 95 families and 400 members with strong ties to the larger community. We worship each Sunday and offer a wide range of programming—ministries for children and youth, Coffee Break, Friendship, craft group, some small groups and 60+ (a ministry to seniors).
And there’s our summer camp. In 1963 a twenty acre parcel of land was donated to First CRC for youth ministries. The camp has grown over the years—cabins, a kitchen and dining hall, an amphitheatre, etc. Each July we host two overnight camps and a Vacation Bible Camp. The camps are a signature ministry of the church and a bridge into our community.

As we move forward, we trust in God’s leading. We continue to ask how we can work more effectively to be the hands and the voice of Christ in our community under the Rocky Mountain foothills.