EMMANUEL FELLOWSHIP BAPTIST CHURCH
1925 - 1964
Miss Margaret Milligan
March 26, 1965
"Faith of Our Fathers" was never stronger in the hearts of a group of God's people when they by faith stepped out of a well organized, well financed church to a private home of one of the members, there to meet in sweet fellowship, as they registered their disapproval of the modernism creeping into their beloved church and colleges where their young people would be taught as Ministers and Missionaries.1
These folk, about twenty in number, were members and adherents that withdrew in January, 1925 from the Old Convention Baptist Church in Vernon, BC to unite with those of like precious faith in what is now the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in British Columbia and Yukon. Among the names of those in this group were: Miss Drew and family, Mr. Moses, Mr. Stanley, Mr. Nelson and their respective families and Miss Scott.
Early meetings of the group were held in the home of one of the members and later moved to a small room above a store. As this was unsatisfactory the use of an empty store was obtained. Here a platform to accommodate a pulpit and chairs was placed at the back of the room and the store became a meeting place for these children of the Most High.
At first both Sunday morning and evening services were conducted by two men who had previously held office as deacons. The only minister that spoke to the group the first year was Rev. Reid McCullough who was passing through on vacation. Rev. Don Campbell was guest speaker at the service of the second anniversary of the break from the Old Convention.
Under the able guidance and direction of Rev. A.F. Baker of Vancouver, BC in 1927 the church was organized and the name "Emmanuel" chosen by the members. Charter membership papers were secured the same year.
The summer of 1928 was busy for the Vernon folk. Mr. and Mrs. Konkle from Toronto visited the church and told about the work among the lepers in India. These were more than likely the first missionaries to visit the church. July of the same year brought a visit from Rev. J.C. Hardy of Emmerson, Manitoba. He was formerly of the Telegu Mission Field in India. This man also saw fit to leave the Manitoba convention because of modernistic teachings.
Thursday, August 30, 1928 was a notable landmark in the history of Emmanuel Baptist as it marked the occasion of the first baptismal service. On that day two girls from Emmanuel and one from Armstrong followed their Lord in the waters of baptism at Kalamalka Lake. Approximately fifty church people and interested folk observed the service conducted by Mr. G.R. Dawe. As the candidates were raised up out of the water the chorus "Up From The Grave He Arose" was sung.
With the growth of the church and increased responsibilities the thoughts of the people turned toward calling a pastor. In January 1929 a man who had spoken at the church earlier that summer, Rev. J.C. Hardy of Manitoba, became the first Pastor of Emmanuel Baptist. Pastor Hardy resided in Armstrong and served as Pastor of both churches until he and his family moved to Vernon in 1932 in order to give their full time to the Vernon work. The perennial financial problem was present here also and a request was put before the Convention for an extra $15.00 for three months. The request was granted.
Since the Seventh Day Adventist church building was being used only on Saturdays, Emmanuel Baptist secured the use of their building for Sundays. The next move was to the back room in the old Methodist church building. However, the severe winter and hopes of building led the people to transfer the services to the home of the Pastor. This proved a more comfortable location and saved payment of rent. Despite the many moves in location the church was blessed with an increase in membership and the commencement of Sunday School, young peoples' groups and women's missionary meetings. The Sunday School began with an enrolment of thirty-four pupils.
January 1936 saw the definite start of a building program. The members agreed to build as the funds came in. "One little girl contributed four cents which had been given her for candy."2 Throughout the next eight months the building fund showed vigorous growth from contributions by liberal friends and the fact no building rent payments were necessary. Among those giving generous donations were the J.J. Stewart family of New Westminster, a member of Central Baptist Church, Victoria, interested folk from the Ruth Morton Memorial Baptist church and the Kamloops Young Peoples' Group. A gift of $3.00 was also received from the Ruth Morton Mission Band. By September $500 was on hand toward the securing of a place of worship. "On Thanksgiving Day, 1937, the first sod was turned by Pastor Hardy for the erection of a church building."3 The location was a good lot centrally located in downtown Vernon. "How Firm a Foundation" and "Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow" were sung in the early morning air. Pastor Hardy gave a short message from the verse in Psalm 127 "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build." The service held at seven in the morning was in itself a testimony to those around. The operator of the bulldozer standing by to begin the excavation said "this was the first time he had seen the Lord taken into consideration."4 At this time the city of Vernon did not have all the modern conveniences thus a beautiful creek running past the front of the church supplied water the first few years. This was the work of the Lord and slowly but surely the construction went up. The Lord had raised up a first class carpenter and architect in the congregation, Mr. Moses who superintended the building which was completed with mostly volunteer labour. Because of the gallant efforts of members and friends the first service in the new semi-completed building was held in June 1938. During this summer Miss Esther Peacock, missionary on furlough from China, held children's' meetings in Vernon.
