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Willow Park Church – Kelowna, BC

Proper Title

Willow Park Church fonds

Dates of Creation

1943–2001

Physical Description

2 cm of textual records and 1 photo

Administrative History

Willow Park Church in Kelowna, British Columbia started in 1947 by Mennonite immigrants who had come from the Soviet Union after the Second World War. They had been worshipping with the Grace Baptist Church. The Mennonites elected a temporary leadership team for their Sunday meetings. The 32 members organized the Kelowna Mennonite Brethren Church. Rev. John Unger was confirmed as leader, Peter Janzen as assistant leader and Sunday school superintendent, Cornelius Janzen as treasurer, Aaron Willms as Missions treasurer, and Abram Schellenberg as secretary.

Services for this new church were initially held in the home of Herman Goertzen and later in rented halls in the city. By 1947, a church building was under construction with volunteer help. By January 18, 1948, services began in the basement and by 1963 the switch from German services to English worship services had taken place.

In 1966, a new building was built to seat over 430 people and provide needed educational space. In 1985, a new church known as Project Willow Park was undertaken and was ready for occupancy in October 1988. With the move to a new location came the new name of Willow Park Church.

The church continued to grow. The church responded with two morning services starting in 1992 and started a church plant in the Glenmore area in 1995 known as the Garden Valley Community Church.

Membership at the church in 1950 stood at 63 members; in 1965, 120; in 1975, 195; in 1985, 260; in 1993, 376; in 2000, 488; in 2005, 782; in 2010, 1,030; and 2016, 1,062.

Leading ministers of the congregation include John J. Unger (1947–1953), John J. Wiebe, (1953–1956), Abe Sawatsky (1956–1962), Ed J. Lautermilch (1962–1966), John D. Stoesz (1966–1973), Ed Wiebe (1974–1979), Jake H. Quiring (interim 1980), Lloyd Pankratz (1981–1982), Herb J. Brandt (1984–1988), Ed Boschman (1989–1995), Mark Burch (1997–2008), Arnie Peters (interim 2008–2010), Phil Collins (2010– ).

Scope and Content

This fonds consists of a historical sketch, 50th anniversary historical reflection booklet, bulletins and newsletters.

Custodial History

It is unclear when the textual materials came to the archives. The historical sketch was provided to the archives in 1985.

Notes

  • Location: Volume 369.
  • Description by Conrad Stoesz, February 5, 2007.
  • No restrictions on access.
  • Finding aid consist of a file list.

File List

Volume 369
1. Historical Sketch. -- 1943–1985.
2. 50th Anniversary Historical Reflections. -- 1943–1997.
3. Bulletins and Newsletters. -- 1991–1993.
4. Bulletins and Newsletters. -- 1994.
5. Bulletins and Newsletters. -- 1996.
6. Bulletins and Newsletters. -- 1997.
7. Newsletters. -- 1998.
8. Newsletters. -- 1999–2001.

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