Harrison Gospel Chapel (Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia, Canada)
The history of the Harrison Gospel Chapel began with the Sunday school work of Mrs. Belle Rendall who moved to Harrison Hot Springs with her husband in 1942. Rendall was aided by a Mrs. Williamson as they began holding children's meetings in the Rendall home. In 1944 John R. Martens was appointed to full-time work in Harrison by the West Coast Children’s Mission and in 1945 the two joined their efforts. A 24’x 24’ building was erected the same year with help from a group from Yarrow Mennonite Brethren Church and there the Sunday school as well as the church services were held. Then in 1947 the Harrison Chapel was built using donated funds from the Fraser Valley Mennonite Brethren churches. The present sanctuary was built and dedicated in 1973 and an education wing was completed in 1988 to accommodate an attendance of about 150.
The first baptism of 11 persons was held in 1954 and in 1957 the church was organized as an interdenominational body under the leadership of John and Martha Reimer (1952-1957). The Reimers returned for a second term from 1979-1985. In 1968 the church was chartered as a member of the Mennonite Brethren Conference of BC with 18 charter members led by Jake and Leona Friesen (1966-1979). Other pastors who served at the Chapel were Henry Born (interim), Peter and Betty Boschman, Walter and Laburmah Heinrichs, Aldon and Betty Loeppky, and Orlando and Tammy Wall.
The present sanctuary was built in 1973 and dedicated on 3 November. The church continued to grow in size. By the early 1980s the need for an education wing became evident (Sunday school attendance was up to about 150). The church had to make a decision whether to stay and build in Harrison or move to Agassiz where almost all of the church people lived. One of the main factors that weighed the decision in favor of staying was that Harrison Gospel Chapel was the only church in Harrison. The congregation chose to remain in Harrison and the education wing was completed in 1988.
The Harrison Gospel Chapel remains the only church in Harrison Hot Springs and besides serving the town’s children in Sunday school has been the place of worship for many transient tourist visitors. In addition the church has been involved in many of the social activities of the town through the years and has done significant outreach work. Membership in 1993 stood at a high of 74 and in 2005 had dwindled to 64 and 60 in 2010. The average attendance in 2010 was 70.
Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies. "Harrison Gospel Chapel." http://www.mbconf.ca/home/products_and_services/resources/published_genealogies/ (accessed 3 June 2008).
Dueck, Ken. "Our History." Unpublished.
"History of Harrison Gospel Chapel 1942-1985." Unpublished typescript, 7 pp. Mennonite Historical Society of Canada coll., Mennonite Archives of Ontario
Mennonite Brethren Herald (27 May 1988): 16; (May 2011): 32.
Wiens, Stanley. “A History of the Harrison Gospel Chapel.” Unpublished.
Church records at Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies.
Mailing address: Box 98, Harrison Hot Springs, BC V0M 1K0
Location: 514 Lilloet Ave., Harrison Hot Springs, BC
Website: Harrison Gospel Chapel
Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (1969-present)
Harrison Gospel Chapel Leading Ministers
|John R. Martens||1944-1951|
|Henry C. Born (interim)||1951-1952|
|Abe Neufeld (interim)||1951-1952|
|John D. Reimer||1952-1957|
|John D. Reimer||1979-1985|
|Robert J. Friesen (interim)||2017|
|Jeff Peters (transitional)||2018|
Harrison Gospel Chapel Membership
|Date Published||May 2011|
Cite This Article
Friesen, Hugo. "Harrison Gospel Chapel (Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. May 2011. Web. 18 Nov 2018. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Harrison_Gospel_Chapel_(Harrison_Hot_Springs,_British_Columbia,_Canada)&oldid=162351.
Friesen, Hugo. (May 2011). Harrison Gospel Chapel (Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 November 2018, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Harrison_Gospel_Chapel_(Harrison_Hot_Springs,_British_Columbia,_Canada)&oldid=162351.
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