The Valleyview Mennonite congregation in London, Ontario began as an outgrowth of the Goodwill Rescue Mission established in January 1951 by Alvin and Madeline Roth and the Nairn Mennonite Church located near Ailsa Craig, Ontario. Children's Sunday School began in 1953, and after the Nairn congregation purchased a house at 368 King Street, Sunday evening worship services began in 1954. Initially the group was known as the Forest City Mennonite Mission, but it soon became the King Street Mennonite Church (1953-62).
The church and mission became more separate identities in 1961 when Ralph Lebold was called to be pastor of the congregation, while Alvin Roth remained the senior administrator of the mission. The church formally organized as an independent congregation with 30 members and a constitution in January 1962.
The King Street location was slated for urban renewal, so the congregation purchased in a new area in northeast London. A new building at the present location was dedicated 16 June 1963 and the congregation chose its present name.
Major programs established by Valleyview Mennonite Church included a Mennonite Voluntary Service unit that ran a day care for neighborhood children. In 1969 the congregation began to host a pastoral training program in association with Goshen Biblical Seminary of Goshen, Indiana. This program continued until the early 1980s.
Space pressures, increased by the day care program, led to an addition of seven additional classrooms and expansion of the sanctuary in 1979/80.
The theological diversity within the congregation has sometimes caused stress. There was also several multi-month gaps between pastors in which lay leaders carried program and worship responsibilities. Nonetheless the congregation persevered and welcomed new opportunities.
In 2000 a Korean Christian group, represented by Hun Lee of the Charleswood Mennonite Church in Winnipeg, Manitoba, asked to become part of the congregation. Young-Jee Na and Young-Ho Park provided pastoral leadership for that part of the congregation. About the same time, an outside agency took over the day care program, which finally closed in 2002.
In 2004 Hun Lee moved to London and became pastor of the Korean congregation which became organizationally independent as the Vision Mennonite Church in 2005. Agape Mennonite Fellowship also began to meet at Valleyview in 2005.
In 2008 Valleyview joined with other local churches to form a community lunch and fellowship program known as Welcome Wednesday.
In its earlier years Valleyview was associated with the Amish-Mennonite background Western Ontario Mennonite Conference. However its membership was always diverse because it was the only Mennonite church in the city of London. Students attending the University of Western Ontario and professionals of varied Mennonite backgrounds all became part of the Valleyview congregation. This diversity also attracted persons of other faith backgrounds. Valleyview Mennonite Church became an early advocate for the merger of several Ontario Mennonite conferences that in 1988 became the Mennonite Conference of Eastern Canada.
In 2014 its website described Valleyview Mennonite Church as a caring and supportive Christian community that emphasizes relationships and mutual support in times of crisis, that emphasizes peace and justice as central to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and has a strong intergenerational character where children and youth are valued and loved.
Mennonite Reporter (27 October 1980): 12.
Adams, John. "Ministry to Community: the Mennonite Church in London, Ontario, 1953-1970." Research paper, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminaries, 1970, 68 pp.
"A Brief History Of Valleyview Mennonite Church." Valleyview Mennonite Church. Web. http://valleyviewmc.ca/about/churchhistory.html (accessed 31 December 2013).
Mennonites in Canada collection, "50-London," Mennonite Archives of Ontario.
Records as Mennonite Archives of Ontario.
Address: 1170 Melsandra Ave., London, ON, N5Y 4N9.
Phone: (519) 438-1705.
Western Ontario Mennonite Conference, 1953-1988
Mennonite Church (MC), 1953-1999
Valleyview Mennonite Church Pastoral Leaders
|Doris Weber (Interim)||1992|
|Gordon Scoville (Interim)||2006-2007|
|Kendall Jongejan Harder||2007-Present|
|Charleen Jongejan Harder||2007-Present|
Valleyview Mennonite Church Membership
In 1965 there were 44 members; in 1975, 121; in 1985, 119; in 1995, 117; in 2000, 120; in 2003, 175.
|Date Published||December 2013|
Cite This Article
Steiner, Sam. "Valleyview Mennonite Church (London, Ontario, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. December 2013. Web. 4 May 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Valleyview_Mennonite_Church_(London,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=114240.
Steiner, Sam. (December 2013). Valleyview Mennonite Church (London, Ontario, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 4 May 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Valleyview_Mennonite_Church_(London,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=114240.
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