Didsbury, Alberta Canada Conv. Grounds Ownership Change

The Didsbury, Alberta Canada convention grounds are close enough to Calgary that it can be commuting distance to the city.  Up until sometime in the late 1990s, the owners were Bevan and Heather Olson, a very nice and reasonable couple who are not the type to get upset easily. Prior to y the Olsons, it was owned by the Ausenhaus family.

Problems began when Willis Propp, Overseer of Alberta, began ordering various changes be made to the Didsbury convention grounds without consulting with the Olsons. When Willis wanted a soundproof bedroom with no windows and a private telephone line added for him, Bevan drew the line and refused. The result of that confrontation was that Willis decided to discontinue holding the convention on their property.  

So, Willis began a search for another property in Southern Alberta to replace the Didsbury convention. Bevan thought it through, and rather than create more problems, he called Willis and told him that if he could find a buyer, they would sell the property and the convention could continue there. The Olsons operated a working farm on the property for their living. Their offer to sell would create no small upheaval in their lives.

In a matter of days, Willis found a buyer, Robert and Wanda Stewart. Robert was a concrete contractor who never farmed the property. The property is known as Didsbury Spruce Farms. http://didsburysprucefarms.com/

This is what Dale Shultz was referring to with as Olson’s gracious way of handling things in his letter dated April 12, 1999*, written during the division* created by Willis Propp’s incorporation of Alberta and his purge, when at least 24 meetings were removed and around 200 friends were excommunicated or left on their own:

I have appreciated a few visits by phone with Bevan & Heather Olson before and since the day that Eldon, Ernest and Sydney had the visit there. I marvel at their spirit of acceptance and the gracious way that they are handling this matter that could have left them feeling very bitter. They are real examples. It will be people like them that will be contributing to a solution rather than promoting a further problem. The spirit of the lamb, the spirit of a little child, the spirit that can take loss graciously without resentment or fighting back–this is the spirit that will not only preserve the kingdom (and preserve our salvation individually) but will also, in time, unite the kingdom.

In this same letter, Dale Shultz wrote the bolded sentence below that became famous:

We realize that the fact that we are servants of God, or even very responsible servants of God, doesn’t make us infallible. However, something that is very much a part of being a child of God is to respect those who are over us in the Lord, to pray for them, to obey them, to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Their judgement may not always be right, but it is always right for us to respect that judgement and to work with it in the best way that we possibly can.

After they sold the convention grounds, the Olsons remained loyal to the 2×2 system, while being somewhat more realistic than the average person about the inner workings of it.

*Alberta Incorporation and Purge by Willis Propp

*Dale Shultz’ letter

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