In the mid-to-late 1950s, many families arrived in Canada as immigrants from The Netherlands. British Columbia also became home to many families from other provinces in Canada, a significant number coming from our neighboring province of Alberta, all looking to provide a better life for their families. The greener pastures and the mild climate attracted many people to the Abbotsford area. The families of Christian Reformed background joined the First Christian Reformed Church of Abbotsford (now called Gateway Christian Reformed Church) on McCallum Road, the only one in the area.
First Church, as it became known, flourished with the Lord’s blessings. The members of the congregation were very committed and dedicated to providing a Christ-like atmosphere in the community.
By 1968, with the steady growth in membership, a decision was made to start a second Christian Reformed Church in the Abbotsford area. With much anticipation and many prayers, an organizational meeting was held on March 3, 1969, and Second Christian Reformed Church of Abbotsford (now Living Hope Christian Reformed Church) was “born”. There were 58 families and 7 single members accepted as members of the new church.
When the new consistory took office, shortly after the organizational meeting, their task looked insurmountable. There was no minister, no church building, and no parsonage – nothing. As a parting “gift,” the congregation of First Church offered a $20,000 in cash or $10,000 cash and a parcel of land on Old Clayburn Road, provided the church would be built there. The area around Old Clayburn Road was undeveloped at that time, and the location of the property was considered to be on the outskirts of town. However the congregation gladly accepted the offer of the property. The congregation felt the leading of God’s hand throughout the process of forming a new church. The inaugural sermon of the first minister (pastor) – Rev. Marvin Heyboer – was held on October 19, 1969. The services were held in the gym of the Abbotsford Christian School on the Abbotsford/Mission Highway.
God continued to bless Living Hope, and it continued to grow. In 1970, the beginning phase of the building program saw our “sanctuary” completed – what is now the fellowship hall. By the early months of 1972, the congregation had almost doubled in size. Approval was given to build the present-day sanctuary, which would have a seating capacity of 500 and a possible over-flow of 50. A special service of praise and thanksgiving was held on February 11, 1973, to dedicate the completed sanctuary to God’s honor and glory. That same day, Rev. Heyboer preached his farewell service, as he had accepted a call to a Christian Reformed church in Michigan.
So much has happened between then and now; many people have come and gone, blessing and being blessed by the congregation of Living Hope. We are grateful for all who have played a role in our midst, as pastors, support staff, members, leaders, elders, deacons, Sunday school teachers, nursery volunteers, coffee makers, ushers, greeters, media techs … the list goes on and on. Think about how many messages have been preached, how many Sunday school lessons taught, prayers prayed, lives changed for Jesus Christ, and cups of coffee consumed over all these years in this special place?
In the fall of 2016, it was proposed to the congregation to do some much needed updates to our sanctuary, as it had been plagued by audio and visual media problems for the last decade. So, in mid-July 2017, the crews arrived, removed the pews, organ, stairs on the stage, many lengths of unused sound and electrical cable, old single-pane windows, the floor, and countless other items.
Weeks and months went by as the stage was rebuilt, retrofitted with the latest audio and visual wiring & lighting. New floors installed, pews were refinished, new lights hung, organ refreshed, and much more.
Our gracious God continues to renovate our hearts as He blesses us with this new, refreshed space of worship.
Why don’t you come on by for a visit and get to know a little more of this story of God’s faithfulness through the ages?