Gladwin Heights History Highlights:
April 1979 - Fraser Presbytery Report indicated a possible need for a new church in the Abbotsford-Matsqui area so Trinity Memorial United Church established a Church Expansion Committee.
November 1980 - Trinity Memorial congregation approved a motion requesting BC Conference Development Committee to purchase property on Gladwin Road. The congregation pledged $20,000 per annum for five years to support the project. A New Church Development Committee was formed to develop plans for a building site and bringing into being a new congregation in the western part of Abbotsford-Matsqui.
The first service of the new congregation was held September 13, 1981 at W. J. Mouat Senior Secondary School with approximately 30 people in attendance. The Reverends Bob Gorrie and Bob Stobie of Trinity Memorial, assisted by Rev. Barry Moore and student interns Donna Jacques, Maureen Ashfield, and Wendy Bily provided the ministry at this time.
In 1983, the Steering Committee adopted a Church Council Format with sub-committees for Worship, Christian Education, Finance, Building and Maintenance, New Church Development, plus UCW and Presbytery Reps. Dave McLaren was named Chairperson.
February 27, 1983 - the building project began with Sarah Griffiths & Jim Degeer turning the sod. The first service of worship in the new building was held September 12, 1983. The sanctuary was full. At this time the ministry was still provided by Trinity Memorial. Others that assisted us during the formative years were: Barry Moore, Wes Bray, Jim Ford, Frank Golightly, George Fuller, Del Johnstone, Theo Roberts, and Hartwell Illsey.
In the spring of 1985, Gladwin decided to ask Fraser Presbytery if it might become a separate congregation (pastoral charge) from Trinity Memorial. At this time, Reverend Scott Agur was appointed Interim Minister. A year later, Reverend Agur was called to be our permanent minister. During the fall of 1986, Henri Locke was appointed part-time interim minister for a 4 month period. Scott was with us until June 1989, when he was called to a church in Sarnia, Ontario.
In June 1989, the Pastoral Relations Committee recommended that we call Reverend Art Lucy. Art accepted the call and thus became part of the next chapter of Gladwin’s history. Reverend Sarah Wallace was part-time Interim Minister from November 1990 to January 1991 while Art was recovering from heart surgery. In the spring of 1992 Art retired, and the congregation called Reverend Norm Thomas.
In June 1996 after 4 years of active ministry, Norm Thomas retired. September 1995 brought a new phase to the Gladwin community. Due to overcrowding in our present building, the congregation decided to rent the facilities of the 7th Day Adventist Church for Sunday Worship. Another faith community rented our facilities.
In June 1996 the congregation called Gabrielle Suedfeld to be our minister. In the fall of 2001, Gabrielle Suedfeld accepted a call to the United Church’s Inland Marine Mission, in Terrace, B.C. In June 1998, we moved back to the Gladwin site.
The 1999 renovations provided an enclosed office space. The glass-in nursery area with sound system was added in 2000 at the back of the sanctuary.
Reverend Joanne Black served the congregation in a part-time capacity from January to June 2002. We were grateful for Joanne’s help during this period.
In the spring of 2002 we decided to ask the United Church to “settle” a newly ordained minister with our congregation. We were delighted to share our ministry with the Reverend Dr. Dorothy Jeffery, who joined us in July, 2002. We appreciated the many gifts and skills she brought to the position. Reverend Jeffery left us December 2, 2011 to explore the intersection of faith and the environment in a wider geographical and interfaith context, as well as taking time for spiritual renewal.
In 2006 Gladwin Heights celebrated its 25th anniversary as a congregation. In December 2007 Betty Anne Dempsey joined the staff as a part-time team member to share in the life and work of our church community. We were pleased to have Betty Anne with us through the spring of 2009. Betty Anne was commissioned as a diaconal minister in 2009, and began serving the United Church in a team ministry in Victoria.
In July 2011 Gladwin Heights Music Director June Dolman passed away. Her love of music and her ability to give this gift to others was much appreciated as she played the piano and directed the choir for years of worship services and special events.
December 2011 – March 2012 found us without a minister. Various members of the congregation carried on – leading us in worship and carrying out pastoral care duties. March to July 2012 brought us Tracy Fairfield as part-time supply minister. Although her time with us was very short, her presence was much appreciated. February 2012 The congregation voted at the annual meeting to call an “intentional interim minister”. We were happy to have Reverend Wendy Read with us for a two year period, ending in June 2014. Together with the “Transition Team”, Wendy led us through a process to help us decide who we are as a congregation and who we wish to be in the future.
The final decision was to remain as a congregation with Rev. Tim Bowman as our half-time minister. Tim also continued with St. Andrew’s, Mission in a half-time position.
September 2014 – Tim began his ministry with Gladwin. The congregation is delighted to have his presence with us.
Fall 2015 – We celebrate our partnership with St. Andrew’s, Mission, officially as a two-point charge. Rev. Tim Bowman continues as minister to both churches, much to our mutual joy and appreciation.