Circle Drive Alliance - The Miracle Church on Circle Drive

Circle Drive Alliance has gone through many changes in the past 25 years.

Excerpts from an article entitled MIRACLE CHURCH ON CIRCLE DRIVE by H. ROBERT COWLES describe much of the metamorphosis that took place in the transformation of University Drive Alliance to Circle Drive Alliance. Robert Cowles said:

"Mind boggling. Unbelievable. Out of this world.

Select any superlative you can think of and you will not be too extravagant in describing what has risen on the southern fringe of Saskatoon in south central Saskatchewan. Just off Circle Dive which forms a bypass around the city is the world's largest C&MA church, at least in terms of seating capacity. The sanctuary can comfortably accommodate 2,058 on the main floor. This seemingly profligate seating space was stretched to the limit last November 11 when 2,180 turned out for the dedication of the new building.

For Rev. Walter Boldt and his enterprising congregation, the road from their long-overcrowded quarters on University Drive to these new facilities as spacious as the prairies that surround them has been paved with miracles.

The Saskatoon church began inauspiciously forty-seven years ago, in1931 Rev. W. H. Brooks, one of the early pioneers, was only half jesting when he declared the church so small that "when you leaned over the pulpit you could scratch the back wall." But before he left Saskatoon Mr. Brooks was preaching to 300 people.

Another prominent Canadian clergyman, Rev. Roy McIntyre, now superintendent of the Western Canadian District, built the initial church on University Dive, which was enlarged to almost double its size after Mr. Boldt came in 1960. But the auditorium capacity of 700 and the very limited parking area were restrictions that the church found a continuing frustration.

Four times University Dive Alliance Church sent members to begin other C&MA churches in the city -- three English-speaking congregations and a Chinese church that now shares its facilities with a Vietnamese group. After each such exodus, the church was soon back to capacity. Obviously something needed to he done.

The "something" was a study to determine objectives. "We sat down and defined our goals as evangelism and discipleship" Pastor Boldt says. "We decided every department should adopt these goals or be phased out. "Then we determined what staff we needed to meet our goals, calculating also one staff member for every 150 constituents. We hired on the basis of each person's gifts-in Christian education, administration, evangelism, counseling, music, youth. The staff then determined program, and the program, in turn, determined facilities."

There was also the matter of a long-term $173,000 indebtedness on the University Drive building. In just nine months in 1973 the congregation liquidated it completely. To Pastor Boldt's surprise, missions and general budget giving increased while they were paying off their indebtedness. "I began to realize our challenges were not great enough," Mr. Boldt adds.

"Small plans do not enflame great minds."

With the debt cleared, they found thirty acres of property east of the city, The price: $100,000. It was an opportunity for Mr. Boldt to put his theory to the test, the congregation responded magnificently and in full.

But the hurdles were far from over. A building such as the church envisioned would cost at least $2 million.

In an outpouring of generosity that astounded even the fund raisers the congregation subscribed $1,080,000 in cash and three-year pledges toward a new building.

Then came the bad news. The city announced a five-year building moratorium for the area of the church's new property.

Pastor Boldt went to the mayor to see what could be done. He learned that the city owned twenty acres in the southern part of Saskatoon. Perhaps the city council might agree to an acre-for-acre trade, the mayor said.

"I have two criteria," Mr. Boldt replied. "The property must have good visibility and be near a major access road." On both counts the twenty acres on Circle Drive were superior to the property east of Saskatoon. Long negotiations and two council votes later, the transaction was final. And as frosting on the cake, developers later bought the church's remaining acreage east of the city for half a million dollars.

Armed with cash and pledges or just over a million dollars, the church decided to move ahead in faith. Within its membership was a highly qualified architect, Douglas Pichler, who lent his talent is, designing the present facilities and served as well at project manager Ed Martin was chairman of the building committee Another member, Russ Leister, whose credentials include the new buildings at Canadian Bible College, has been the project superintendent assuring first-class work throughout the eighteen months of construction.

Many churches find building construction a tense traumatic time. Not so for the Saskatoon congregation "There has been a warm atmosphere of love," says Pastor Boldt.

The completed church, built and furnished at a cost of $3.1 million, exclusive of land, is mind boggling."

Also - See the Brochure from the Fund Raising Program in 1979

It is hard to believe that it has been 20 years since we celebrated our 50th Anniversary Homecoming Weekend. Since that fun-filled event, much has changed on the grounds of Circle Drive Alliance. Physically we have gone from a single building which housed our main auditorium, chapel and office area, to a Campus that houses the Circle Drive Special Care Home (dedicated Mar 10, 1986), Circle Drive Place (a senior housing complex), a new education wing, and the completion of the balcony in the main auditorium. All this was accomplished by Christmas of 1989. Pastor Walter Boldt saw his vision come to life.

