“They would have been very surprised,” said Olga Wiens, when asked what the founders of North Kildonan Mennonite Brethren Church, Winnipeg would have thought about the church today.
Her parents, the Jakob Langemanns, were one of the five founding families of North Kildonan MB in 1928. In an interview played during its 75th anniversary celebration Oct. 18, Mrs. Wiens recounted how Mennonite refugees from Russia had settled on reserved land on Edison Avenue. Initially, they attended the North End Church (later Elmwood MB), then gathered in their homes. There were 30 members when the decision was made to build a church in 1928. It was a very simple building; people were poor. Gerhard Klassen was the first pastor.
The church grew. In 1932 the building was extended for the first time; other expansions followed in 1934, 1937 and 1941. In 1957 a new building was constructed on Kingsford Ave. That building too saw several additions. It was destroyed in a fire in 1998.
In 2001, after several years of worshipping in Jubilee Place of the Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute, the North Kildonan congregation moved into their new facilities on Springfield and Gateway.
The anniversary celebrations began on Saturday night with a fellowship meal and 75 testimonials.
Sunday morning, Herb and Doris Kopp brought greetings from the Manitoba Conference and 35 sister congregations. In his reflection on Psalm 105, senior pastor George Klassen admonished the congregation to boast about what God has done in the past. He reminded his listeners of transitions God had taken them through, like the Sunday school outreach out of which the River East MB Church grew. Then, 26 years ago, bursting at the seams with more than 700 members, the desire to plant another church was born and 250 members established McIvor Ave. MB Church.
One of NKMB’s lay preachers, Werner Zernke, spoke in the second (German) worship service. He summarized the history of NKMB, emphasizing the great desire of the early founders for fellowship, and the good example they set for their children and grandchildren. “The greatest wealth they transferred to their children was their faith,” he said. “What happens with us will depend on our faith, our obedience to God and His word, and the strength of the church.”
English and German choirs, the church worship team and the group “Magnified” enhanced the anniversary celebration.
| © 2008 Mennonite Brethren Herald
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