Just eight months and eight days from the time of the sod turning they met to worship in the completed structure. On November 11, 1938 the edifice was dedicated for the Lord's work. Several ministers were present from Vancouver and the Interior churches. "One of its own boys, Rev. George Dawe, preached the dedicatory sermon. Pastor Grieve and other ministers took part."5 Following the dedication the people were blessed by messages delivered by Bros. G.R. and Sister Dawe from November 13 until December 4.
Erection of the new building was just in time to meet the needs of interested servicemen from the 10,000 who were stationed at the Vernon Army Camp. Throughout the wartime the Lord granted growth spiritually, mentally and financially. Many homes of members were opened to servicemen "as khaki and civilian alike found peace and shelter at Emmanuel."6 Although many of the families contributed sons to fight the war battle only one was called home to Glory.
Rev. J.J. Stewart who had previously given to the financial needs of the church sent the first $15.00 needed on the final $100.00 payment of the church with the promise of the last $10.00 when the fund reached $90.00. This was in the spring of 1940. Even though Emmanuel labored under difficulties and the pastor was frequently ill, efforts were made to hold services in Lumby, a town about twenty miles east of Vernon.
The year 1940 saw the loss of some of the members. The Drew family and Miss Dawe followed the Lord's leading and moved to Victoria. All of these folk were greatly missed as they were active in the work of the church. However, the Lord sent several young servicemen to worship with the folk at Emmanuel. Brother Eric Stagg, one who was posted at the military camp, conducted the services wile Mr. Hardy was away that summer.
In November 1942 Pastor Hardy tendered his resignation. "As a fitting tribute to their beloved pastor and his family, members and adherents met at the home of Mrs. Ed Sigalet, November 5, and at the end of a social session, Pastor and Mrs. Hardy were presented with a beautiful chiming clock."7 At this same gathering Rev. and Mrs. E.V. Apps were welcomed to their Pastoral position in Emmanuel Baptist. Thus the evening marked the occasion of three events: Pastor Hardy's retirement; a welcome for Pastor Apps and the 17th anniversary of the work in Vernon.
Throughout the wartime there was a good response from the troops and a special Easter Sunday offering netting $25.00 was taken for the "Soldier's and Airmen's Christian Association". An advisory committee was also sent up to work among the soldiers in the camp. Every Friday at noon prayer meetings for all interested were held in the soldiers quarters.
July 30, 1943 was marked by the passing of Rev. John Cochrane Hardy to further reward with his Heavenly Father.
Soldiers were called upon to take the services again in January of 1944 when Pastor Apps became ill. Later on in March, Evangelistic services conducted by Mr. James Wilderman were held in the Burns Hall. These meetings were held in conjunction with Emmanuel Baptist.
Expansion was necessary again. The pretty, but small, building was too small. Plans were soon drawn up to add twenty four feet at the back to the length of the building and to put a basement under this new extension. The memory of Pastor Hardy was still fresh in the minds of the people and a new enlarged baptistery was installed in his honour. "Money, men and materials were scarce at this time, but by doing preparation work himself the pastor used work bees of soldiers encamped in Vernon."8 The distribution of mite boxes which were opened at a social evening every three months had become a profitable manner in which to raise money for the building fund. The opening of the mite boxes produced $80.00 for this building fund.
