Historical Sketch: Prince of Peace Mennonite Church*

In 1961 the Vancouver-area Mennonite churches began a Sunday school mission outreach in southwest Richmond to address the lack of any evangelical churches in the area. John Sawatzky of First United Mennonite Church was asked to take charge. The work eventually led to the formation of a congregation, the Prince of Peace Mennonite Church, in 1963. First United and Mountainview Mennonite supported the congregation financially, and Mountainview provided the core of founding members. The first building was occupied in 1962, with a subsequent building program in 1969.

Waldy Klassen was the first pastor of the congregation, and served for 13 years. Abe Penner served the congregation for two years while Klassen attended seminary in Goshen, Indiana.

The congregation began a number of programs in an attempt to nurture the young Christian families in the church and to also reach out to those in the Richmond community that had no church ties. Programming included boys’ and girls’ clubs, summer Bible school, and Sunday school. Several families served in overseas mission assignments and four individuals from the congregation worked full-time in prisoner rehabilitation.

In 1965 there were 26 members; in 1975, 36. Membership remained between 30 and 40. In the mid-1970s five families moved away from the area and the congregation struggled as a result. Services were discontinued in 1978 because most members were participating at Sherbrooke Mennonite Church. A committee of members from the Vancouver area Mennonite churches was formed to address the situation, and eventually it was decided that those who had remained at Prince of Peace Mennonite and members from Sherbrooke Mennonite Church would form a new congregation, Peace Mennonite Church, in 1980.

The congregation was located at 1010 No. 1 Rd., Richmond, BC.