Historical Sketch: Emmanuel Mennonite Church

Emmanuel Mennonite Church was birthed 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 confidence 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 their 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. Gene Klassen was installed as pastor on May 24, 1981.

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 congregation moved into its new church building. 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, and Chai & Chat. Many of these ministries were done in partnership with our denomination or community organizations.  Emmanuel strives to embrace its 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. 


Pastors & Years of Ministry

Gene Klassen 1981- 1984
Ron Toews (interim) 1984-1986
Dave Ortis 1986-1992
April Yamasaki 1993-2018
Bob Boehr (transitional) 2019-2021
Rod Suderman 2022-present


1980 39
1985 126
1990 168
1995 161
2000 188
2005 226
2010 265
2015 289
2020 270