Rev. Dr. Hedwig Dorothea Henrietta Bartling was born in Germany. As a young child, she emigrated with her family from Germany to Canada, settling in Saskatchewan, just a year before the First World War. In 1933, she was engaged by the Woman's Missionary Society (W.M.S.) of The United Church of Canada to work among the Ukrainian people in northern Alberta. In 1942, she went to Lethbridge to work among the Japanese-Canadian internees. After the war, Bartling worked first at the Chinese Christian Community Centre in Victoria, B.C. (1950-1951), followed by several years at Steveston United Church in Richmond, helping build the integrated Caucasian-Japanese congregation (1952-1956). Following three years at Queen's Avenue United Church in New Westminster (1960-1962), and studies at Union College, she was ordained. Hedwig Bartling died in 1993.
Brighouse United Church in Richmond was officially constituted as a congregation in January of 1926. The congregation met initially in the Richmond Municipal Hall for services. The first church building was opened in June 1927. Within a decade, it was evident that a larger building was needed. A new building was opened in September 1940 at 816 Granville Avenue; it was extended and remodeled in 1956. To accommodate growth, a church hall was added during 1951-1952. Although originally part of the Richmond pastoral charge (along with Richmond United Church), Brighouse became a separate charge in 1958. In 1974, the church building was moved to 8151 Bennett Road. Brighouse United was part of Vancouver South Presbytery until the Presbytery was disbanded in 2019.
First United Church has its roots in First Presbyterian Church (organized in 1885) and Princess Street Methodist Church (begun in 1888). The two congregations were involved in mission work very early on, and performed joint outreach projects since the early 1900s. By the time of the First World War, the national mission boards of both churches put the two congregations under their control in order that the mission work could continue. Princess Street Methodist Church, which had become Central Methodist Church in 1908, became the Turner Institute in 1916.
First United Church in Vancouver was established in 1925 through the amalgamation of First Presbyterian Church and the Turner Institute. The amalgamated congregation chose to meet in the Presbyterian Church building, which had been erected in 1892 at the corner of Gore and Hastings Streets. The minister, referred to as Superintendent, served as pastor to the congregation and had oversight of mission operations.
After church union, the old Turner Institute building was used for First United’s Welfare department, later known as Welfare Industries. The Rev. J. Richmond Craig, who had served as Superintendent of First Presbyterian Church from 1921, helped establish Welfare Industries, as well as Camp Fircom, and the congregation’s radio ministry. Welfare Industries was organized to provide employment, training, rehabilitation and opportunity for those unable to find employment in normal industries. Camp Fircom was established on Gambier Island as a fresh air camp for mothers and children. The Rev. Andrew Roddan is another significant Superintendent (1930-1948), who saw the mission through the Depression and war years. The original Presbyterian Church building was torn down in 1964 and the present building opened in 1965 at the same spot.
Welfare service work and advocacy programs have been the central components of the mission. Over the years, First United Church has mainly addressed the needs of the homeless, the unemployed, and ethnic groups (including the Finnish and Japanese congregations). In 2007, the congregation was disbanded, but the mission remained active and was incorporated as First United Church Community Ministry Society in 2014.
In 1861, the Presbyterian Church of Ireland sent a missionary to British Columbia. After months of travel throughout the colony, he organized "First Presbyterian Church of Vancouver Island" in Victoria in February, 1862. Initial services were held in various halls, until the church was opened in October, 1863 at Pandora and Blanshard. Difficulties arose in 1866, leading to the founding of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, and the closure of First Presbyterian Church from 1867 to 1876. In 1882, the First Presbyterian congregation joined the Presbyterian Church in Canada. It was burned in a fire in 1883, but rebuilt the same year, and expanded in 1890. In 1913, a new church school hall at Quadra and Fisgard was completed; the congregation vacated the church and met at the school hall. The cornerstone for a new church building at that site was laid in September 1914, and the building was completed and dedicate in May 1915. The First Presbyterian Church congregation entered the United Church of Canada in 1925, becoming First United Church. The First Presbyterian Church congregation entered the United Church of Canada in 1925, becoming First United Church. In 1997, First United Church and Metropolitan United Church were amalgamated in the First United Church building and the congregation became known a First-Metropolitan United Church.
On May 9, 1888 the Richmond Mission was constituted by action of the Methodist conference. The congregation met in the municipal hall, then situated at Cambie and River roads, until their first church, Richmond Methodist, was built in 1891. Following church union in 1925, the church became Richmond United Church (essentially a name change). In 1961, the congregation sold the original church building and parsonage to the Municipality of Richmond and moved into a new church building at 8711 Cambie Road. The Municipality moved the original church building to Minoru Park as a centennial project in 1967 and re-dedicated it as a non-denominational church serving the community for weddings and baptisms. It is now known as Minoru Chapel.
