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
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.