British Columbia Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches
The British Columbia Provincial Mennonite Brethren Conference was organized on 31 October 1931 with three local churches, Agassiz, Sardis, and Yarrow, having an approximate total membership of 170. Attracted by the mild climate and large farm incomes, the Mennonite Brethren membership of this area increased until 1948, after which a recession occurred, due to economic difficulties and floods. In 1949 there were 13 churches in the conference with a total membership of 3,077. The churches were located in the southwest part of British Columbia, with eleven in the Fraser Valley, one in the Okanagan Valley, and one on Vancouver Island, in an area stretching about 200 miles eastward from the Pacific coast along the United States border.
Activities in the conference at that time included Bible conferences, youth conferences, tract mission work, radio broadcasts, a city mission in Vancouver, and widespread daily vacation Bible school work. The institutions of the conference included a girls' home in Vancouver, the West Coast Children's Mission, three Bible schools in Yarrow, South Abbotsford, and East Chilliwack, and a high school in North Abbotsford. The conference was active in the resettling of European refugees and in the support of the relief program of the Mennonite Central Committee. C. C. Peters, secretary of the conference after 1948, contributed much to the establishment of the conference. -- GHS
The British Columbia Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches was organized in 1931. Johannes A. Harder, Peter D. Loewen and Cornelius C. Peters significantly shaped the Conference in its formative years.
From its inception, the conference emphasized evangelism and Christian education. The earliest outreach activities included establishing a city mission in Vancouver, and by 1945, support of the West Coast Children's Mission. Simultaneously, much emphasis was placed on Bible conferences, Sunday School conventions, and music festivals.
During the 1970s and 1980s, priority was given to church planting, including congregations among non-English ethnic groups. The conference also supports Stillwood Camp and Conference Centre, and together with the Mennonite Church British Columbia, co-sponsors Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford.
In 2010 the British Columbia Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches had 104 congregations and 19,698 members. The following congregations were members of the conference:
Minutes of the Annual Meetings (1931-1996). Clearbrook [Abbotsford], B.C.: B.C. Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, published annually.
Klassen, Agatha E. Yarrow: A Portrait in Mosaic. Yarrow: A.E. Klassen, 1976.
Penner, Peter. Reaching the Otherwise Unreached. Clearbrook: West Coast Children's Mission 1959.
Toews, John A. History of the Mennonite Brethren Church, ed. A.J. Klassen. Fresno, Calif.: Mennonite Brethren Board of Literature and Publication, 1975, index, esp. 167-71.
Address: 101-32310 South Fraser Way, Abbotsford, BC V2T 1X1
Website: BC Conference of MB Churches
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 431; vol. 5, p. 101. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Suckau, G. H., Herbert J. Brandt and Richard D. Thiessen. "British Columbia Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. May 2012. Web. 19 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B751ME.html.
APA style: Suckau, G. H., Herbert J. Brandt and Richard D. Thiessen. (May 2012). British Columbia Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B751ME.html.