Greendale Mennonite Brethren Church – Sardis, BC
Greendale Mennonite Brethren Church fonds
Dates of Creation
12.5 cm of textual records, 3 microfilm reels, and 1 photo
On New Year’s Day, 1931, twenty-four men and women met and unanimously decided to organize a Mennonite Brethren Church in Greendale. The following Sunday, an organizational meeting was held and the Sardis Mennonite Brethren Church (later Greendale Mennonite Brethren Church) came into being. Rev. Henry G. Dueck was elected as leader with Rev. Jacob B. Harder as assistant leader.
With the exception of one family, all original members had immigrated to Canada from Russia. In 1931 the members decided to construct a church building on property donated by Henry and Justina Dueck. By the end of 1939 the membership had more than doubled and a larger church building was being planned.
After the economic stress of the 1930s, the church experienced much growth. They accepted 417 new members during the 1940s and reached a record of 499 members in the mid 1940s. The second church building, which had been dedicated in 1940, no longer offered adequate space for the congregation, and the members were again ready to share their wealth to acquire more room.
Unfortunately, everything was halted due to the 1948 flood when in a matter of hours the muddy waters of the Fraser River flooded most of Greendale. But in spite of being homeless and scattered, the congregation met on Sundays in a ground level hayloft to worship and pray. As an answer to prayer, both the provincial and federal governments provided financial assistance to the flood victims, which enabled residents to reconstruct their homes completely. Due, however, to loss of crops and so on, some families moved to Vancouver to seek employment or establish businesses, and some who had work in Chilliwack, transferred their membership to the Broadway Mennonite Brethren Church. In total 227 members transferred to other Mennonite Brethren churches in the 1950s.
At this same time a generation gap had begun to surface and threatened the unity of the church. The ministers and the older people of the church communicated in German while the younger people had already adopted English. The church wanted to bring about harmony, so they hired Rev. Henry Unger – who was comfortable with the English language – as their first part-time salaried pastor in 1959. A smooth transition from German to English then took place in 1960.
In 1965 the church voted to conduct all church business meetings in English, and Sunday morning services were to have a German and English message. By 1968, two services were planned. One English and one German. They also decided to renovate the sanctuary rather than construct a new building. This was undertaken in 1966.
In 1965 they also elected their “native son,” David Froese, as pastor. He served the church as pastor until 1971. Harry E. Heidebrecht was then appointed as pastor. In 1977, they decided to construct a building that would accommodate more church-related activities and social events. The facilities were completed in 1979 for the approaching 50th anniversary of the church, which was planned to take place in June 1981. In 1985, the church had 242 members.
Those called to pastor the church include the following: H.G. Dueck (1931–1933, 1934–1941, 1944–1952), Abram Redekop (1933–1934), Willy Wiens (1934), J.B. Harder (1941–1943), Henry J. Unger (1952–1957), William Thiessen (1958–1959), Rudy Janzen (1959–1963), Jacob Franz (1964–1965), David Froese (1965–1970), Harry Heidebrecht (1971–1981), Len Doerksen (1982–1991), Gary Badker (1993–1995), Reg Toews (1997– ).
The language of worship is English. The transition from German occurred in 1965.
Scope and Content
This fonds consists of history, church directories, youth fellowship binder, 50th anniversary book, bulletins, annual reports, congregational, church board, Sunday school committee, Sunday school teachers, pulpit committee, youth committee and deacon meeting minutes, family and membership register, and register of positions and assignments filled by members of the church.
- Location: Volume 376, microfilm reels #62, 63, 64.
- Description by Shauna Hudson, June 9, 2004.
- The records are classified under the Canadian Conference of MB Churches inventory number BB529.
- Finding aid consists of a file list.
- No restrictions on access.
- History. -- 1931–1985.
- Greendale MB Church Directory 1991.
- Youth Fellowship. -- Oct 1969–Sep 1970.
- Greendale Mennonite Brethren Church 50th Anniversary Book. -- 1931–1981.
- Bulletins. -- 1968.
- Bulletins. -- 1969.
- Bulletins. -- 1970.
- Bulletins. -- 1971–1972.
- Bulletins. -- 1985.
- Bulletins. -- 1986.
- Bulletins. -- 1987.
- Bulletins. -- 1988.
- Bulletins. -- 1989.
- Bulletins. -- 1990.
- Bulletins. -- 1991.
- In Touch – Newsletter. -- 1985–1988.
Microfilm file list
- Congregational Meeting Minutes. Jan 1931–Dec 1933. -- p. 1640–1732.
- Congregational Meeting Minutes. Jan 1934–Nov 1938. -- p. 1733–1823.
- Congregational Meeting Minutes. Jan 1939–Jun 1946. -- p. 1823–1953.
- Congregational Meeting Minutes. Dec 1947–Dec 1950. -- p. 1954–2096.
- Congregational Meeting Minutes. Dec 1950–Nov 1954. -- p. 2097–2289.
- Annual Reports. 1958–1959. -- p. 1236–1309.
- Annual Reports. 1960–1963. -- p. 1478–1635.
- Annual Reports. 1964–1967. -- p. 1310–1477.
- Annual Reports. 1968–1974. -- p. 1636–1959.
- Annual Reports. 1975–1977. -- p. 1960–2122.
- Congregational Meeting Minutes. Dec 1954–Sep 1958. -- p. 1–203.
- Congregational Meeting Minutes. Dec 1958–Jun 1961. -- p. 204–261.
- Congregational Meeting Minutes. Aug 1961–May 1967. -- p. 262–461.
- Congregational Meeting Minutes. May 1967–Sep 1975. -- p. 462–659.
- Congregational Meeting Minutes. Oct 1975–Jun 1978. -- p. 660–709.
- Church Board Meeting Minutes. Jun 1958–Apr 1964. -- p. 710–771.
- Church Board Meeting Minutes. Jan 1965–Nov 1968. -- p. 772–942.
- Church Board Meeting Minutes. Feb 1969–Jun 1971. -- p. 943–1001.
- Church Board Meeting Minutes. Aug 1971–Sep 1978. -- p. 1002–1235.
- Sunday School Committee Minutes. Oct 1962–Jun 1967. -- p. 2123–2223.
- Sunday School Committee Minutes. Apr 1967–Aug 1971. -- p. 2265–2325.
- Sunday School Committee Minutes. Oct 1971–Jun 1978. -- p. 2325–2435.
- Sunday School Teachers Minutes. Jan 1963–Jun 1969. -- p. 2224–2264.
- Family and Membership Register: current. -- p. 231–355.
- Family and Membership Register: withdrawn or transferred. -- p. 356–397.
- Register of Positions and Assignments Filled by Members of the Church. 1931–1977.
- Pulpit Committee Meeting Minutes. 1963–1965. -- p. 48–129.
- Deacon Meeting Minutes. Mar 1973–Aug 1978. -- p. 1–47.
- Youth Committee Minutes, Reports, Programs. Dec 1958–Jan 1965. -- p. 130–230.