Historical Sketch: Comunidad Cristiana de Fe*

Work began on June 1, 1999 to begin a Spanish-speaking Mennonite congregation in East Vancouver. The work was led by René Gallegos who had until the spring of 1999 served on pastoral staff of Grandview Baptist Church in Vancouver. René and his wife Claudia trained as church planters with Jorge Hoajaca at First United Spanish Mennonite Church for ten months, and the Comunidad Cristiana de Fe (Christian Community of Faith) was launched on June 18, 2000. The congregation joined the Conference of Mennonites in British Columbia in May 2001.

The congregation initially met on Sunday evenings at Grace Chinese Mennonite Church, reaching out to the Latino community in Vancouver, including many who were refugees from Central America. In 2001 the congregation relocated to the facilities of Ward Memorial Baptist Church. By that time 35-45 attended their service, and they also offered a Bible study. Offices were located in a store front office on Commercial Drive, and from that location they opened up a used clothing store for their neighborhood in November 2001, providing income, training, and community contacts. The store was turned over to another ministry in the fall of 2002.

The church received financial support from the General Conference Mennonite Church Commission on Home Ministries and was also supported by both the Evangelism and Church Development Committee (ECDC) of the Conference of Mennonites in British Columbia and several local Vancouver Mennonite congregations.

The congregation had 20 members in 2002. However, in that year it became clear that the congregation did not have the sufficient size and energy required to survive as a church plant on its own. Faced with the choice of scaling back church activities to focus on core group development or partner with another congregation, they chose to partner with Ward Memorial Baptist Church. In January 2003 the two congregations began meeting together. Comunidad Cristiana de Fe was released from ECDC’s supervision at the end of January 2003 and from ECDC subsidy in April 2003.