Following a 1984 baptism service at the Winkler Bergthaler Mennonite Church (WBMC), Rev J. K. Klassen and WBMC leadership realized that their facility was no longer large enough for their growing congregation. They discerned that "birthing" another daughter church was the best option and discussions leading to the formation of the Emmanuel Mennonite Church began.
On March 2, 1986 a group of believers willing to commit themselves to this church plant met for their first worship service in a newly acquired building at 950 Pembina Avenue. Later that year, on October 19, 1986, Emmanuel Mennonite Church officially became a congregation when 102 adult believers committed themselves as members during a covenanting service. (An additional 102 children and youth were part of the church family.)
Emmanuel chose to affiliate with Mennonite Church Manitoba and Mennonite Church Canada shortly after beginning as a church and continues to be an active participant. Over the years we’ve also built partnerships with MCC (Mennonite Central Committee), Eden Health Care Services, Salem Home, The Bunker, Pregnancy Care Center and Central Station.
By 1994 the membership had doubled to 204 members (plus an additional 204 children and youth) and the church began exploring how to address the need for more space. A second service was established in 1997 and continued until the time when the Emmanuel membership made the decision to build a new facility. Land was purchased in the north west corner of Winkler (at that time) and the building project began.
On September 3, 2006 we moved to our present building at 750 15th Street. Our newer fully accessible building is serving us and the community in wonderful ways. Church growth continues at a steady pace, and after a number of years with fewer young families this demographic has re-emerged at Emmanuel and brought new energy to our church body.
In October of 2006, Pastor John Klassen returned to Emmanuel (he also served as the church’s pastor from 1986-1994) and in September of 2007, Pastor Corey Hildebrand join the pastoral team. Having longer term pastoral leadership who work with and are guided by a strong lay leadership group has led to health and stability at Emmanuel. It has also provided a foundation to explore new emphases such as a new model of youth ministry, an intentionality about being intergenerational in all phases of our church life, the willingness to explore additional ways of engagement and interaction in our worship services, and an emphasis on how we interact with and bless our community.