Sherbrooke Mennonite Church (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)
|Sherbrooke Mennonite Church, Vancouver, BC
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 immigrants from the Soviet Union, Germany, and South America. Immigration, 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. Bi-lingual 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. In 2012 Sherbrooke’s membership was 207.
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.
The present pastor is James Wittenberg.
Churches in Profile. 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.
Church records at Mennonite Heritage Centre.
Address: 7155 Sherbrooke St., Vancouver, BC, V5X 4E3. The church is located on 55th Ave. between Fraser St. and Knight St.
Website: Sherbrooke Mennonite Church
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
Sherbrooke Mennonite Church Membership
©1996-2013 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.
MLA style: Hildebrand, Alfred. "Sherbrooke Mennonite Church (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. May 2012. Web. 26 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/S5369.html.
APA style: Hildebrand, Alfred. (May 2012). Sherbrooke Mennonite Church (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 26 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/S5369.html.