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Sardis Mennonite Brethren Church, 1949-1950
Creator: Henry J. Wiens (1885-1975)
Digitized by Hiebert Library. Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies
Greendale MB Church, Chilliwack, BC
Source: D. Giesbrecht

Greendale, located south-west of the city of Chilliwack, was established in 1930. Soon Mennonites from the Canadian prairies began to settle in Greendale. The first Mennonite Brethren (MB) service was held in a private home the first Sunday after Easter 1930. On 11 January 1931, 22 individuals voted to organize the Sardis Mennonite Brethren Church (the name was changed to Greendale MB Church in 1953), an independent MB congregation with Heinrich G. "Henry" Dueck elected as leader and with Jacob B. Harder as assistant leader.

In 1931 the members decided to construct a church building on property donated by Henry and Justina Dueck. By the end of 1939 the membership had more than doubled and a larger church building was being planned which was dedicated in 1940. Further renovations were done after 1966 and in 1977 an addition was planned to accommodate church-related activities and social events. 

After the economic stress of the 1930s, the church experienced much growth. They accepted 417 new members during the 1940s and reached a record of 499 members in the mid 1940s. The second church building, which had been dedicated in 1940, no longer offered adequate space for the congregation, and the members were again ready to share their wealth to acquire more room. 

Unfortunately, everything was halted due to the 1948 flood when a late and rapid spring thaw caused the Fraser River to rise to dangerous levels eventually breaking through dykes and putting the Greendale and surrounding districts under 10-20 feet of water. The church basement was flooded to within a few inches of the ceiling and many people lost a substantial amount of property.  During the necessary renovations the church met in a ground level hayloft and an empty chicken barn. 

The year 1948 also marked a transition in church growth. Whereas the years 1945-48 had been ones of rising economic prosperity and increasing church membership, after the flood many members moved away from the area. The berry markets had collapsed and the vulnerability of the terrain made opportunities in business and construction elsewhere more lucrative. Some families moved to Vancouver to seek employment or establish businesses, and some who had work in Chilliwack, transferred their membership to the Broadway Mennonite Brethren Church. Other decisions to leave were based on the language issue with some members dissatisfied with the slowness in adopting the English language. In total 227 members transferred to other Mennonite Brethren churches in the 1950s.

In 1965 the church voted to conduct all church business meetings in English, and Sunday morning services were to have a German and English message. By 1968, two services were planned. One English and one German. They also decided to renovate the sanctuary rather than construct a new building. This was undertaken in 1966.  In 1977, they decided to construct a building that would accommodate more church-related activities and social events. The facilities were completed in 1979 for the approaching 50th anniversary of the church in June 1981.

In recent years the demographics of the congregation have changed, with fewer engaged in full-time agriculture and more engaged in employment in the city.  The vast increase in residential development in the area has also brought many new families to the congregation that have little if any connection to the church’s past history.

In 2010 the congregation's membership was 283 with an average attendance of 272.

[edit] Bibliography

Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches: Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies. “Greendale Mennonite Brethren Church.” http://www.mbconf.ca/mbstudies/holdings/bc/greendale.en.html (accessed 16 October 2006).

Canadian Mennonite (24 November 1961): 10.

Harder, Katherine, ed. The Greendale Mennonite Brethren Church: 1931-1981. Sardis, BC: Greendale Mennonite Brethren Church, 1980.

Mennonite Brethren Herald (27 May 1988): 27.

Mennonite Reporter (19 September 1994): 10.

Archival Records:

Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies, Winnipeg MB. Volume 376, consisting of mainly church bulletins.

Microfilm reels #62-64, consisting of congregational meeting minutes, annual reports, various committee minutes, and church registers.

[edit] Additional Information

Address: 6550 Sumas Prairie Rd., Chilliwack, BC  V2R 4K2

Phone: 604-823-6364

Website: Greendale MB Church

Denominational Affiliations:

British Columbia Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (1931-present)

Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (1931-present)

General Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches of North America (1931-2002)

Greendale M.B. Church Leaders

Minister Year
Heinrich G. "Henry" Dueck 1931-1933
Abram Redekop 1933-1934
Willy Wiens 1934
Heinrich G. "Henry" Dueck 1934-1941
Jacob B. Harder 1941-1944
Heinrich G. "Henry" Dueck 1944-1952
Henry J. Unger 1952-1957
Jacob B. Harder 1957-1959
Rudy Janzen 1959-1963
Jacob Franz 1964-1965
David Froese 1965-1970
Harry Heidebrecht 1971-1982
Len Doerksen 1982-1991
Gary Badker 1993-1995
Reg Toews 1997-present

Greendale M.B. Church Membership

Year Members
1932 69
1935 80
1940 149
1945 230
1951 360
1955 334
1960 302
1965 296
1970 266
1975 252
1980 252
1985 253
1990 257
1995 259
2000 289
2005 290
2010 283

[edit] Maps

Map:Greendale MB Church (Chilliwack, BC)


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


[edit] Cite This Article

MLA style

Epp, Marlene and Richard D. Thiessen. "Greendale Mennonite Brethren Church (Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. November 2010. Web. 16 Apr 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Greendale_Mennonite_Brethren_Church_(Chilliwack,_British_Columbia,_Canada)&oldid=115348.

APA style

Epp, Marlene and Richard D. Thiessen. (November 2010). Greendale Mennonite Brethren Church (Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 16 April 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Greendale_Mennonite_Brethren_Church_(Chilliwack,_British_Columbia,_Canada)&oldid=115348.




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