Bakerview asked for trouble, received grace
“Mosaic” church marks golden anniversary
“Bakerview is different.” “Bakerview will cause problems for all of us. We see nothing but trouble ahead.” That was the assessment of two Mennonite pastors reported in a 1960s B.C. newspaper account about the church plant.
The weekend culminated in a joint celebration service with Clearbrook at Columbia Bible College. Numerous Bakerview speakers thanked Clearbrook for its willingness in 1965 to give up 84 members (most of them younger) to start the new church. They also paid tribute to Clearbrook for its gift of $15,000 (roughly equivalent to $100,000 in 2015) toward the $19,000 cost of 10 acres of land for a church campus.
As for “nothing but trouble,” stories through the weekend showed 50 years of the opposite: God’s faithfulness – in ministry, mission, financial support – and an inclusive church family with palpable camaraderie and care.
Member Henry Thiessen was quoted as saying, “Us men gathering together every week to pray is the ‘boiler room’ for Bakerview ministries.”
Tributes were paid to mission work in Germany, first through Lawrence and Selma Warkentin’s ministry; later, members went overseas to build church facilities for Andre and Olga Pritzkau.
Sizeable work crews helped restore the Pines Bible Camp after the devastation of the 2012 windstorm.
A commemorative book highlights individual stories on the gospel impact of Bakerview’s many activities: local sports outreach like weekly pick-up floor hockey, volleyball and basketball for neighbourhood youths; the Bakerview Arts Festival, Music on a Wednesday, the Fellowship Choir and the Dayspring ensemble; and musicians like Betty Suderman and Bakerview’s first choir conductor Rudy Baerg (who added Bakerview to his schedule along with “mother church” Clearbrook).
The book also pays tribute to Bakerview’s three published authors: Trinity Western University professor Craig Evans (who in 2002 moved to Acadia Divinity College), political scientist and commentator John Redekop, and influential MB Bible scholar David Ewert, who died in 2010.
Theme for the observance was “A Mosaic of Grace.” Since 2003, the church has held three separate Sunday services – liturgical, traditional and contemporary – one example of Bakerview’s “mosaic” nature. The church also has an active youth ministry and boasts 61 members over the age of 90.
“What a rich, diverse passage of congregational life it has been,” wrote planning committee chair David Giesbrecht, “for which we all acknowledge God’s inexhaustible grace.”
—Barrie McMaster, B.C. correspondent