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Early Sunday morning church service will leave gap

Joyce Walter reflects on the 15 minute Sunday morning service from Central Lutheran Church
Reflective Moments by Joyce Walter

Sunday mornings will no longer be the same in our household.

For many years I turned my radio dial to the station that carried the weekly 15 minute Sunday morning service from Central Lutheran Church.

At 7:45 a.m. I listened to the pleasant voice of Pastor Doug Shepherd who provided a mini version of the traditional Sunday service, the condensed version including all the elements of regular services that might take place in a bricks and mortar church setting.

The radio service included scripture, upbeat and lively music not heard in other broadcasts, the message, a blessing and prayer. The message might have been short and sweet but it got the point across to listeners who paid attention.

The final broadcast from Central Lutheran took place on May 5 after being on the air since May 6, 1956. Pastor Shepherd believes it was the longest running such broadcast in Canada, a milestone in the lives of the congregation and others outside any kind of church organization.

Certainly I don’t recall the early days of this ministry but I did take solace in the broadcast on early Sunday mornings of recent years. I enjoyed learning the names each Sunday of the sponsors of that day’s broadcast. Certainly the $5 fee charged for 15 minutes during the early years would not have carried over all those years but the donors obviously felt a commitment to the ministry, with some making multiple contributions.

Similar broadcasts did originate in Moose Jaw. There was Dr. Daniel Breen’s ministry from the Apostolic Temple when it was located downtown. The broadcast ran on Sunday evenings and for many years my family listened intently, especially after a family friend introduced us to Rev. Breen. In my young mind it was like knowing a movie star and having him in our home.

Another broadcast came to our home from the Alliance Tabernacle in Moose Jaw, again on a Sunday evening. This program was more musical in nature and I joined my parents in singing along with the radio choirs. I believe it was a Rev. Orthner who led this program.

But unlike the service from Central Lutheran, these broadcasts faded away, either through lack of sponsorships or because the church ministers moved on to new locations. 

There are other Sunday morning broadcasts to which one could listen, but one features re-runs of sermons from a minister who died several years ago. The other one around the same time frame forces me to turn down the volume to avoid the screeching voice of the speaker.

So Pastor Doug and Central Lutheran: thank you for the time you spent in our home. It was an inspirational time on Sunday mornings and you will be missed.

I’m just relieved I couldn’t be seen through the radio as I sat there listening, clothed in nightwear with dishevelled hair and holes in my slippers. Blessings came to those who listened.

Joyce Walter can be reached at

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication. 




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