Emmanuel Mennonite Church was conceived in the late 1970s when some members of the Eben-Ezer Mennonite Church Church had the vision to plant a new church because the latter was overcrowded and because of the need to establish an English speaking church. On 21 September 1980, 39 people expressed their faith in this new venture by signing an official membership list. Two months later they chose the name Emmanuel Mennonite Church.
On 28 December 1980 Eben-Ezer had a moving farewell for its departing members and then on 4 January 1981 Emmanuel Mennonite Church had her first Sunday morning service in the rented chapel of First Memorial Services. Two months later the congregation moved to the former Peardonville Mennonite Church building on Vye Road to accommodate the growing numbers.
A major step of faith was taken on 19 January 1981 with the decision to purchase a 3½ acre parcel of land on Clearbrook Road. On 30 August the sod-turning ceremony took place and on 28 November 1982 the following year the congregation moved into its new church building. Gene Klassen was installed as pastor on 24 May 1981. In 2000 a gym was added to the church.
Over the years ministries have included Refugee Sponsorship, Open Door (for single moms), E.S.L. classes, a Vietnamese church plant, Extreme Weather Shelter, serving breakfast at the local middle school, and Chai & Chat, many of these in partnership with our denomination or community organizations.
Emmanuel has always strived to embrace its multicultural/ethnic and inter-generational community. The worship services are geared for all ages. The sermons presented by the lead pastor, congregation members and guest speakers speak to most ages, while the children’s features and children’s church focus more on the younger children. The church is part of Mennonite Church British Columbia, Mennonite Church Canada, Mennonite World Conference, and various other organizations for education, mission, and relief efforts.
The music at Emmanuel has a mix that reflects the cultural and generational differences in the congregation. The sounds of traditional, contemporary or international music can be heard coming from the sanctuary, meeting rooms or gymnasium. The music is led by a number of individuals and music teams with the piano, guitars and drums used for accompaniment.
Emmanuel is a community where searching questions can be addressed in a safe and stimulating environment; where adults and youth are challenged to learn and grow, to become ambassadors in the community and world; where everyone is encouraged to become active in the church and to live out their Christian faith and principles in all areas of life.
From the outset, Emmanuel was a young congregation with people over the age of 50 missing entirely. Services were informal and participation of all ages was encouraged. Starting with a single lead pastor in 1981, in 2012 the church has a pastor, April Yamasaki, an associate pastor, Chris Lenshyn, a music coordinator, Gerald Neufeld, a seniors ministry coordinator, Laura Loewen, a Vietnamese contact, Nhien Phan, and a church secretary, Roberta Lussier.
Klassen, A. J., ed. The Church in the Heart of the Valley: 1892-1992. Abbotsford, BC: Abbotsford-Matsqui Ministerial Association, 1992: 69-71.
Lehn, Cornelia. Frontier Challenge: A Story of the Conference of Mennonites in British Columbia. Clearbrook, BC: Conference of Mennonites in British Columbia, 1990: 137-139.
Mennonite Reporter (5 January 1981): 4; (27 November 1989): 16; (2 October 1995): 12.
Archival records:Church records at Mennonite Heritage Centre.
Address: 3471 Clearbrook Road, Abbotsford, BC V2S 6A9
Conference of Mennonites in British Columbia / Mennonite Church British Columbia (1981-present)
Conference of Mennonites in Canada / Mennonite Church Canada (1984-present)
General Conference Mennonite Church (1981-1999)
Emmanuel Mennonite Church Leading Ministers
|Gene Klassen||1981- 1984|
|Ron Toews (interim)||1984-1986|
Emmanuel Mennonite Church Membership
|Date Published||March 2012|
Cite This Article
, . "Emmanuel Mennonite Church (Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. March 2012. Web. 13 Oct 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Emmanuel_Mennonite_Church_(Abbotsford,_British_Columbia,_Canada)&oldid=104025.
, . (March 2012). Emmanuel Mennonite Church (Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 13 October 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Emmanuel_Mennonite_Church_(Abbotsford,_British_Columbia,_Canada)&oldid=104025.
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