First Mennonite Church Kelowna marks 75 years of ministry

First Mennonite Church Kelowna is celebrating 75 years of ministry this weekend. Rejoice with them as they reach this significant milestone.

The early years . . .

Mennonites began moving to Kelowna from Saskatchewan and Alberta in 1941, and in the summer of 1947 they united to organize the Kelowna First Mennonite Church. In the fall of 1946 they invited Jakob Janzen, ordained elder, who had just immigrated to Canada, to become its leader. Services began immediately in the home of George and Tina Letkemann and in January 1947, they rented the Orange Hall for weekly Sunday morning services.

In June 1947, the men of the emerging church chose the name Kelowna First Mennonite Church and wrote a constitution. The founding members totaled 29; with children the attendance numbered 49. On August 3, 1947, Jakob Janzen was elected as elder and John P. Vogt, as minister. Services and Sunday school were held in German. A choir, youth group, and ladies sewing circle were among the church activities. The congregation’s first baptism was held on Pentecost Sunday in 1948.

A building committee was formed in 1949 and construction on a new sanctuary at 1305 Gordon Drive began on March 29, 1951. Later that year the congregation began meeting in the completed basement. Eventually the church sanctuary was completed and dedicated in October 1956. 

Pastors & Years of Ministry



Jacob A. Janzen 


Henry Dyck 


George Franz 


Henry H. Epp 


Lorin Bergen 


David Dick 


John Friesen 


John Kroeker 


Clare Neufeld 


Kevin Barkowsky 

2011- 2015

Jeremiah "Jerry" Buhler    
2016 - 2019
Lisa Martins Bartel (virtual pastor) 
2020 - 2022
Ken Dueck (virtual pastor) 
2021 - present