Historical Sketch: Port Hardy Mennonite Fellowship

In 1984 Arno & Liese Penner, members of First Mennonite Church Greendale, moved to Port Hardy on Vancouver Island so that Arno could accept a high school teaching position. Once they arrived, they came into contact with a group of Mennonites that were teaching under the auspices of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) on the Gwa’sala-Nakwaxda’xw Indian Band. MCC had started their work on the reserve in 1974 to help deal with high rates of alcoholism.

The Penners asked for help from their parent church to help organize a congregation in Port Hardy, and Helmut Isaak, pastor of the Greendale congregation, agreed. The congregation was assisted by the Greendale congregation as well as by the Mission Committee of the Conference of Mennonites in British Columbia. For the first few years the congregation appreciated the assistance they received from the Mennonite Church but chose to be an independent congregation. However, the fellowship joined the Conference of Mennonites in British Columbia on June 12, 1992. In 1995 there were 24 members.

The congregation ended in 1999 after MCC ended its work in the community. At that time Mary Giesbrecht served as the congregational leader.