In 1987, a group of 12 people from Calvary Baptist Church, as well as other FSJ area churches began to meet with the vision of planting a church at Charlie Lake, B.C. The committee included Al and Sue Stebing who would become the pastoral couple for the new church. The group was commissioned by Calvary Baptist Church of Fort St. John, B.C.
The first worship service was held on September 18, 1988, in the Charlie Lake Community Hall with 14 adults and 10 children in attendance. On September 11th, a Covenant and Induction service was held, and Al Stebing was inducted as pastor. Al‘s background in ranching, trapping, guiding and logging along with his passion for evangelism helped prepare him to minister to a wide variety of people in Charlie Lake and outlying areas. On February 12, 1989, the group voted to become recognized as a church and affiliate with the Baptist Union of Western Canada (now knows as the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada) The foundation service and official church status were celebrated on May 27, 1990. Twenty-seven people were received into membership.
The church reached out to families in the community with Sunday School, Kids Club, gym nights, youth club, Bible study groups and special community events such as music nights and Thanksgiving dinners. The number of people attending Sunday morning worship increased steadily, and in about three years, the average Sunday attendance had grown to more than a hundred. Sunday School space was very limited at the hall; it was soon clear that the group needed better facilities for the children and youth programs.
On June 12, 1991, a 4.5-acre parcel of land overlooking Charlie Lake was purchased from the Charlie Lake Community Club, with a loan from the BUWC. On September 18, 1991, the church voted to purchase the Boundary Lake Esso complex, which consisted of four Atco trailer units that would become the sanctuary (2,000 sq. Ft.), and two modular units (3,000 sq. ft.) for the cost of moving them and cleaning up the site. Since the building was too wide for the bridge, it was brought across the Beatton River on the ice and broke through, creating some interesting publicity. Many local businesses and individuals contributed labour and materials to the building project. The dedication service for the church buildings was held in January 1992.
In the years that followed, the church continued to grow, and a counselling service began as a ministry of the church for several years, as well as for about four years, there was an outreach to the community of Wonowon. As the years progressed, time was set aside to vision and plan for the future; discussion began about the next step, a larger building.
The log chalet at the Big Bam Ski Hill of Taylor, BC, became available for purchase in 1997 and in April 1998, the logs structure was dismantled log-by-log by volunteers and was transported to the church property. An architect was hired to produce the blueprints and a local building supply retailer gave a complete Styrofoam form system for the basement at cost. In May, they organized local contractors to come, erect, prepare, and pour the basement in a two-day “training clinic,” all at no cost to the church. Once the basement was complete, the logs were set in place. Businesses, individuals and churches in Charlie Lake, Fort St. John and the surrounding area came through again and again with supplies, labour and funds. It was a long process before the church building was completed. Work proceeded as the funds were available. Eventually, the wiring, plumbing, heating systems were in place and the finishing work got underway.
Engineering of two additions (nursery & fireside room) and roof design began in the spring of 1999, with the construction of the additions being completed in the fall. Trusses and the roofing package were ordered. Work began on the roof in January of 2000 and was completed in the spring. A group from the Mennonite Brethren Church of Fort St. John sanded and cleaned all the logs and helped to install the tin roof covering. This brought the new building to lock up stage in the fall of 2000. In 2001 the doors, windows, framing, stairways, gable ends, soffits and balconies were constructed.
During this season, the church added an assistant pastor, Nick Vanderlin, to work with the youth and assist Pastor Al in other duties. In the fall of 1999, there were some tensions over theology. A soft economy and several families leaving the church led to declining finances. This resulted in the laying off of Ann Loewen, who was serving as church secretary, and Pastor Nick.
As the church began to grow again, a new secretary, Francie Hancharuk, was hired in 2001 and the construction project continued. On December 21 (14?), 2003, it was with much joy and thanksgiving that the church met together for the first time in the new log building.
On Sunday, March 7, 2004, the congregation came together with community members and those from other churches for the dedication service of the new building. The theme of the area ministers’ message to the congregation was that the new building should be “a launchpad not a landing pad.”
In 2005, the church went through a visioning process, and the need for an associate pastor was brought forward. Pastor Al was still planning to stay for several more years, but he wisely raised the issue of succession planning. In 2006, Pastor Alfred Reschke along with his wife Maria and their family, came to Charlie Lake to serve as Associate Pastor. Having two pastors with different sets of gifts enabled the church to continue to grow in its effective service to the community.
Programs like Moms & Tots Bible study, VBS, mission trips, support of both short and long term missionaries from the church, and the annual Fort St. John area Mission Vision event rose out of CLCC. Due to the unique and attractive facility, the church building became and still is a desired location for weddings and funerals, leading to many opportunities to serve the area.
The average attendance of the church reached 200 for the first time in 2010.
On January 22, 2011, the church held a celebration service to thank Pastor Al and Sue for their service, to thank God for the previous 23 years, and to bless Al and Sue in the future endeavours God had for them.
A search process was initiated, which included the retaining of interim pastor Bob McKenzie along with his wife Myrtle serving for most of the rest of 2011.
In January of 2012, Alfred Reschke became the new Lead Pastor. Jared Braun was hired as an associate pastor in February of 2013. During Alfred’s tenure as pastor, the church’s ties with the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada (formerly the Baptist Union of Western Canada) were strengthened. Also, during his time, Alfred worked with the board in establishing an eldership model.
Pastor Alfred and Maria enjoyed a three-month sabbatical through the summer and early fall of 2015 while interim pastor Lloyd Alstead and his wife Marti served in an interim role. In the winter/spring of 2016, the church held a series of Vision meetings, however before this process was fully complete, Pastor Alfred took medical leave in the fall of 2016. In January of 2017, the board announced that Alfred would not be returning to his role as Lead Pastor.
In March of 2018, Pastor Joshua Goetz, his wife Sandra and their family arrived to serve as the new Lead Pastor.
Building Contagious Followers of Christ by Growing in Faith, Living in Community and Engaging in Missions.
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2:42
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