During 1945 Miss Hardy and two public school teachers aided the Pastor in starting a Happy Hour service for the children. The first services, the first of their kind in the community, were held in the Old Methodist Church building, then vacated. Due to the popularity of the meetings, the other evangelicals soon copied the idea thus the members attending became small enough to be accommodated in the Emmanuel Baptist Church building. Also in this year the Women's Missionary group and the young people commenced a work among the Japanese folk. Miss Edith Broadfoot and Miss Margaret Ridgeway were the leaders in this work.
Until 1946-47 the work at Vernon and the work at Enderby were operated together. Pastor Apps resided in Vernon but held Sunday School and morning service in Enderby, an afternoon service at Huppel, 25 miles north of Enderby, returning to Vernon for the evening service. He also went to Enderby, Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday for Young Peoples and Prayer Meeting. Because of the contributed growth in Enderby by 1946-47 a full-time Pastor was needed thus leaving Mr. Apps to minister completely to Vernon.
The year 1948 was the first year of full self-support for Emmanuel Baptist. In November of that year Mr. Grierson "Made an offer of a piece of land on his farm situated about two miles west of the City, to provide a site for the building of a Manse."9 Although this was to be a free gift no motion was recorded regarding the matter.
Pastor E.V. Apps tendered his resignation to take effect February 27, 1948 in order that he take up the Pastorate at Mission City, BC.
Mr. Ralph Waud, a student in Bible College was then invited to serve a summer Pastorate in the Vernon Church. This he accepted and his ministry continued from May 22 until September 25, 1949. Since there was now no pastor, Mr. W. Clayton the Sunday School superintendent led the Sunday School, Young Peoples' Meetings and Happy Hour.
An invitation to the Pastorate was sent to Rev. G.F. Dugard of Winnipeg, but after long consideration he declined. He did, however, conduct some services in the church. While awaiting reply from Rev. Dugard the members invited Rev. John Bennett, a veteran retired Pastor in Vancouver, to take temporary charge of the work. Pastor Bennett was in the Vernon church until September of 1950.
During that same summer a call was extended to Rev. Don Hills but declined. This summer also saw considerable disagreement among the members. When the fellowship of the Church was endangered a special committee from the Convention was called to arbitrate and settle the differences. The committee consisted of Rev. L. Baker, Convention President, Rev. H.C. Phillips and Mr. Percy Lee. The matter was settled and fellowship continued in Emmanuel Baptist.
From October 25 until November 5, Mr. Don Reed, Pastor of a church in Eglinton, Ontario, held special services. After the communion service on November 5, Mr. Reed was called to become Shepherd of the flock. The invitation was accepted and Mr. Reed began in ministry December 24, 1950.
The farewell sermon of Rev. John Bennett was preached on December 17. An envelope containing a token of love and appreciation for the man who had faithfully rendered his services for almost a year was presented to Pastor Bennett. During his stay in Vernon, Pastor Bennett celebrated his 82nd birthday. The same evening as the farewell, three new armchairs for the rostrum were presented to the church by the ladies of the Mission Circle.
At the communion service held on January 8, 1951, the new communion plate was used for the first time. March saw the use of seventy-five new hymnbooks with music notation in the church services.
"A public meeting was held in the church on March 8th to give an official public welcome to Pastor Reed and a formal recognition of the commencement of his pastorate of this church."10 Pastors from the Interior churches were joined by those from some of the city churches in welcoming Pastor Reed. Rev. Earnest Martin of Kelowna was called upon to give a charge to the church and Rev. John Bennett came from Vancouver to give a charge to the Pastor.
The following month Emmanuel started preparing for another building program. Material was secured free of charge by dismantling a garage which was the property of the Kineshanko Bros. and had been badly damaged by fire. All available men were recruited to assist in the project but due to the busy season of the year often the Pastor carried on at the work alone.
Since Pastor Reed had not yet been ordained the members called for an Ordination Council on May 10, 1951. The charge to the church was given this time by Rev. John Bennett and Rev. D.G. Milligan delivered the charge to the Pastor. Rev. Reed was then extended the right hand of fellowship in the Ministry by Rev. A.C. Foster. Rev. H.C. Phillips preached the Ordination sermon based on I Thes. 5:12-13 and exhorted the church "to esteem him highly in love, for his work's sake."11 Pastor Reed's parents were present for the service.