Besides the building of the campus, many events that happened at Circle Drive will go down in history. In 1988, the National Assembly of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada was held in our church facility. This was the first time that Assembly was held in a church facility. During these meetings, Pastor Walter Boldt was honored with the "Alliance Man of the Year" award for significant and exemplary service to the C&MA in Canada.

The year 1989 was another milestone in the life of Walter Boldt. He celebrated 30 years of ministry with Circle Drive Alliance, was presented with an honorary Doctorate of Divinity degree from Briercrest Bible Institute, and then said "Farewell" to his congregation to move to a new position as "Minister at Large" with the C&MA. He was a man of vision that saw miracle after miracle happen in and through this church family. As the congregation grasped this vision, many miracles took place in the heart of the people.

After Dr. Walter Boldt's leaving, Circle Drive operated with guest pastors and speakers. It was a time for our church to draw together as we prayed and sought God's direction for a new pastor. He answered. September 15, 1990, Pastor Eldon Boldt began his ministry here at Circle Drive. Pastor Eldon had been a part of the original vision for Circle Drive. His heart supported that vision and we continue to follow the direction given to us. We had a fun-filled time as we celebrated Pastor Eldon's 10th Anniversary on December 3, 2000.

When 1991 began, we did not know it would be another miracle year. We were waiting for a response from the bank to a proposal from the Board of Elders. The news we heard from the bank exceeded our hopes. Each of us recall the response of joy when it was announced to the congregation that the bank suspended all interest charges and would forgive $1.8 million if we would raise $700,000 by June. From that point, each of us experienced our own miracles as God provided for us so we could give to pay our portion of the amount due.

Using our vision statement of "turning people into fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ" these past years have brought some tremendously exciting outreach events. The Singing Christmas Tree, which began in 1979 and ran until 1995, portrayed the glorious Christmas story in drama and in song. This was our Christmas gift to the community for 16 years. Thousands of people attended this event giving thousands of dollars to various charitable organizations.

Another amazing community reaching event has been Kids' Kapers. Under the direction of Carol Rice the vision grew and is still a vital part of our children's ministry. Her goal was to reach children who had not had the opportunity to hear how much Jesus loves them. Her vision began in 1984, and continues to this day. After Carol Rice moved from Saskatoon, those whom she had mentored, some growing up through Kids Kapers, took charge continuing to help the children of Saskatoon, know that they are "special at Circle Drive". During the years from 1988 to 1998, Circle Drive Preschool ran as an auxiliary ministry under the supervision of Carol Rice and board members from Circle Drive.

Alma Marriage Encounter came to Circle Drive through Pastor Doug Snowsell. He and his wife Ann heard God's call to transplant Alma from Chile to Saskatoon. When Pastor Eldon and the board of elders were presented with this opportunity, they knew it was what God wanted. That was in 1997 and since then three times a year we have the privilege of showing love to 45 couples. Word of this effective ministry has traveled around the world and Circle Drive has helped to take this ministry to other churches in Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Burlington, Thailand and will soon be going to Poland. AWE or All Women's Encounter (March 2000) started as a result of the effectiveness of Marriage Encounter. With the transformed lives of their parents, many of the youth of the city were looking for a similar experience and soon found it with YES or Youth Encounter with the Spirit. (January 2002). We can't tell you much about these ministries, because it is a secret, but if you come, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Over the past 20 years, Circle Drive has been blessed to have some of the very best staff personnel. Some were with us for only a short while, and others served us for a considerable length of time. Each one contributed greatly to the spiritual growth and influence of Circle Drive Alliance. Do you remember Rick Aupperle, Kelly Backman, Bob Baker, Jim Black, Earl Dick, Jeff Elliot, Garth Froese, Gary Hellard, Richard Horning, Richard Koehn, Lynn Long, Dan McIver, Blair Mills, Norm Morris, Chuck Newman, Bill Parsons, Curtis Passmore, Russ Pepler, Carol Rice, Doug Sider, Gail Stephenson, Keith Walker, Scot Williams, or Brian Work?

Bev & Eldon Boldt

Circle Drive Alliance

Sunday Morning Service 1987

Circle Drive Staff 1987

Missions Conference 1989

Church Construction
Russ Leister with Dick Driedger

Worship Team

Worship Team

Information Centre

Coffee Central

Nursery Ministry

Families at CDA

Outside Events 1989

Outside Services 1989

Color Stain-glass Tower


Historical Flashbacks were researched and written by Lorraine Willems. Contributors are noted on the related pages. Photos by Al Willems and others. Copyright 2003 and 2013 by copyright holders.