Tuesday, August 4, 2015


CBC’s first service held in new sanctuary - photo from church website
A memorial service for a friend was my reason for entering the brand new facility that now contains the congregation of the Cloverdale Baptist Church. It is commendably well designed, spacious and sensible. Christine and I were there along with friends from numerous activity and interest groups to honour Ted Hewlett and reflect on our memories of him. Ted and Mary have been members of CBC for many years, dating to the ten-year span during which I served as lead pastor there.
Cloverdale Baptist Church being dismantled 

Well, not truly there, but rather in the structure that has been disassembled to make way for the new building and its required parking. In recent months, having intermittent glimpses of the vanishing older facility, my nostalgic memories gave way to thoughtful thanksgiving for all that happened in 85 years.

Cloverdale Baptist Church was a dream that became realized. It began simply enough, as a home Bible study for interested people whose increasing numbers birthed the notion of starting a Bible-believing church with a building in Cloverdale. These pioneers were convinced this was God's idea which he invested into their willing hearts. First, in 1929 several families rented the Liberal Hall in Cloverdale to hold worship services led by area pastors. The Home Missions Committee of an association known as Regular Baptists had been considering starting a church work in the area, and suggested that this fledgling fellowship affiliate with them. The group was formally recognized as a Baptist work on March 10, 1931.

Church leaders and members rose to the challenge with an eager desire to reach their community, so they visited homes and made contacts and extended invitations to attend and over a period of time, people responded to warmth and friendship, believed the good news that was preached, were baptized as new believers and became active members. Church membership grew throughout the 1940's so one acre of land was purchased at 17400-60th Avenue, where the congregation built a new facility and dedicated it to the Lord on October 11, 1962. That building was a catalyst to further growth which included various ministries for special groups, missionaries commissioned overseas, and daughtering other churches. 
Cloverdale Baptist Church, 1981-2015
Then in August 1981 the congregation moved to the present site which then was comprised of 12.8 acres, and there a new 22,500 sq. ft. building with a five acre footprint that included an auditorium seating 550-600 people, ample parking, a gymnasium, Christian education classroom facilities, a smaller chapel/fellowship room and a kitchen. Christine and I came in autumn 1991 to a church of 200 in a building surrounded by bush and farmland. On March 15, 1992 at an Anniversary Service charter members Helmut and Emily Seiler represented the congregation as they put a match to the mortgage certificate for the building as a symbolic gesture indicated the full payment of that debt, and everyone then praised God for his faithfulness in helping this congregation see accomplish this. The following years became filled with a Daycare program, a School of Music, a Skate Church to reach youth, a highly effective youth program, High Power Soccer camps in the community, a Seniors program and growing Sunday attendance. Bush and fields gave way around us to almost overnight housing communities and shopping plazas. 

A full auditorium and visionary people birthed two initiatives. First, in 1995 the launch of a congregation in Murrayville comprised of 50 adults plus their children who volunteered to go with a pastor and $100,000 to begin a brand new work. 
Southridge Fellowship Baptist
Today Southridge Baptist Church occupies a functional new building in Murrayville. Second, because this was a burgeoning area, blueprints were drawn for a new sanctuary seating 1200 people to be added to the existing building using the courtyard as a large glass-topped lobby. Concurrent with that, plans for the seven remaining acres of grasses, included three three-story saleable multi-unit condominium buildings and one similar size subsidized or affordable housing complex. All four buildings would be centred with a vast park area with walkway making it accessible to the surrounding community.

Cloverdale Baptist Church 2015
Some plans belong to God and some are set aside. The latter one was not realized. I concluded my service in 2001. In recent years, new leadership opted to sell seven acres to a developer, and to meet the demands of today with the construction of this new facility. Many new memories will be made in the years to come, yet for many of us, it is appropriate to be thankful for lives that were changed and challenged, and relationships that were deepened and healed because of God's presence and the faithfulness of his people in all of those earlier years.


  1. I remember the day that Bonnie and I met you and Christine at Newland's, to welcome you to Cloverdale Baptist. Doesn't time fly.

    1. I remember that event as well Paul … Our lives interconnected in many ways through the years that followed