"In July, the Rules and Bye-laws of the Church were reviewed by the Pastor and Deacons and some Amendments and Additions were recommended to the Church."12 After these had been approved and adopted by the Church the Pastor printed a new set of copies and distributed them to the members. The Sunday School Constitution was drafted about that time and in due course was approved, printed and distributed.
At the annual business meeting January 1952 the members chose by ballot the motto "We Preach Christ Crucified" to be placed on the wall above the rostrum. Plans for excavating a basement under the church building along with a resolution that the work be commenced at the earliest possible date were presented at this meeting.
January 31, 1953 saw the work commence. With the aid of trucks, scoops, pulleys, cables and posts, by March there was sufficient excavation to call for the first concrete wall. All of the labour was volunteered by members and friends of the church. The floor was poured and the concrete front steps were put in April. As the busy season of the spring and summer were approaching, the Pastor was frequently left alone again to carry on the labour as well as maintain his contacts and work as Shepherd of the flock.
Further plans were made to purchase an oil furnace along with the other necessary equipment. Under the supervision of Mr. L.R. Thomas the furnace was installed and working before October 1, 1953. "Mr. W.W. McNaughten undertook the electric wiring and also supplied the materials required at cost price. He did not render any bill for his work and the committee gave him a present of money, such as they saw fit."13 Another contribution was made to the kitchen in the purchase of an electric stove. This was a gift from the ladies of the Mission Circle.
A dedication service was held on November 11, 1953 to openly exhibit to the people that the new schoolroom, lighting and heating systems were to be used for the honour and glory of The One who made all this possible. Visitors were present from other Interior churches and the respective Pastors took part in the service.
How was all this construction financed? Earlier in the history of the church the members adopted the motto "Pay as you go" and this is precisely what took place. Mite boxes yielded from $65.00 to $100.00 at each opening. This along with gifts by members and friends were a supplement to the weekly offerings. The challenge proved to be a stimulus for the people as the offerings were higher than the average previously recorded. The lumber previously salvaged from a garage was never used in the building so was sold and the proceeds added to the building fund.
The purchase of the furnace was made through a loan of $400.00 provided by the Convention. Within eleven months this entire loan was repaid. Due to the burden of building the Church was forced to rely on the Convention for a grant towards the Pastor's salary but this too was gradually reduced and finally discontinued and the Church became self-supporting once again. The members were convinced that this financial plan was a direct answer to earnest prayer and simple faith.
April 1953 saw the exterior of the church kalsomined and woodwork painted. This same summer a new lawn was planted and a modern display sign board announcing the services was placed on the lawn.
Although the men were the ones mostly concerned with the manual labour in construction, the ladies of the church were not idle. In June 1953 the Women's Missionary Circle presented a play "The Heroine of Ava" a biography of Adoniram and Ann Judson.
Another agency was added to the church calendar that of a young people's group. This youth group sponsored the installation of a modern kitchen. At this time the men's fellowship too received enthusiastic response. A library was organized and a Sunday School bus donated and first used in service for the Lord November 1, 1953.
The emphasis for 1954 chosen by Pastor Reed and the members was upon Bible Study. The first month saw a special week set apart for Bible Study and "Soul Winning Doctrines" were studied. A new peak of 141 was also reached in a Sunday School contest in January 1954.
Emmanuel Baptist was the scene of several special services in 1954: Rev. J.B. Cunningham, Westbourne, Calgary, Alberta conducted two weeks of meetings and a Gospel Team from the R.B.Y.P.U. Vancouver visited Vernon.
In the summer of 1955 the members at Emmanuel said farewell to their faithful Pastor. The successor to Pastor Reed was Mr. David Slaney who accepted the Pastorate in September 1955. Several new families moved into the district about this time and began to attend the services.
