Wellspring Christian Fellowship (Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada)
Wellspring Christian Fellowship in Abbotsford, British Columbia, was founded by the Evangelism and Church Development Committee (ECDC) of the Conference of Mennonites in British Columbia in 1992, with Gary and Ellie Loewen serving as the first pastoral couple. Within a short period of time, they were joined by Doug and Sandy Epp, who served as church planters in training for a year. Wellspring joined the Conference of Mennonites in British Columbia in June 1993.
The church began with a core group of 8 couples and 13 children. Initially the group met in the facilities of Clearbrook Mennonite Church. Eventually it moved to Harry Sayers Elementary School, were it held its first public service on 20 September 1992.
The congregation saw itself as a "reproducing and relevant cell church." The congregation used the cell church model as a church structure. The congregation was very intentional about developing to the point where they could plant another church. After several years, Mission was seen as a potential location as it was the location of one of its cell groups. Unfortunately, this group did not grow to the point where a church plant was possible in the area. Other geographical locations were also considered but not acted upon.
The congregation came off of their conference subsidy at the beginning of 1994, one year ahead of schedule. Gary Loewen resigned in fall 1995 and Alan Dyck, the first chairperson of the new church, was called to be the new pastor. He began serving in 1996. In 1997 the congregation began holding services on Saturday evening in the facilities of Clearbrook Mennonite Church. By 1999 the congregation had an average attendance of 100 with nine adults and 3 youth cell groups.
Robin Mauthe joined the staff as youth and worship pastor in the fall of 2000. Jeff Wall replaced Alan Dyck as lead pastor in 2003 and was very intentional in teaching the cell church model. Attendance remained around 100. Young families and youth dominated the congregation, and the church had a contemporary worship style.
In 2004 the church wanted to begin an Alpha program. Initial plans were to hold this at Clearbrook Mennonite, but a scheduling conflict led to holding the program at West Abbotsford Mennonite Church. Wellspring members provided leadership to the program, while a few West Abbotsford members helped out. A year later Wellspring and West Abbotsford held a second Alpha program jointly, again in the facilities of West Abbotsford Mennonite Church.
By 2006 the congregation seriously began to make plans to begin a new church plant in the Abbotsford area, led by newly hired worship pastor Dan and Lynn Loewen, and supported in part by ECDC. By September 2006 Re-Think Café was started. Led by Dan Loewen, the café featured discussions on a variety of topics in local coffee shops in Abbotsford, and was an attempt to reach out to people attracted to an alternate style of “doing church.” The café met once a month and moved to meeting twice a month for a time.
At the start of 2008 the congregation was invited by West Abbotsford Mennonite Church to explore shared vision and ministry options. Eventually discussions focused on a merger of the two congregations. Joint services were held over several weekends in the spring and at the beginning of the summer, the Wellspring congregation voted overwhelmingly to merge.
In September 2008 the congregation began worshiping together with West Abbotsford Mennonite Church in the West Abbotsford sanctuary and in November they chose the name Level Ground Mennonite Church for the new congregation. The congregations formally merged and held their charter service for the new congregation in January 2009.
Canadian Mennonite (15 September 2008): 25
CMC Nexus (May 1996): 15.
Daku, Ron. Interview by author. Abbotsford, BC (17 February 2012).
Mennonite Reporter (31 May 1993): 1, 13; (27 June 1994): 2; (16 October 1995): 15.
Former Location: Clearbrook Mennonite Church, 32027 Peardonville Road, Abbotsford, BC
Mennonite Church British Columbia (1993-2009)
Wellspring Christian Fellowship Leading Ministers
Wellspring Christian Fellowship Membership
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MLA style: Steiner, Sam, Andrew Klager and Richard D. Thiessen. "Wellspring Christian Fellowship (Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. March 2012. Web. 20 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/W457.html.
APA style: Steiner, Sam, Andrew Klager and Richard D. Thiessen. (March 2012). Wellspring Christian Fellowship (Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/W457.html.