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Clearbrook Mennonite Brethren Church – Abbotsford, BC

Proper Title

Clearbrook Mennonite Brethren Church fonds

Dates of Creation

1958–2011

Physical Description

16 cm of textual records, 2 microfilm reels, and 1 photo

Administrative History

Early Mennonite settlers in the Clearbrook area were concerned about their spiritual development. Even before Mennonite Brethren churches had begun in the area, settlers gathered every Sunday in each other’s homes for worship services. Soon numerous Mennonite churches sprang up in the area. The North Abbotsford Mennonite Brethren Church was one of these, with services beginning in 1935, formally organized in 1937. In February 1939, the Municipality of Matsqui donated one and one-half acres of land to the congregation. A building project started that fall, with a dedication service held on October 27, 1940. A Sunday school building was constructed soon after. After 1957, the North Abbotsford congregation was renamed the Clearbrook MB Church.

From the early years, Clearbrook MB dedicated itself to outreach and mission work. In 1960, the congregation initiated the construction of a chapel at Lake Errock. Shortly thereafter, the chapel developed into the Lake Errock Mennonite Brethren Church (1963). The congregation’s outreach work also helped spark its own growth, and by 1947, membership stood at 393. In 1947, 103 members from the congregation left to start a daughter church named the East Aldergrove Mennonite Brethren Church. Even after this division, Clearbrook MB continued to grow.

After extending the building twice, in order to accommodate its growing membership, the congregation decided to build a completely new structure. Construction began in 1956, and the completed building was dedicated on April 14, 1957. Since then, several other additions and aesthetic changes have taken place, including modifications to the front entrance, and the construction of an educational wing, with office, Sunday school, and kitchen space.

Bakerview Mennonite Brethren Church also has its roots in the Clearbook congregation. In the beginning of 1965, Clearbrook MB had over 700 members, and overcrowding became an issue yet again. Following East Aldergrove’s example, 102 members left Clearbrook MB to form the Bakerview church. Even after this division, Clearbrook’s membership remained high. In the years that followed, it continued to gain many members who moved into Clearbrook for retirement.

Gerhard Rempel is seen as founding leader, serving the church from 1936 to 1937. The following ministers and pastors served the congregation in subsequent years as leading ministers: Gerhard H. Doerksen (1937–1938), C.C. Peters (1938–1943), Jacob Derksen (1944–1951), A.A. Toews (1951–1954),  Abe Konrad (1954-1960), Henry H. Janzen (1962–1964, first salaried pastor), Henry G. Thielmann (1964–1967), Herman Lenzmann (1968-1976), John G. Baerg (1976–1982), John E. Klassen (1983–1991), Jacob Pauls (1992–1999), Peter J. Klassen (2000), and Heinz Ratzlaff (2002– 2008), Walter Wiens (2008–2010), Ron Berg (2010–2016), Harry Loewen (2017–2018), Scott Tolhurst (2019– ).

Language of worship is English and German.

Scope and Content

This fonds contains historical sketches in German and English, their constitution, 2 directories, yearbook, 50th anniversary book in English and German, 75th Anniversary Special Edition of The Bridge, bulletins of the anniversary services, an anniversary placemat with seven historic photos, bulletins and newsletters, congregational and church council meeting minutes, membership and family register, statistical data.

Notes

  • Volume 363, 457.
  • Finding aid consists of a file list.
  • The records are classified under the Canadian Conference of MB Churches inventory number BB512, and partially located on microfilm reels 56 and 57.
  • Described by Shauna Hudson May 27, 2004. Edited by Donovan Giesbrecht September 2, 2004. Updated by Yvonne Snider-Nighswander June 25, 2012.
  • No restrictions on access.
  • Language: English and German.

File List

Volume 363
1. Historical Sketch. --  ca. 1985.
2. Entshehung der Gemeinde: Clearbrook, G.H. Doerksen and Statistisches Material zur Geschichte der Clearbrook Mennoniten Bruedergemeinde (anfaenglich: North-Abbotsford Mennoniten Bruedergemeinde). -- 1957, 1960.
3. Constitution. -- [197-?].
4. Church directories and pictorial directory. -- 1975, 1976, [197-], 1984, 1987.
5. 50th Anniversary Book (English). -- 1986.
6. 50th Anniversary Book (German). -- 1986.
7. Bulletins. -- 1965, 1968, 1970 incomplete.
8. Bulletins. -- 1971, 1974, 1975 incomplete.
9. Bulletins. -- 1985.
10. Bulletins. -- 1986.
11. Bulletins. -- 1990, 1994 incomplete.
12. Bulletins. -- 1995.
13. Bulletins. -- 1996.
14. Bulletins. -- 1997.
15. Bulletins. -- 1998.

Volume 457
1. Bulletins. -- 1999.
2. Bulletins. -- 2000.
3. Bulletins. -- 2001.
4. Bulletins. -- 2002.
5. 75th Anniversary Memorabilia: Special Edition of The Bridge, bulletins of three anniversary services, song sheet, anniversary placemat with seven photocopied, unidentified historic photos.

Microfilm file list

Reel 56

  • Congregational Meeting Minutes. Jan 1936–Dec 1940. -- p. 1051–1130.
  • Congregational Meeting Minutes. 1940–1946. -- p. 1131–1228.
  • Congregational Meeting Minutes. 1946–1949. -- p. 1229–1424.
  • Topical Index. -- p. 1425–1427.
  • Congregational Meeting Minutes. 1949–1955. -- p. 1428–1581.
  • Congregational Meeting Minutes. Jan 1956–Dec 1956. -- p. 1582–1631.
  • Congregational Meeting Minutes. Jan 1957–Sep 1963. -- p. 1632–1921.
  • Congregational Meeting Minutes. Oct 1963–Dec 1970. -- p. 1822–2022.
  • Congregational Meeting Minutes. Jan 1971–Sep 1978. -- p. 2023–2203.
  • Church Council Meeting Minutes. 1946–1953. -- p. 2204–2403.
  • Church Council Meeting Minutes. May 1953–Dec 1954. -- p. 2404–2471.

Reel 57

  • Statistical Data. 1938–1960. -- p. 681–685.
  • Membership and Family Register – Book 3. Jan 1973. -- p. 686–783.
  • Membership and Family Register Book 3 continued. -- p. 784–879.
  • Membership and Family Register Book 4. -- p. 880–956.
  • Membership and Family Register – Current Record. 1977. -- p. 958–1384.
  • Church Council Meeting Minutes. Mar 1957–May 1958. -- p. 1–31.
  • Church Council Meeting Minutes. May 1958–May 1960. -- p. 32–84.
  • Church Council Meeting Minutes. Nov 1963–Sep 1965. -- p. 85–189.
  • Church Council Meeting Minutes. Oct 1965–Dec 1966. -- p. 190–285.
  • Church Council Meeting Minutes. Mar 1967–Dec 1971. -- p. 286–520.
  • Church Council Meeting Minutes. Jan 1972–Nov 1977. -- p. 521–668.
  • Church Council Meeting Minutes. Jan 1978–May 1978. -- p. 669–680.
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