During the post-WW II period many Protestant families immigrated to Canada from the Netherlands. Once it was determined that there were no doctrinally similar churches to join, Canadian Reformed churches began to be established across the country. A church was instituted in Houston, BC, in 1951. In 1952 there were two families and two single persons in the Smithers-Telkwa area that came together on Sundays. The “mother” church at Houston encouraged and assisted them during this period. As more families arrived from Ontario and the Netherlands, the homes became too small to gather in and the house congregation rented a church building to worship in. As more people continued to arrive the decision was made to institute. This took place on April 15, 1956 when the Canadian Reformed Church of Smithers officially began.
By December 23rd of that year the members had built their own place of worship on 4th Avenue (across from the Sunshine Inn). A few years later an addition was needed and by 1965, with God’s blessing, the church membership had reached 200. June, 1966 saw the purchase of twelve lots up on 15th Avenue, and a new church building was planned, with an estimated cost of around $50,000.00. September 27th, 1968 was the official opening of this new church building. Within a year the parents had also built and opened Ebenezer Canadian Reformed School and they, along with some United Reformed Church families, have continued to support it since then. It had had seven additions over the years and currently has around 250 students in grades K-12.
After 30 years of steady growth the church building on 15th Ave. was becoming too small, and the issue of accessibility for disabled members had to be addressed, so various plans were made to renovate or improve it. After it was concluded that none would be satisfactory, efforts were made to locate a new place to worship. In 2006 the Alliance Church building just east of town was purchased, and extensive renovations were immediately undertaken to meet the needs of the congregation. We are currently worshipping at this location, have experienced steady growth, and the congregation now numbers around 500 members. The two Sunday worship services are well attended, and although the building is becoming quite full there is always room for more!
Over the past 60+ years this church of Smithers has been blessed with many pastors, elders, deacons, and teachers. The congregation listened to and studied God’s Word together, sang songs of praise and celebrated the Lord’s Supper. Children and adults were baptized, adults publicly professed their faith, marriages were solemnized, and funerals were performed. Mission work among the local aboriginal people as well as abroad, and organizations helping the disabled and the elderly were supported then as they are now.
With the guidance of our LORD we will continue in the way of Jesus Christ and hold fast to God’s Word. We pray that in the coming years we will put our trust in God alone. Whatever the future may bring, we will be safe in His Fatherly hand.
(More detailed information on the history of our local congregation can be found in the 25th and 50th Anniversary publications, available at the Church library or upon request.)