Gospel Light Church (DeBolt, Alberta, Canada)

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In the late 1920s, Mennonite families settled in the Cornwall area of northern Alberta. The Mennonite Brethren families worshiped together with the Church of God in Christ Mennonite (Holdeman) families. Because they were barred from taking communion together, the Mennonite Brethren families built a school in the Cornwall area in 1936 and worshiped there. In 1941 the congregation was organized as the Cornwall Mennonite Brethren Church. In 1942 they built their own meeting house, which was dedicated in the summer of 1943. The congregation was served by ministers from La Glace and Peace River Bible Institute. At that time the church was composed of three Ratzlaff families, two Hauff families, and a Friesen family.

In 1943 two families moved to Grande Prairie and in 1945 several families moved to British Columbia. Services were discontinued, as was the operation of the local school, and the remaining families began to worship with the Holdeman group again. The children of the families that remained in the area began attending school in Simonette where a Christian family by the name of Sutherland lived, and services were held in the Simonette school from 1947 to 1954. As students entered high school, some families moved to Ridgevalley and Grande Prairie so that their children could be closer to high school. These moves ended services in Simonette and those that remained eventually attended services at Rosedale Church. 

In 1958 the number of Mennonite Brethren families increased again to the point where a baptism was held with Pastor Henry Willms from La Glace MB Church officiating. The congregation re-opened in 1960 and joined the Mennonite Brethren conference. It was called the Crooked Creek Mennonite Brethren group, but in 1961–1963 it was referred to as the Cornwall Mennonite Brethren Church. From 1964 to 1984 it was known as the Crooked Creek Mennonite Brethren Church. In 1964 a new meeting house was completed in the Ridgevalley hamlet between Crooked Creek and DeBolt. In the 1980s these facilities were less central but a rift caused a division in the congregation. The group that remained built a new meeting house in DeBolt in 1984 and the name of the church was changed to Gospel Light Mennonite Brethren Church. 

In the fall of 1998 the congregation voted to join the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination; the denomination of origin for its pastor. In March 1999 the Alberta conference released the congregation with its blessing. They continued to use the Gospel Light Church name.


"Alberta MB Conference." Mennonite Brethren Herald 38 (16 April 1999).

Cornelson, Dora. "Early History of the MB Church of Crooked Creek," 1978, 7 pp. Centre For Mennonite Brethren Studies.

Fast, Abe and Miryom Hauff-Fast. "The Cornwall-Crooked Creek-Debolt M.B. Church." In The Mennonite Sojourn in the Peace River Area: A Companion to Our Reunion, June 15, 16, 17, 2001, David Friesen, gen. ed. 2001: 71-77.

Archival Records

Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies, Winnipeg, MB: Volume 329, Reel 54.

Additional Information

Address: Box 460, Debolt, AB T0H 1B0; located west of the hamlet of Debolt

Phone: 403-957-3739

Denominational Affiliations:

Alberta Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (1962-1999)

Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (1964-1999)

General Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (1962-1999)

Gospel Light Church Leading Ministers

Minister Years
Peter Penner 1960–1981
James Cornelsen 1982
Peter Doerksen 1983-1988
Robert Sukkau  1989-1991
Paul Warnock 1991-2001

Gospel Light Church Membership

Year Members
1965 27
1985 40
1993 36

Author(s) Marlene Epp
Date Published February 1989

Cite This Article

MLA style

Epp, Marlene. "Gospel Light Church (DeBolt, Alberta, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. February 1989. Web. 19 Aug 2019. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Gospel_Light_Church_(DeBolt,_Alberta,_Canada)&oldid=142940.

APA style

Epp, Marlene. (February 1989). Gospel Light Church (DeBolt, Alberta, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 August 2019, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Gospel_Light_Church_(DeBolt,_Alberta,_Canada)&oldid=142940.

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