The New Jerusalem Church in Herbert was built in 1915 on Shaw Street. The white frame structure was largely paid for ($3000) and built by local members. The Swedenborgian movement in Western Canada originated with Jacob Zacharias, who, in early 1890's, bought a German edition of Swedenborg's "Heaven and Hell", read the book overnight by lamplight, and converted to the new church faith. This conversion costs him dearly, for he was 'shunned' by relatives and friends.
The Rev. John Zacharias, served this active congregation, as well as many New Church groups throughout Western Canada, for the next 35 years. Every Sunday morning services were held in German, with evening English services offered during the summer months. The years high-point was Christmas Eve, with real candles shimmering in the darkness against the backdrop of "Stille Nacht" filling the air. For a young boy, this was sheer magic.
The New Church in Herbert was not well understood by many townspeople, but it was well respected as an open, inclusive, progressive church. For example, the funerals of Lloyd Warkentine in 1936 and Mike Mickelson in 1943 were held there, as was the Gin wedding in 1927. These families had no local church home, but they felt completely accepted by the warmth of the New Church in their times of need. This little church touched the lives of a great many people. How do you measure, or describe such a wondrous spiritual legacy? It's a gift, pure and simple.
During the late 1930's and early war years most of the congregation moved to Ontario or BC for economic reasons; thus the church building was sold to a Lutheran congregation. Years later it was taken over by the Canadian Legion, then in the late 1990's it was moved to Gouldtown as a community social centre.