Responding to the challenge of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), the Executive Board of the Canada Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church, after much thought and prayer regarding church growth turned their attention in the mid 1980’s Western British Columbia, namely Vancouver and the fast growing Fraser Valley.
In 1986 Dr. Bob Larson, Executive Secretary of the Department of Church Growth and Evangelism from the Evangelical Covenant Church’s headquarters in Chicago, IL was invited to come and help search out a place to begin a new church. After a thorough search of the area, it was clear that God was directing them to the South Surrey and White Rock area.
Rev. Keith Tungseth, Pastor of Outreach and Evangelism at Green Timbers Covenant Church, was asked to begin a home Bible study in White Rock. Shortly after the first group began, two more were added. There was some wonderful momentum building.
In 1986 the Executive Board of the Canada Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church invited Rev. Albert Josephson, then Pastor of Green Timbers Covenant Church, to become the developer pastor (church planter) in South Surrey/White Rock. After much prayer and Rev. Albert and Anna Josephson accepted the invitation to dive in to this new challenge.
Twenty-Five people from Green Timbers Covenant Church joined the Josephsons to become the core of this new church. On February 8th, 1987 a service of installation and dedication for Pastor Albert Josephson and the people from Green Timbers Covenant Church (in Surrey) who would be planting Emmanuel Evangelical Covenant Church in South Surrey/White Rock.
On February 15th, 1987 the group gathered for their first worship service together at a Seventh Day Adventist Church building which they rented until they outgrew it and moved to Sunnyside Elementary School. Until building on their current site, Emmanuel Evangelical Covenant Church met at a variety of locations, including the two above, Faith Mission Conference Centre, and Grandview High School.
On February 22nd, 1987 this group adopted the constitution and by-laws and over the next few months did the work of becoming official in Victoria, with the Canada Conference, and being welcomed into membership by the Evangelical Covenant Church on June 30th, 1987.
In the early 1990’s the land at 16th Ave and 170 Street was purchased, and the challenge of raising funds for building began. On November 1st, 1999 the construction was complete and Emmanuel Evangelical Covenant Church finally had a building to call its own.
In 2012 we celebrated our 25th anniversary with a whole host of activities, celebrating what God has done in and through Emmanuel.
We are on a wonderful piece of property, and we have a building that is well used by the church body as well as the community. We currently host various music recitals, Discovery Learning School, the Air Cadets Squadron 907 (Black Knights), several weeks of Global Partners exchange student groups, and most recently we are home to South Surrey Christian Assembly, a new Chinese speaking congregation here in South Surrey.
There is a lot to be thankful for in the history of this church. God has been faithful in the little things and in the huge things. It is a blessing to call this part of the country home and to be given this area as our community to serve. We look forward to the ways God will continue to be at work in and through Emmanuel Evangelical Covenant Church.