From 1958-1970, Richmond United and Sea Island United were part of a two-point pastoral charge. The Sea Island congregation disbanded as of September 1970 and many of the remaining members of that church joined the Richmond congregation. Although the name "Richmond-Sea Island pastoral charge" remained for many years after that, the congregation was a single pastoral charge and reaffirmed its name as Richmond United Church only in 2012. Richmond United Church was part of Vancouver-South Presbytery until the Presbytery was dissolved in 2019.
The first United Church Chaplain, Rev. M.J.V. Shaver, was appointed to the University of British Columbia after its creation by BC Conference in 1959. An interdenominational committee, the Anglican-United Joint Chaplaincy Committee, was formed in 1969, through the BC Conference Committee on Church and State in Education, to begin the process of creating a joint chaplaincy at UBC. In 1970 the Anglican United Campus Ministry (AUCM) was created. In 1974, the AUCM and the UBC Student Christian Movement (SCM) merged to form the Cooperative Christian Campus Ministry (CCCM) at the University of British Columbia. In 1979, the SCM left the CCCM and the United Church and Anglican Church continued to operate campus ministry at UBC through the CCCM. In 1986, the CCCM was dissolved and the partnership between the United Church and Anglican Church at UBC ended. Later that year, after a brief period without a United Church campus chaplain, the United Church Campus Ministry (UCCM) at UBC was formed. In 2021, Campus Ministry at UBC became a part of Pacific Mountain Regional Council through the formation of Campus United.
Robert Frederick ("Bob") Smith was born in Montreal in 1934. After receiving his B.A. from the University of Alberta in 1956, he earned a diploma in Theology at St. Stephen’s College (1958), a B.D. from the University of Alberta (1964), and a Th.D. at Boston University School of Theology (1973). He was ordained by the Alberta Conference of the United Church in 1958, and married Margaret Ellen Maguire that year. After ordination, he served in pastoral ministry at St. Luke's, Fort St. John, British Columbia (1958-1961); Trinity, Edmonton (1961-1965); Memorial Congregational Church of Atlantic, Quincy, Massachusetts (1965-1968); Richmond Hill (1968-1974); Eglinton, Toronto (1974-1982); Shaughnessy Heights, Vancouver (1982-1993); and First, Vancouver (1993-1998).
Throughout his ministry, Smith has served on numerous committees, including the Doctrinal Commission; General Commission on Church Union; Committee on Union and Joint Mission; Co-Chair of Roman Catholic-United Church Dialogue; the Committee on Theology and Faith; the Inter-Church Inter-Faith Committee, and the Division of Mission in Canada's Advisory Group on Residential Schools.
Smith has also served as head of several church courts: as chair of York Presbytery (1972-1974) and Toronto Area Presbytery (1977-1979); President of Toronto Conference (1981-1982); and as Moderator of the United Church of Canada (1984-1986). As Moderator, he made the Apology to First Nations Peoples on behalf of the Church in 1986.
Rev. Fong Dickman, originally known as Fong, Tak Man, was born in 1860 in Yan Ping, Kwangtung [Canton or Guangdong], China. He came to Canada in 1884 to seek a better life. Initially Mr. Fong made a living by driving stagecoaches between Vancouver and New Westminster, B.C. While attending a mission school at night, first in New Westminster and subsequently in Vancouver, Fong developed a keen interest in Christianity. He was baptized at the Princess Street Methodist Church in Vancouver, and appointed to the Chinese Methodist Church in Nanaimo in 1898 as a missionary at large. At that time, his name was Anglicized to “Dickman.” In 1906, Fong Dickman was transferred to Vancouver to set up and produce the Wa-Ying Yat-Po, (华英日报, the Chinese-English Daily Newspaper, 1906-1909), one of the very early (if not the first) Christian newspapers in the Chinese language published in Canada. After 25 years of service, Fong Dickman was ordained by the Methodist Church of Canada in 1923. During his lifetime, he served in pastoral ministry at Nanaimo (1898-1906 and 1913-1921), Vancouver (1906-1913), New Westminster (1922-1930), and Edmonton (1930-1939). Rev. Fong Dickman retired in 1939, living in New Westminster until 1942, then residing in Vancouver from 1943 until his death on April 10, 1946.