This too was Mr. Slaney's first church and the members desired that the call of their Pastor to Christian ministry be publicly recognized. "On October 1, 22 messengers from Regular Baptist churches, assembled at the call of Emmanuel Baptist, Vernon, to form a council of ordination in examining their pastor."14
One of the major physical projects undertaken during Pastor Slaney's ministry was the redecoration and refurnishing of the interior of the church. This was ably done through the volunteer efforts of the members and friends. Finances for this project were realized through gifts in memory of loved ones gone to glory.
The Lord had further plans for the Slaneys and the members of Emmanuel Baptist. In 1958 the Slaneys were called to serve in the land of Japan. While they were completing their Eastern and Prairie itinerary Mr. Gordon Beck supplied the pulpit. Rev. D. Slaney' s Pastorate consummated at the close of 1958. They were the first British Columbia residents to serve in Japan under the Japan Regular Baptist Mission.
"Knowing of the early conclusion of Pastor Slaney's ministry, the Vernon church called Mr. Beck and he later accepted the call, beginning his work there about the middle of January."15 Early in August of the same year 1958, Pastor Beck was married. A short time later a reception in honour of the Pastor and his wife was given by the church.
Pastor Beck was apparently very good with children as he was instrumental in starting a Junior stockaders group for boys and also a successful Bible Gold Miners Club. During his ministry also there was a Sunday School contest held with the prize being a week at Sunnybrae Bible Camp. This helped stimulate the great interest Emmanuel has had in the camp.
Mr. Beck, too, was ordained for the ministry of the Gospel of Christ at the call of Emmanuel Baptist. With a view to further his studies at the University of British Columbia Rev. G. Beck. resigned at the close of June 1961.
Emmanuel Baptist was without a Pastor from July 1961 until October 1961. During the summer Dr. and Mrs. A.E. Dixon of Enderby attended and conducted the annual meeting of the church. Services during this period were conducted by the deacons and visiting Pastors.
The Induction Service for Rev. Ken Beaumont, of Emmanuel Baptist Church, of Vernon was held on February 9th. 1962. Pastor Beaumont and family had begun their ministry in Vernon some weeks earlier, having formely served in the Princeton Baptist church.16
The summer of 1962 was a busy one with the repainting of the exterior of the building, replacing of the old roof with a new one and the purchase of a new carpet. A new Lowery electric organ was also purchased that year. In July the Vernon and Armstrong churches combined to hold their Sunday School picnic. This uniting proved to be beneficial to both churches and was continued from year to year. Under the direction of a lady from the Child Evangelism Fellowship Emmanuel held a Vacation School.
Later on in the fall the ladies took advantage of the resources round about them and canned many quarts of good fruit for the Pacific Coast Children's Mission on Quadra Island and the Sunnybrae Bible Camp. All the work and needed materials were donated to the furtherance of God's kingdom. The fall also brought a change in the organization of the youth work. Much spiritual blessing was also received from a week of meetings conducted by Rev. Leander Roblin.
Tuesday, May 21, 1963 saw delegates from Convention Churches meet at Emmanuel Baptist in Vernon for the ordination of Mr. Beaumont to the Gospel ministry.
"Early in November 1963 Emmanuel Baptist Church, Vernon, gathered to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the church building."17 Several charter members of the Church were present for the occasion, these folk were, Mr. and Mrs. Q. Grierson, Mrs. John Paull, Miss Hope Hardy, Mrs. P. Caryk, Mr. H. Moses, Miss E. Drew, Mrs. J.C. Hardy. At this service these charter members recalled many of the early experiences of the church. Seventy-five folk gathered for this memorable occasion.
Work among the children of the city has been continued. Rev. J. Gallop conducted Children's Evangelistic Meetings in April 1964 with an enrollment of 198 children. These meetings added new pupils to the Sunday School.
Friends and members of Emmanuel Baptist joined Mrs. J. C. Hardy as she celebrated her 90th birthday on July 12, 1964. She is the wife of Rev. J.C. Hardy, Emmanuel's first resident Pastor.
During the summer of 1964 the young people repainted the fence around the Church property. Other physical improvements which took place in this year included the remodeling of the Church kitchen and the reroofing of the building.
