Sherbrooke Mennonite Church (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)

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Sherbrooke Mennonite Church, ca. 1980s.
Source: MHSBC Archives S29.3-2011.027.021
Sherbrooke Mennonite Church, Vancouver, BC, 2010
Source: MCBC

The Sherbrooke Mennonite Church in Vancouver, British Columbia began services in 1965 and occupied its first building in that same year. Erwin Cornelsen is considered the founding leader of the group. The congregation originated through church planting by Vancouver First United Mennonite. In the early years the congregation was made up of many emigrants from the Soviet Union, Germany, and South America. Emigration, primarily from South America, continued through the 1970s and contributed to the congregation's growth. In 1971 the congregation's pastor, Erwin Cornelsen, was ordained as an elder.

Sherbrooke organized itself as an independent congregation on 1 January 1968 with 174 members. Over a period of 10 years (1968-1978) the membership more than doubled, necessitating already in 1973 the building of an annex. The services in Sherbrooke were initially all in the German language. In 1973 separate German and English language services were introduced. Bilingual services helped for a while, but in 1974, separate services in English and German came into effect. This arrangement lasted until early 2010, when keeping a German service was no longer feasible.

Cornelia Lehn reported in 1990: "The people who made up the congregation came from many different places in the world: 39 percent were born in Russia, 23 percent in Paraguay, 18 percent in Canada, 11 percent in Germany, 4 percent in Brazil, and 5 percent in other countries."

Sherbrooke is the parent church to Peace Mennonite Church in Richmond, which formally organized in 1980. Ministries to various ethnic groups resulted in the birth of the Vancouver Vietnamese Mennonite Church in 2001, followed by the Sherbrooke Korean Mennonite Fellowship in 2004, with both congregations meeting in the facilities of the parent church.

By the 1990s the congregation experienced a decline due to the movement of retired members to cities like Abbotsford and the movement of younger families to the Fraser Valley in search of more affordable housing.

Many of Sherbrooke’s remaining members have moved further away, thereby making the church more a drive-in church than a community church. Still, the sense of serving the community remains strong. Together with other churches Sherbrooke tries to help people to recover from substance abuse (Place of Refuge) and to help people with physical needs (Food Bank). Sherbrooke reaches out to children in the neighborhood with a Summer Ministries Program. Members of Sherbrooke are actively involved in the Fraser Street Mennonite Central Committee Thrift Store.


Churches in Profile. Clearbrook, BC: Conference of Mennonites in British Columbia, 1978: 94-98.

Mennonite Church British Columbia. New 'n Notes (Jan/Feb/Mar 2009).

Mennonite Reporter (17 April 1978): 18.

"Sherbrooke Mennonite Church 1968-1978," 6 pp. Mennonite Historical Society of Canada coll., Mennonite Archives of Ontario

Unpublished congregational history, 1980, 29 pp. Mennonite Heritage Centre.

Archival Records

Church records at Mennonite Heritage Centre.

Additional Information

Address: 7155 Sherbrooke St., Vancouver, BC, V5X 4E3. The church is located on 55th Ave. between Fraser St. and Knight St.

Phone: 604-327-3913

Website: Sherbrooke Mennonite Church

Denominational Affiliation

Mennonite Church British Columbia (1968-present)

Conference of Mennonites in Canada / Mennonite Church Canada (1968-present)

General Conference Mennonite Church (1971-1999)

Sherbrooke Mennonite Church Leading Ministers

Minister Years
Erwin Cornelsen 1968-1996
Jurgen Schonwetter 1978-1980
Henry Kliewer 1981-1992
Wally Nickel 1993
Rudy Froese 1994-1998
Garry Janzen 1998-2007
James Wittenberg 2009-2017
Phil Routly (transitional) 2017-2019
Kevin Barkowsky 2019-present

Sherbrooke Mennonite Church Membership

Year Members
1968 175
1974 305
1979 374
1985 274
1990 292
1995 282
2000 245
2005 220
2010 212
2015 183
2020 139


Map:Sherbrooke Mennonite Church (Vancouver, BC)

Author(s) Alfred Hildebrand
Date Published February 2016

Cite This Article

MLA style

Hildebrand, Alfred. "Sherbrooke Mennonite Church (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. February 2016. Web. 18 May 2022.,_British_Columbia,_Canada)&oldid=172790.

APA style

Hildebrand, Alfred. (February 2016). Sherbrooke Mennonite Church (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 May 2022, from,_British_Columbia,_Canada)&oldid=172790.

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