Gladwin Heights United and Gitsegukla & Mountainview United Churches

These community of faith features aim to empower people to get to know the communities of faith and ministries around the regional council! Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be adding a posts about individual communities of faith or ministries around the PMRC.  We hope that it will foster a spirit of being neighbours in Christ, near and far.

Hello, Gitsegukla & Mountainview United Churches!

Hazelton Pastoral Charge website

In our town, our church is known in the community for organizing or sharing in the planning of Shrove Tuesday Pancake supper, Good Friday Band concert, Easter Sunrise service, Summer Outdoor service, Remembrance Day service, and Advent Musical Evening (all pre-pandemic). We also reach out to help support the Food Bank and Christmas Hamper program. Each year we give bursaries to graduating high school students. Our Mission statement is Micah 6:8 “What does the Lord require of you but to act justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”

Another community of faith we connect with is Gitsegukla United, part of the same pastoral charge. For the past 2 years we have worshipped together on Zoom, which has brought us closer together. A ministry we connect with is Camp Spirit – for most of the past 10 years, we have had the team come and offer sessions to both Mountainview and Gitsegukla. Since the fall of 2020, our minister is Reverend Bruce Neal Kakakaway, an Indigenous minister from Saskatchewan.

Some things that we cherish about ourselves are: Music, it’s an important part of our worship, including piano or organ, plus a small instrumental group. We usually have Advent and Lenten study groups, using materials from the United Church. Open and accepting of all. Over the past many years we have welcomed 3 refugee families from Vietnam, El Salvador and Syria. Individually, we are on the boards of the literacy group, the library, the society for promoting affordable housing, the Wrinch Foundation. Some challenges our community of faith faces and we welcome prayers of support for are few children and youth, and aging members, even though still very active.

The hymns or songs that our community of faith tends to return to again and again are To Show by Touch and Word, May the God of Hope, Open My Eyes, Make Me a Channel of Your Peace, Deep in Our Hearts, Go Make a Difference, It’s a Song of Praise to the Maker, O a Song Must Rise. We use the Mountainview United mission statement as the commissioning each week and the Gitsegukla United mission statement (1st Corinthians 13) as we light the candle. Two of the natural features we see in God’s creation as we look out the windows are Stekyowden and Roche de Boule Mountain.

More about us that you might not know is that the Methodist Church of Canada began its mission in the Upper Skeena with the arrival of Dr. Horace Wrinch and his wife Alice in 1904. Besides the medical work, a church was built in Hazelton. Later the Presbyterian church was built in New Hazelton. The two churches joined to become a Union Church and they became part of the United Church of Canada in 1925. Some years later in 1957 Miller Memorial Chapel was built on the grounds of the Wrinch Memorial Hospital, which was run by the United Church.

The Hazelton Pastoral Charge was made up of 4 congregations: New Hazelton United Church, Miller Memorial Chapel, Gitsegula United Church and Pierce Memorial United Church in Kispiox. In 1977 Miller Memorial and New Hazelton amalgamated as one congregation, named Mountainview United Church. Because of aging buildings and a larger congregation, Mountainview constructed a larger building with a walk-out basement on land subdivided from the hospital, opened in 1994.

– Philip Muir, Peggy Muir, Lynn Newbery

Hello, Gladwin Heights United Church!

In Abbotsford our church is known for its outreach ministries. In collaboration with the Baha’i community we prepare bag lunches for the Warm Zone homeless women’s shelter, and sandwiches for homeless folks delivered by 5 and 2 Ministries. We also knit socks and hats for Archway Community Services and 5 and 2. Additionally, we support Peardonville House which is a drug and alcohol recovery centre for women with children.

Our motto is “Grounded in Faith; Together in Love; Justice for All”. Our Vision Statement is, “Gladwin Heights United Church, an inclusive and caring community, is called to be a ministry that celebrates God’s goodness and love. Our congregation works for justice and encourages the full participation of all people in every aspect of in the life and work of our church. Gladwin Heights United Church is inclusive of class, race, sex, age, ability, sexual orientation and gender identity.”

In 2015 we entered into a new relationship with Saint Andrew’s United Church as a two-point charge straddling the Fraser River. Since the dissolution of Presbyteries in 2018, we have also intentionally deepened our relationships with the other congregations in our Mid-Fraser Cluster, exploring a collective identity and sharing support and resources – including especially collaboration on joint worship services during the pandemic, livestreamed from Trinity Memorial.

We cherish our calling as a theologically and socially progressive church in an area generally known for its conservative religion, including our Affirming status and recent Diversity Award. We also value our self-identity as a family that cares for each other, describing ourselves as “The Little Church That Cares.”

Like many congregations, our challenges are an aging building, a tight budget, and small numbers.

Our favourite hymns are “I am the Light of the World”; “I, the Lord of Sea and Sky”; and “Draw the Circle Wide.”

We are blessed to have a park right beside our building; informal meetings, worship services and even Camp Spirit meets beneath the large, beautiful, solitary tree. –  Rev. Tim Bowman

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