Clearbrook Mennonite Church (Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada)
In the late 1940s and early 1950s West Abbotsford Mennonite Church experienced significant growth. By 1952 the sanctuary was filled to capacity on many Sunday mornings, so a group within the congregation decided to build a daughter church in Clearbrook. Abraham H. Loeppky, owner of Clearbrook Realty and Insurance Agency Ltd., was willing to donate a lot on the corner of Clearbrook and Peardonville roads. West Abbotsford agreed to help finance the new structure and to draw up a list of people from the church interested in starting a new church. Clearbrook Realty and Insurance Agency sold the lot to the church for $1.00, and the sanctuary, built with much volunteer labor, cost $12,000.
Clearbrook Mennonite Church was formally organized on 8 December 1952 with 60 members. Abram I. Loewen, a minister at West Abbotsford, was the first minister of the church. By January 1954 the membership had grown to some 120, and by 1965, over 200 members. The church was reluctant to relinquish the German language and membership decreased below 200 when in 1960, 52 people left to form a new English speaking church, Olivet Mennonite Church. The church, however, soon recovered and by 1963 had 213 members.
By 1972 almost 70% of the congregation was over 60 and by 1978 almost 95% of the members were retired. The church continued to attract older members moving into the Clearbrook/Abbotsford area until the 1990s, when attendance began to decline. A strong emphasis on the German language remained. The 2011 membership was 49 with a weekly attendance of between 36 and 42. Between 1952 and 2011 the church conducted 339 funerals.
Abram Loewen, who also owned a bookstore in Abbotsford and Chilliwack, led this congregation from 1953 to 1957. Hugo and Susanne Scheffler, German immigrants who lived in Bellingham, Washington, served from 1957 to 1963. Walter and Annie Thieleman had come from Paraguay and during their ministry the membership of the Clearbrook Mennonite Church increased. With Walter’s musical talents, the church was richly blessed during their ministry, which lasted from 1989 to 1995. Hans Federau, also with Paraguan roots, and wife Alice brought a seasoned, pastoral presence to the congregation. During their ministry the Wellspring Christian Fellowship was invited to use the church building for their Saturday worship services.
The motto of the Clearbrook Mennonite Church was taken from Psalm 102: “Worship the Lord with gladness.”
By the beginning of 2015, weekly attendance had dropped to under 50 and there was a lack of pastoral leadership. As a result, the congregation held its last service on 11 January 2015.
Canadian Mennonite (24 November 1961): 20.
Churches in Profile. Clearbrook, BC: Conference of Mennonites in British Columbia, 1978: 37-40.
CMC Nexus (October 1995): 10.
Dueckman, Amy. "Clearbrook Mennonite Closes its Doors." Canadian Mennonite 19, no. 3 (2 February 2015): 19.
A History of Clearbrook Mennonite Church, 1952-1983. 1983: 111 pp.
Lehn, Cornelia. Frontier Challenge: A Story of the Conference of Mennonites in British Columbia. Clearbrook, BC: Conference of Mennonites in British Columbia, 1990: 120.
Loewen, David F. Living Stones: A History of the West Abbotsford Mennonite Church, 1936-1986. Abbotsford, BC: West Abbotsford Mennonite Church, 1987.
Mennonite Reporter (20 September 1993): B1.
Address: 32027 Peardonville Road, Abbotsford BC V2T 1M2
Conference of Mennonites in British Columbia / Mennonite Church British Columbia (1952-2015)
Conference of Mennonites in Canada / Mennonite Church Canada (1953-2015)
General Conference Mennonite Church (1954-1999)
Clearbrook Mennonite Leading Ministers
|Minister||Years of Ministry|
|Abram I. Loewen||1952-1957|
|John L. Zacharias (interim)||1963-1964|
|John J. Sawatzky||1964-1972|
|Jacob C. Schmidt||1972|
|George Groening (interim)||1989|
|Jake Tilitzky (interim)||1999-2000|
|Dietrich “Dick” Rempel||2000-2005|
Clearbrook Mennonite Membership
|Date Published||February 2015|
Cite This Article
Rempel, Dietrich and David Giesbrecht. "Clearbrook Mennonite Church (Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. February 2015. Web. 28 Jul 2017. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Clearbrook_Mennonite_Church_(Abbotsford,_British_Columbia,_Canada)&oldid=141943.
Rempel, Dietrich and David Giesbrecht. (February 2015). Clearbrook Mennonite Church (Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 28 July 2017, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Clearbrook_Mennonite_Church_(Abbotsford,_British_Columbia,_Canada)&oldid=141943.
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