Central Community Church – Chilliwack, BC
Central Community Church fonds
Dates of Creation
14 cm of textual records and 1 microfilm reel
The Central Community Church officially began on January 6, 1945 as the East Chilliwack Mennonite Brethren Church. 1943 saw a rapid influx of families with Mennonite Brethren affiliation migrating from the Prairie Provinces who met together for Bible study and worship. The desire for a Mennonite Brethren fellowship was very evident so in 1944 the decision was made to temporarily rent a small hall. In a few weeks the little hall was filled to overflowing. The possibility of constructing a new building became a reality when land was donated and construction could begin. After much donated time, money, and materials, 82 members were able to meet on January 6, 1945 to formally organize the East Chilliwack Mennonite Brethren Church; it was later dedicated on February 25, 1945.
In the fall of 1947 a Bible school opened in a converted feed store near the church with a student body of 58 and a staff of four teachers. The school remained in operation for eleven years.
Church membership and attendance continued to increase, and by 1947 the church was considering constructing a new building or adding to the existing one. Classrooms and an extended front entrance to the church were added and even more room was made available when sixty families transferred out of the church to organize the Broadway Mennonite Brethren Church. Membership at East Chilliwack was now reduced by almost forty percent. However as attendance did continue to increase, building plans were again underway and construction of a new building began in 1953. The new building provided seating for approximately 400 people in the sanctuary and was completed in 1954. The old building was renovated to house the Bible school during the winter months and also for Sunday school use. At this time, church membership reached a high of 259 with many more adherents. The congregation was led by Rev. George Theilmann from 1950 to 1969. In 1970 Rev. Ben Heppner became the first salaried pastor at the church and was later succeeded in 1975 by Rev. Edward Hamm.
1980 saw an increasing number of families moving into town causing a decline in attendance. This limited growth potential led to the sale of the building and relocation to the city of Chilliwack. The new facilities were first used in February 1981, although the education wing was not complete until April. The relocation of the church brought not only a new building, but also a new name – Chilliwack Central Mennonite Brethren Church.
The church continues to meet at the 1981 location but has since been renamed the Central Community Church as of 2003.
Leaders of the church included, N.A Rempel (1945–1946, 1947–1948), Jacob Bergen (1946–1947), H.A. Kroeker (1948–1950), George Thielmann (1950–1969), Ben Heppner (1970–1975), Edward Hamm (1975–1982), Henry Born (1982–1985), Keith Wiggin (1986–1993), Reg Toews (1995), David MacFarlane (1998–2000), Adam Wiggins (2000– ).
The language of worship is English. The transition from German occurred in the 1960s.
Scope and Content
This fonds contains a 25th anniversary book, an article, brief history sketch, bulletins, membership and family register, annual and Laidlaw reports, congregational and church council meeting minutes and annual financial reports.
- Location: Volume 361, Microfilm #64.
- Description by Shauna Hudson, May 27, 2004.
- Finding aid consists of a file list.
- No restrictions on access.
- Brief History Sketch. -- 1944–1985.
- 25th Anniversary Booklet. -- 1945–1970.
- Bulletins. -- 1968–1969.
- Bulletins. -- 1970.
- Bulletins. -- 1971.
- Bulletins. -- 1972.
- Bulletins. -- 1973.
- Bulletins. -- 1974.
- Bulletins. -- 1975.
- Bulletins. -- 1976.
- Bulletins. -- 1977.
- Bulletins. -- 1979, 1981.
- Bulletins. -- 1985.
- Bulletins. -- 1986.
- Bulletins. -- 1987.
- Bulletins. -- 1988.
- Bulletins. -- 1989.
- Bulletins. -- 1991.
Microfilm file list
- Membership and Family Register. Book I. pp. 2087–2399.
- Annual Reports. 1944–1970. -- p. 1250–1660.
- Laidlaw Reports. 1948–19-? -- p. 1661–1694.
- Congregational Meeting Minutes. Aug 1944–Oct 1946. -- p. 465–529.
- Congregational Meeting Minutes. Oct 1946–May 1952. -- p. 530–726.
- Congregational Meeting Minutes. Jun 1952–Jun 1964. -- p. 727–926.
- Congregational Meeting Minutes. Oct 1964–Sep 1969. -- p. 927–1019.
- Congregational Meeting Minutes. Dec 1969–Sep 1974. -- p. 1695–1838.
- Congregational Meeting Minutes. Sep 1974–Jul 1978. -- p. 1838–1953.
- Church Council Meeting Minutes. Sep 1946–Jun 1949. -- p. 1020–1077.
- Church Council Meeting Minutes. Sep 1949–Mar 1954. -- p. 1078–1133.
- Church Council Meeting Minutes. Apr 1954–May 1963. -- p. 1134–1160.
- Church Council Meeting Minutes. May 1969–Jan 1974. -- p. 1161–1219.
- Church Council Meeting Minutes. Apr 1974–Jan 1975. -- p. 1220–1249.
- Annual Financial Reports. 1950–1953, 1956–1977 (missing 1954, 1955). -- p. 1954–2086.