Historical Sketch: Emmanuel Mennonite Church

Emmanuel Mennonite Church was conceived in the late 1970s when some members of the Eben-Ezer Mennonite Church had the vision to plant a new church because the latter was overcrowded and because of the need to establish an English speaking church. On September 21, 1980, 39 people expressed their faith in this new venture by signing an official membership list. Two months later they chose the name Emmanuel Mennonite Church.

On December 28, 1980 Eben-Ezer had a moving farewell for its departing members and then on January 4, 1981 Emmanuel Mennonite Church had her first Sunday morning service in the rented chapel of First Memorial Services. Two months later the congregation moved to the former Peardonville Mennonite Church building on Vye Road to accommodate the growing numbers.

A major step of faith was taken on January 19, 1981 with the decision to purchase a 3 1⁄2 acre parcel of land on Clearbrook Road. On August 30th the sod-turning ceremony took place and on November  28,1982 the following year the congregation moved into its new church building. Gene Klassen was installed as pastor on May 24, 1981. In 2000 a gym was added to the church.

Over the years their ministries have included Refugee Sponsorship, Open Door (for single moms), E.S.L. classes, a Vietnamese church plant, Extreme Weather Shelter, serving breakfast at the local middle school, Chai & Chat, many of these in partnership with our denomination or community organizations.  Emmanuel strives to embrace our multicultural/ethnic and inter- generational community. The worship services are geared for all ages. The sermons presented by the lead pastor, congregation members and guest speakers speak to most ages, while the children’s features and children’s church focus more on the younger children. They are part of Mennonite Church BC, Mennonite Church Canada, Mennonite World Conference, and various other organizations for education, mission, and relief efforts.

The music at Emmanuel has a mix that reflects the cultural and generational differences in the congregation. The sounds of traditional, contemporary or international music can be heard coming from the sanctuary, meeting rooms or gymnasium. The music is led by a number of individuals and music teams with the piano, guitars and drums used for accompaniment. Emmanuel is a community where searching questions can be addressed in a safe and stimulating environment; where adults and youth are challenged to learn and grow, to become ambassadors in the community and world; where everyone is encouraged to become active in the church and to live out their Christian faith and principles in all areas of life.

From the outset, Emmanuel was a young congregation with the over fifties group missing entirely. Services were informal and participation of all ages was encouraged. 


Emmanuel Mennonite Leading Ministers

Minister Years of Ministry

Gene Klassen 1981- 1984

Ron Toews (interim) 1984-1986

Dave Ortis 1986-1992

April Yamasaki 1993-2018


Associate/Youth Pastors:

Peter Goertzen

Carl Adrian

Jeff Nickel

James Bartsch

Mike Borseth

Tim Froese

Rod Wiebe


Music Ministry Staff:

Angelika Dawson

Frank Klassen

Gerald Neufeld


Emmanuel Mennonite Membership

Year Members

1980 39

1985 126

1990 168

1995 161

2000 188

2005 226

2010 265