Fong Dickman married Jane Chang in Victoria in 1899, and the couple had four daughters: Lavina Fong Dickman, who later became Lavina Cheng; Esther Fong Dickman; Anna Fong Dickman, who became Anna Lam; and Mary Fong Dickman (who died at a very young age). Aside from their loyal assistance with the church work, Anna was the first Chinese Canadian to become a registered nurse in B.C. and Esther, a school teacher in Vancouver. Mrs. Fong Dickman died in 1927. Beyond missionary work, Rev. Fong Dickman enjoyed creative writing, featuring early Chinese immigrants from his pastoral perspective. Rev. Fong Dickman was a philanthropist, who was noted to have supported a missionary in the city of Fat Shaan in Fong Dickman’s native province in south China.
As far back as the 1870s, ministers of the Presbyterian and Methodist churches travelled through Williams Lake and preached. Regular work was not established until 1920, initially under the leadership of Rev. J.H. White. The Rev. Dr. A.D. MacKinnon arrived in the fall of 1921 for a long-term ministry for the Presbyterian Church, serving the people of Williams Lake and the vast surrounding area until 1941. St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church and manse were built on Oliver Street, Williams Lake, and was officially dedicated in 1922. During church union in 1925, the congregation joined The United Church of Canada and its name changed to St. Andrew’s United Church.
In 1953, St. Andrew’s sold its original buildings and moved to the corner of Cameron Street and Third Avenue. A hall, later to be named MacKinnon Memorial Hall, was built. The congregation intended that a sanctuary would also be erected, but this did not materialize, so the hall served as a sanctuary and Christian Education centre. A manse was built beside the hall, and served the ministry staff until it was sold in 1974 to give the minister opportunity to choose suitable housing.
On April 9, 1980, a fire destroyed MacKinnon Memorial Hall. St. Andrew’s worshiped in the Anglican church and then in local school gyms. St. Andrew’s sold the Cameron Street lot in 1981 and purchased a new site in the 600 block of Midnight Drive from B.C. Rail. A new structure, 1000 Huckvale Place, was completed in July 1982.
Vera Bell (neé Lyon) was born December 2, 1933 in Clinton, Ontario. She took her nursing training at Victoria Hospital in London Ontario, graduating as an RN in the class of 1955. She arrived in Hazelton, B.C. in early 1956, serving for five years at Wrinch Memorial Hospital. In 1961, she moved to Queen Charlotte City, where she served as matron of the hospital for two years. She received midwifery training in Edmonton in 1963. She attended Covenant College (Toronto) in 1963-1964 before being posted to Portugal and Kenya. In 1971, she completed her Bachelor of Nursing at McGill University in Montreal, before marrying Alfred Bell, former auditor for United Church of Canada Hospitals. She was a She was a vital member of First United Church (Prince Rupert, B.C.) and Brechin United Church (Nanaimo, B.C.) Vera died November 14, 2020 in Nanaimo, B.C.
In 1974, Youth and Young Adult (YAYA) ministry formally became a part of BC Conference in The United Church of Canada. In 1979, YAYA ministry ended at the conference level and the Youth Section was formed by a group of volunteers. YAYA ministry was reinstated at the conference level in 1982, along with the creation of an executive with representatives from each presbytery. Two YAYA sub-committees, the Young Adult Ministry Section (YAMS) and the Youth Ministry Section (YMS) were formed in 1987. YAYA ministry expanded into presbyteries and congregations throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In 2019, BC Conference was dissolved and ministry to youth and young adults was absorbed into the First Third Ministry (children, youth and young adults) in the new Pacific Mountain Regional Council structure.
The position of Conference Administrator was established in 1979, when BC Conference implemented a new staffing model. The responsibilities of the Administrator included management of Conference finances, oversight of the operation of the Conference office, and consultation with division, committees, presbyteries, congregations, and individuals concerning budget planning, stewardship, and property matters. The functions remained the same, but the position title changed several times, including Financial Manager and Stewardship, Finance Minister, and finally Director of Finance.|James A. Chisholm, formerly the Administrative Officer for the Metropolitan Council of The United Church of Canada in the Lower Mainland of B.C., became the first Conference Administrator. He was followed by Arthur H. Jones (1983-1993); Nellie Tang (1994-2018); and Houston Mo (2018). The position of Director of Finance continued under the Pacific Mountain Regional Council from January 1, 2019.