Throughout its history the Women's Missionary Society of Emmanuel has played an important role in the work. The group has a strongly emphasized missionary program with interests in nearly every mission field. Baking and canning for both the Sunnybrae Bible Camp and the Northwest Baptist Theological College have also been projects of the ladies.
Since its beginning Emmanuel Baptist has provided many students for Bible Colleges across Canada. Several of these individuals are now in full-time Christian service.
Two main reasons have been given for the apparent success of Emmanuel Baptist other than that it is a Work of the Lord. The first is that their Pastors have been men of God. The other is the Bible College formerly at Coquitlam and now in Vancouver where most of their Pastors finished their education.
Of the work at Vernon, Miss H. Hardy says:
Possibly in the eyes of the world our accomplishments have been small and possibly insignificant, however, it is enough to say that in Emmanuel, God has established another bridgehead where the Gospel sounds forth, where the precious blood must still be applied, where the Cross is still the Sinner's plea, and where the Lord Jesus still reigns supreme.18
1 Hardy, Hope. Letter to the writer (Margaret Milligan). January 15, 1965
2 The "B.C. Baptist" Bulletin, No. 14, January 1936
3. The "B.C. Baptist" Bulletin, No. 92, November 1942
4. Hope Hardy, Letter to the writer (Margaret Milligan). January 14, 1965
5. The "B.C. Baptist" Bulletin, No. 92, November 1942
6. Hope Hardy, Letter to the writer (Margaret Milligan). January 14, 1965
7. The "B.C. Baptist" Bulletin, No. 92, November 1942
8. Pastor E.V. Apps, Letter to the writer (Margaret Milligan). January 26, 1965
9. A continued history of Emmanuel Church, Vernon, from March 1948 - 1953, pg. 1
10. A continued history of Emmanuel Church, Vernon, from March 1948-1953, p. 3
11. Ibid., p. 4
12. Ibid., p. 4
13. bid., p. 7
14. The Western Regular Baptist , No. 46, November 1957
15. The Western Regular Baptist , Vol. 10, No. 2., February 1958, p. 3
16. The Western Regular Baptist , Vol. 14, No. 3, March 1962.
17. The Western Regular Baptist , Vol. 16, No. 1, January 1964, p. 4
18. Hope Hardy, Letter to the writer, January 14, 1965
The "B.C. Baptist" Bulletin and The Western Regular Baptist, copies from 1925-1964
A continued history of Emmanuel Church, Vernon, from March 1948-1953
Apps, Pastor E.V., Letter to the writer, 26 January 1965
Drew, Miss Eva. Letter to the writer, 30 December 1964
Hardy, Miss Hope. Letter to the writer, 14 January 1965
Slaney, Mrs. E. Interview with the writer, January 1965
Note: Somewhere there should be in existence a copy of an account written by Mrs. Louise Veness which covers the time period of 1964 to October 1968.
EMMANUEL FELLOWSHIP BAPTIST CHURCH
October 1968 to the present
Rev. L.R. Thomas, 1987
This continues on with the highlights of Emmanuel following the account given by Mrs. Louise Veness, October 13th, 1968.
The endeavor to sell the church property in the 30th block on 32nd Ave. began in October 1968. Getting a reasonable price for the property seemed to be the greatest problem. New property sites were sought by Pastor Ken Beaumont and people with no success. No one was found who would put up $40,000 for the lot and building.
Their first building committee was formed at the Annual Meeting in January 1970. These were:- The Treasurer, Trustees, Deacons and Pastor Beaumont with power to add to their number.
However the Beaumonts resigned and left in October, 1970. Rev. E. Martin from Kelowna supplied for a time but was forced to stop because of ill health in January 1971.
Paul Beketov, a student from NBTC was asked to interim from May to the end of August. In July they extended a call to him to become their pastor which he accepted.
On December 29th, 1971, they made a decision to buy a part of the property offered by Tom Thorlakson. The bargaining was drawn out until finally concluded in June, 1972. They borrowed from the Bank of Montreal to add to their present savings; and a loan from Convention of $2500. By the end of the year all but $700 had been paid to the Bank and $1000 left owing to Convention.
