Evergreen Heights Christian Fellowship (Simcoe, Ontario, Canada)
In fall 1969 only one family, recently transferred from Winnipeg, commuted from Simcoe to the Port Rowan Mennonite Brethren Church.Within four years, however, young people from the Port Rowan congregation married and settled in Simcoe where they found work. Another Port Rowan family moved to Simcoe and opened a Christian Bookstore.
In 1974 a group in Simcoe began meeting occasionally in a home to better know one other and to plan to start a church in Simcoe. Port Rowan's Pastor, Walter Janzen, provided very helpful assistance. On 6 May 1975 the group its first "official" worship service in the West Lynn Public School. They remained at West Lynn Public at no cost for ten years until they moved into their own new building in February 1985. Originally Jacob Penner, Port Rowan's Assistant Pastor, spoke Sunday Mornings on a voluntary basis. Pastor Bert Friesen came in October 1976.
The core founding group consisted of thirteen families, including some who were not from the Port Rowan Mennonite Brethren Church. In 1976 the congregation formalized its congregational status and affiliated with the Ontario Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. At that time twenty-one members transferred from the Port Rowan congregation. The group, including children and adherents, initially totalled 54, but grew to 75 a little later. Evergreen Heights experienced huge losses within the next few years as a number of the core group moved away, but remained stedfast through lows and highs. In 2003 of the original core group three couples, two married children and one single child remained. Another couple who joined within a year of founding also remained.
The congregation launched a daughter congregation in Port Dover in October 1995; it became known as "The Harbour." This group continued in 2003 under the part-time lay pastoral leadership of Don McKen, with service by eight Evergreen Heights members. Other major programs at Evergreen Heights have included care groups (begun in 1986), presentation of the Alpha Program beginning in 2002, Christmas outreach banquets, and annual mission fests.
In 2001 the congregation undertook a major self-evaluation and refocusing . This process resulted in four goals: to develop an intentional outreach event using the Alpha program; to develop four intentional corporate outreach events each year; to develop an intercessory prayer ministry; and to define a discipleship path from seeker to passionate follower. These goals were in line with the vision statement: "Leading people to passionately follow Jesus." Following this refocusing membership grew 50% within two years, and plans were begun to expand the building and to add an Associate Pastor. A part time Associate Pastor was hired in December 2003.
Mennonite Brethren Herald (27 May 1988): 54; (February 2011): 29.
When Your Children Shall Ask: a History of the Ontario Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, 1957-1982. 1982: 76-78.
Evergreen Heights Christian Fellowship Pastoral Leaders
Evergreen Heights Christian Fellowship Membership
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MLA style: Klassen, Henry. "Evergreen Heights Christian Fellowship (Simcoe, Ontario, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. February 2011. Web. 22 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/E941.html.
APA style: Klassen, Henry. (February 2011). Evergreen Heights Christian Fellowship (Simcoe, Ontario, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/E941.html.