A unique artifact is shedding some light on the history of the Airdrie United Church, and its role in the community.
The church is in the midst of preparing for its 115th anniversary celebration, and that includes a display of items illuminating the church's history. Reverend Karen Holmes said that while going through a binder of mostly financial records, they stumbled upon an unusual record.
"And here is this registration from the Office of Brand Recorder in Stettler and Alberta Agriculture to certify a cattle brand, AUC, has been renewed."
Finding the renewal certificate, which was dated 1984, started a journey revealing a unique facet of the church's history and role in the community. As Reverend Holmes dug into the origin of the cattle brand, she discovered it added in a unique fundraising campaign to build the United Church's building. Holmes said local farmers used to purchase and raise calves on behalf of the church.
"When they were brought to auction, the funds would come back to the church. The cattle brand was purchased and used on these calves in order for farmers to keep track of which ones were church cows and which ones weren't."
Holmes hasn't encountered any record like this in her 30 years in ministry.
Although the brand certificate was issued in the 80's, Holmes said they have learned that the AUC brand was used as far back as the 60's, and possibly into the 90's. Holmes hopes that the community can continue to shed light on this unique story, and even hopes they might be able to find the actual brand itself.
Holmes said this story is just one unique example of the Airdrie United Church's deep roots in the community. The church was founded in 1902.
"The folks at the museum here in Airdrie told me that back in the day, there really wasn't much that happened in Airdrie that didn't start as a conversation in the parking lot of the United Church."
The Airdrie United Church will be holding a 115th anniversary celebration later in April.