In May of 1973 Paul Beketov was ordained to the ministry, but he was to resign by the end of June. In July a call was sent to Pastor Harvey Peters. He accepted and began his ministry in September and the induction service was held October 10th, 1973.
The old building sold for $55,000 and the building plans went ahead in 1974 so that they were able to start using the new facility by October of the same year. There was still much work to be done, but it was usable.
At their first Quarterly Business Meeting in April 1976 the attendance gains were excellent. Sunday School had gained 54%, Morning Worship 46% and the evening Fellowship meetings had gained 124% in that same period.
There was a period of steady growth through 1976 and 1977. Pastor Peters resigned and left for Lloydminster at the end of August in 1977. Pastor Bob Thomas continued as interim pastor until the coming of Pastor Elmer Fehr in mid-January 1978.
The attendance increase began to show a fairly rapid growth with the pastor. Young Peoples groups increased rapidly too and showed a steady gain in interest. On Sunday, June 4th, 1978, Mr. and Mrs. Steve Veness were commissioned as missionaries to Brazil under the J.E.M. They will be receiving $50.00 per month from the General Funds beside any designated gifts.
April, 1983 saw the building loan retired and a celebration was held August 7th with three former pastors as speakers. They were:- Rev. E.V. Apps, Dr. G.R. Dawe and Rev. Harvey Peters. It was a day of rejoicing, remembrance and of deep spiritual refreshing.
Pastor Fehr spoke of resigning because of ill health in April, 1984 but continued on by popular request until August 30th when he took a year's leave of absence to go to Mexico as a change of climate and to look into possible opportunities there.
Pastor Leon Tiede became our interim pastor starting in October, 1984. He was different in style to Pastor Fehr, but was excellent in helping us to get better organized in Pastor Fehr's absence. However, there was a difficulty created by a few who didn't like the change. Dr. Don Reed consented to come to help us in the situation. He came for a special Church Business Meeting held on May 22nd, 1985, when both Pastor Fehr, who had returned, and Pastor Tiede resigned from the church. Dr. Reed chaired the meeting. He carefully guided but allowed people to express their views within bounds.
Pastor Steve Friebel, who had been assistant pastor to both Pastor Fehr and Pastor Tiede, also resigned at the same meeting; but he was asked to become interim pastor which he accepted. The church saw considerable stabilizing during his ministry. We were exceedingly grateful to him for his patience and gentle guidance.
During his ministry we saw our daughter church in Lavington take form, under Pastor Dave Fehr's able leadership, and have their day of organization and later their day of recognition in our B.C. Fellowship.
A pulpit committee was elected at the May, 1985, meeting and with Rev. Brian Baxter's valuable assistance began a search for a new pastor. In early 1986, after many leads and disappointments, discovered Rev. and Mrs. Richard Wilford in Parksville. Communications and visits were made and a business meeting was called to consider extending a call to them. The vote was 100% yes and so the call was sent and the answer affirmative. Pastor Friebel resigned effective June 30th in order to prepare for University. The month of July we were without a pastor but local men and Rev. Ed Brandt from the Mennonite Church filled in.
Pastor Wilford and family moved in and began their ministry among us in August with their induction service held Sept. 7th. Rev. Vern Middleton was our guest speaker for the occasion.
Awana clubs were started in the fall of 1984 with Clarence Dyck in charge. Their numbers were in the 20s at the beginning but they grew steadily. In this winter of 1986-97 their numbers have climbed to 68 each Tuesday evening. Many have found Christ as Saviour and it is reaching into unchurched homes.
During Pastor Fehr's ministry we reached about 250 at the peak for morning Worship. Then a decline set in so that by May, 1984 we were only about 100 for Morning Worship. We are gradually increasing again so that we are now climbing over the 150 mark. There was also a decrease in our attendance since quite a few were helping in the Lavington church and they transferred their membership for the organization. There is a good spirit in the church now again and things are progressing favorably.
l Beketov, a student from NBTC was asked to interim from May to the end of August. In July they extended a call to him to become their pastor which he accepted.
On December 29th, 1971, they made a decision to buy a part of the property offered by Tom Thorlakson.