Cumberland United Church, established in 1926, had its origins in two earlier congregations, both founded in 1888, at the Union Mines coal mining operation, which later grew into the village of Cumberland. Union Presbyterian Church, which was later renamed St. George's, became St. George's United Church in 1925. Grace Methodist Church, which was part of the larger Cumberland Circuit which included points at Denman Island, Union Bay and Grantham, became Grace United. A Japanese Mission church also existed in Cumberland, although the only record of activities in this fonds are baptismal records of Cumberland Circuit. St. George's and Grace merged in 1926 to form Cumberland United Church and one pastoral charge. From 1950 until 1980, Union Bay and Denman Island congregations were again part of the Cumberland Pastoral Charge. Cumberland United Church disbanded on December 31, 2017.
United Church activity began in Fruitvale in 1936, at first under the oversight of the Ymir-Salmo Pastoral Charge in Kootenay Presbytery. The congregation built a church in ca. 1939 and at least since the early 1940s the congregation has been named St. Paul's United Church. The congregation has constituted a part of various pastoral charges: Fruitvale Pastoral Charge, 1937-1939, which included Castlegar and Robson; East Trail-Fruitvale Pastoral Charge, 1939-1952; Fruitvale Pastoral Charge, 1952-1959, which included Beaver Falls, Montrose, Salmo, Ymir and other points. In 1959 Salmo and Fruitvale became separate charges, although Beaver Falls, Montrose and other points remained connected to Fruitvale. In 1970-1971, St. Paul’s United Church sold its property and entered into joint ownership with St. John’s Anglican Church. In 1972, the St. Paul's congregation joined Salmo United Church to form Beaver Valley-Salmo Pastoral Charge. Then in 2003, Beaver Valley-Salmo entered into the Communities in Faith Pastoral Charge. Salmo United disbanded in 2016, and the new Beaver Valley United Church was constituted, separated from Communities in Faith.
The earliest Methodist services in the Port Kells area were held in a private home in 1888. In 1907, the Anniedale Methodist Church was built. From 1908-1914, the Anniedale Methodist Church was part of the Cloverdale Methodist Circuit, associated with Cloverdale, Clayton, Barnston Island and Mud Bay congregations. From 1914-1924 the circuit included only Cloverdale, Clayton and Anniedale. From 1924-1929 the church was linked with Tynehead and Sullivan congregations as part of the Cloverdale Pastoral. In October of 1929 the first United Church services was conducted in Port Kells. In 1933, services were temporarily discontinued while the Anniedale church was dismantled and moved to Port Kells, rebuilt on rented property. Services on the new site began again in 1934. In 1949 a new church was built on donated land at its present site. The Port Kells Mission Field then comprised Tynehead, Port Kells and West Langley preaching points. Port Kells continued on as its own Pastoral Charge until 1988, when it was closed as a United Church.
In 1984, Kootenay Presbytery approved the joint application of Knox United Church, Trail, B.C. and East Trail United Church to become a single two-point Trail Pastoral Charge. In January of 1985 the two congregations became one Pastoral Charge functioning with one Official Board. The two congregations were fully amalgamated in 1987, when Knox United Church became Trail United Church, and the East Trail property was sold. Trail United came together with congregations at Rossland, Salmo, and Fruitvale in 2003 to form a four-point charge, Communities in Faith. In 2016, the congregation at Salmo disbanded and the new Beaver Valley Pastoral Charge was formed, leaving Trail and Rossland congregations in Communities of Faith Pastoral Charge. The two congregations amalgamated in December, 2018, to form a single congregation (Communities in Faith) overseeing two properties.
St. Andrew's United Church was founded in 1895 with the purpose of bringing the Presbyterian faith to the small mining town of Rossland, British Columbia. The first religious services were held on the last Sunday in May 1895, in a partially constructed butcher's shop. The first church was erected in Nickel Plate Flat and opening services were conducted on August 28, 1895. Although originally a Presbyterian church, St. Andrew's would, in 1917, vote to unite with the Rossland Methodist Church (founded 1897). The name and church of St. Andrew's were retained for the new church, however, Methodist ministers continued to lead "union" services from 1918-1925. After this time the church was referred to exclusively as St. Andrew's United Church and United Church services and ministers were used. By the late 1960s, there was a spirit of growing cooperation with the local Anglican congregation, St. George's. Negotiations with St. George's Anglican Church regarding the sharing of services and buildings through a lease ended with a five year lease being approved by both congregations in 1969. Shared services were held between St. George's and St. Andrew's until 1982, when St. George's terminated the arrangement. Major renovations to the church building were completed by 1985. The church continued to grow into the 1980s, recording a membership growth and budget surplus by 1987. In 2003, St. Andrew's joined with the congregations at Trail, Salmo, and Fruitvale to form the four-point Communities in Faith Pastoral Charge. Salmo United Church disbanded 2016 and the new Beaver Valley Pastoral Charge (based at Fruitvale) left Trail and Rossland congregations in a two-point pastoral charge. In 2018, the congregations amalgamated to form a single congregation, Communities in Faith, overseeing two properties.
