Island Gospel Fellowship (Burns Lake, British Columbia, Canada)

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Island Gospel Fellowship, 2012. Photographer: Jill Watson.
Source: Evangelical Mennonite Conference Archives.

Island Gospel Fellowship traces its beginning to 1940, when 25 Old Colony and Sommerfelder Mennonite families in search of land moved into Burns Lake, British Columbia, from the Swift Current and Saskatoon areas of Saskatchewan. In 1958 Henry Toews of Steinbach, Manitoba, a missionary candidate for Paraguay, came to Burns Lake for a program of evangelism. Many people made spiritual commitments. Further meetings were held in early 1959 with the help of John Knelsen and David Froese of Swift Current. On 22 February 1959, 22 members were received into the Evangelical Mennonite Conference

More evangelistic meetings followed in May and October 1959 with Rev. Ben D. Reimer as speaker. In March 1959 plans were made for a church building. A lot was purchased on Gerow Island on the south side of Burns Lake and a building (27.6 X 46.2 metres) with a full basement was constructed in 1959 at a cost of $3,600 (excluding labour). In 1980 it was replaced by a new sanctuary that seated 250, and dedication services were held on 19 January 1981.

Among its pastoral leaders were Abe and Elizabeth Unger (1959-1960), Cornie and Bernardine Plett (1960-1965), Arden and Helen Thiessen (1965-1970), Walter and Margaret Reimer (1970-1972), Abe and Mary Leiding (1973-1990), John and Tina Toews (1990-1993), Ed and Ruth Ann Peters (1993-2000), Henry and Doris Plett (2000-2007), Francis and Alix Rouveniz (2009-2011), and Ed and Ruth Peters (2012-present).

The language of worship was German before 1965 and English since then. In 1965, it had 39 members; in 1975, 57; in 1985, 100; in 1995. 77; in 2000, 82.

In 2012, Island Gospel Fellowship had 52 members, an average Sunday School attendance of 45, and an average worship attendance of 80.


The Canadian Mennonite (15 May 1959): 1.

EMC Yearbook for 2012: Including a Record of the Proceedings of the 62nd Annual Sessions of the Evangelical Mennonite Conference July 6-8, 2012. Steinbach, MB: Evangelical Mennonite Conference, 2012.

Schellenberg, Dave. "The Church on an Island." The Messenger 19, no. 20 (9 October 1981): 2-4.

Additional Information

Mailing Address: Box 145, Burns Lake, BC V0J 1E0

Location: 810 Highway 35, Burns Lake, British Columbia; located on Gerou Island, Burns Lake.

Phone: 250-692-7551

Website: Island Gospel Fellowship

Denominational Affiliation: Evangelical Mennonite Conference

Island Gospel Fellowship Ministers

Minister Years
Abe Unger 1959-1960
Cornie Plett 1960-1965
Arden Thiessen 1965-1970
Walter Reimer 1970-1972
Abe Leiding 1973-1990
John Toews 1990-1993
Ed Peters 1993-2000
Henry Plett 2000-2007
Francis Rouveniz 2009-2011
Ed Peters 2012-present

Island Gospel Fellowship Membership

Year Members
1965 39
1975 57
1985 100
1995 77
2000 82

Author(s) Marlene Epp
Terry Smith
Date Published February 2013

Cite This Article

MLA style

Epp, Marlene and Terry Smith. "Island Gospel Fellowship (Burns Lake, British Columbia, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. February 2013. Web. 2 Jul 2020.,_British_Columbia,_Canada)&oldid=139180.

APA style

Epp, Marlene and Terry Smith. (February 2013). Island Gospel Fellowship (Burns Lake, British Columbia, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 2 July 2020, from,_British_Columbia,_Canada)&oldid=139180.

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