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Mennonites had come into the Chilliwack area of British Columbia from the prairies in the 1940s. A congregation, initially known as the Westheimer Mennoniten Gemeinde, had been formed in 1945 but a division of opinion on many matters due to the influence of revivalism caused a split in 1947. The group that remained became the East Chilliwack Mennonite Church and the new congregation was named the First Mennonite Church. The new congregation held its organizational meeting on 18 May 1947 in the Strathcona School, led by Elder Wilhelm Martens from the First Mennonite Church Greendale. There were 40 charter members. Gerhard D. Loewen is considered the founding leader of the group. On 30 August 1947 the congregation was able to purchase the church building formerly owned by the Zion Evangelical Church. It was located at 428 Wellington Avenue, four blocks from the city center.

In 1959 a group desiring to worship in the English language began its own services and formed the Chilliwack Mennonite Mission Church. A new sanctuary was constructed in 1965. In 1969 the Chilliwack Mennonite Mission Church merged back with the First Mennonite congregation and the name was changed to Chilliwack Mennonite Church.

The congregation dissolved in 1978 due to declining membership, and differences in theology. Long standing internal struggle and deep tensions between the "charismatic" and "traditional" led to the decay of the congregation. Eventually the congregation accepted a resolution to dissolve and turn over the church property and assets to the Conference of Mennonites in British Columbia with the view to establishing a new congregation under the leadership of the conference. The formal closing and thanksgiving service was held on 10 December 1978. The building was subsequently sold to a Baptist congregation in Chilliwack.


Contents

Bibliography

Canadian Mennonite (24 November 1961): 11; (3 August 1965): 1.

Churches in Profile. Conference of Mennonites in British Columbia, 1978: 32-34.

Information bezueglich der Vereinigten Mennoniten Gemeinden in British Columbien: Gelegentlich der Konferenz der Mennoniten in Kanada, 1959. Abbotsford, BC: The Conference, 1959: 18.

Jahrbuch der Konferenz der Vereinigten Mennoniten Gemeinden in British Columbien, 1951. Abbotsford, BC: The Conference, 1951: 96-98.

Martens, Maureen. "A History of the Chilliwack Mennonite Church, 1947-1977." Unpublished Research Paper, Canadian Mennonite Bible College, 1977, 33 pp. Mennonite Heritage Centre.


Additional Information

Address: 428 Wellington Street (now 45592 Wellington Street), Chilliwack, BC

Denominational Affiliations:

Conference of Mennonites in British Columbia (1949-1978)

Conference of Mennonites in Canada (1949-1978)

General Conference Mennonite Church (1959-1978)

Chilliwack Mennonite Church Leading Ministers

Minister Years
Gerhard D. Loewen 1947-1948
Peter Dick 1948-1950
Gerhard I. Peters 1950-1959
Abraham B. Koop 1961-1967
Ernest Sawatzky (interim) 1968
Peter A. Unger 1969-1972
George Harms (interim) 1972
Peter Bartel 1973-1975
Hans Dyck (interim) 1975
Anton "Tony" Buhr (interim) 1976
George Epp (interim) 1977

Chilliwack Mennonite Church Membership

Year Members
1947 47
1950 43
1955 88
1959 112
1965 65
1975 78
1978 37
 



Author(s) Marlene Epp
Richard D. Thiessen
Date Published July 2010


Cite This Article

MLA style

Epp, Marlene and Richard D. Thiessen. "Chilliwack Mennonite Church (Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. July 2010. Web. 25 Dec 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Chilliwack_Mennonite_Church_(Chilliwack,_British_Columbia,_Canada)&oldid=55583.

APA style

Epp, Marlene and Richard D. Thiessen. (July 2010). Chilliwack Mennonite Church (Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 December 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Chilliwack_Mennonite_Church_(Chilliwack,_British_Columbia,_Canada)&oldid=55583.




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