Chizu Uchida was born in Vancouver and attended the Powell Street Church (Japanese Mission) with her family until the internment of Japanese Canadians in 1942. She and her family attended the Japanese United Church in Montreal for a short while until returning to Vancouver in the mid-1950s. From that point, Chizu was a member of the Vancouver Japanese United Church, and a founding member of the English-Speaking Congregation in 1969. She served on the Church Board and also for a time as secretary of the national Japanese United Church Conference (Kyogikai). She died in 2017.
Deryl (Dal) James Michael McCrindle was born in Vancouver in 1945. He attended Union College and was among the first graduates of the Vancouver School of Theology (after Union College and Anglican Theological College amalgamated). McCrindle was ordained by B.C. Conference in 1972. He served charges in rural Manitoba (1972-1974) and Winnipeg (1974-1977) before returning to British Columbia. He continued in pastoral ministry at First United, Prince Rupert (1977-1985); St. David’s, West Vancouver (1985-1990); St. Andrew’s-Wesley, Vancouver (1990-1991); St. Giles, Vancouver (1991-1996); and St. Andrew’s (Haney), Maple Ridge (1996-2006). McCrindle served as president of BC Conference (1984-1985) and as chair of both Prince Rupert and Vancouver-Burrard presbyteries. After retirement in 2006, he continued his ministry, serving as an associate minister at West Vancouver and St. David’s United Churches and as chaplain to the Royal Canadian Legion in West Vancouver. While in the north, he was adopted by the Tsimshian community at Lax Kw’alaams and became a member of the “wolf” clan of that community.
Art Jones served as Financial Manager for BC Conference of The United Church of Canada, from 1983 until his retirement. He continued as a financial consultant for the Conference until his death in 2006.
The Committee on Church and State in Education was created in 1964 as a part of the new Division of Ministry and Education in BC Conference. In 1972, the Committee on Church and State in Education was dissolved and the Campus Ministries Committee took on its duties.
The first Methodist Church carried out work as early as 1895. The first church building was built and opened in 1897. Mr. D.D. Birks from Vancouver was the Methodist student minister for two years, and Rev. Ladner followed in the premises on Washington Avenue. This building eventually was enlarged to include a reading room, Sunday School, and recreation hall. In 1917, the Methodist Church united with the Presbyterian Church. One of the past Pastors is Reverend A.M. Sanford.
The first Presbyterian Church was begun in May 1895 with the arrival of Minister Hugh J. Robertson. He held the first religious service in Rossland in a store at the corner of Sourdough Alley and Spokane Street. Sunday School was organized on Mr. Robertson’s second Sunday in the city. Opening services in the new church was held on 28 August 1895. Friends of Mr. Robertson’s in Ontario presented the church with its first organ. Mr. Robertson was succeeded by Reverend James Wallance, D. McGradier, J.M. Robinson, Reverend R. Grant, T.J. Robinson, Reverend James Dow, Reverend S.R. Sarkassian, and Reverend W. Robertson. The Presbyterian Church united with the Methodist Church in 1917.
As early as 1892, a traveling priest named Reverend Father Bedard visited the Rossland mining camp on his missionary circuit and conducted mass. Bedard was followed by Father Peylavin two years later in 1894. Father Lemay became the resident priest in 1895, and at this time mass was held wherever possible. The first Catholic Church in Rossland was built by a contractor named McCarthy in October 1895. A bell was installed in the tower in late 1900, after being shipped from England. In 1902, Father Welsh purchased land on the corner of Butte and Columbia to build a new church and turn the current church into a school. This plan was put on hold until 1915 when it was completed under the supervision and leadership of Father MacIntyre who replaced Father Welsh in 1912. Sacred Heart Catholic Church opened in 1915. The parish rectory was purchased in 1922. The Parish Hall was built across the street from the church in 1930. In the 1960s, the Father MacIntyre Centre (also called the Catechism Centre) was built beside the Parish Hall. In 1997, the priest position was reduced to part-time. Plans to renovate Sacred Heart Church and create a community multipurpose space were approved in 2012. The Parish Hall and Father MacIntyre Centre were sold in 2013 to pay for the renovations.