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Terrace Gospel Hall

Janice Vantol and her sister Grace (Larson) at the McCulloughs’ house. Taken October 20, 1966, the Vantols’ first day in Terrace, BC.

Terrace Gospel Hall

Sunday School group photo taken outside the Uplands School, November 1966. Adults left to right are Dick Vantol, William McCullough, Lois McCullough and Nel Lieuwen.

Terrace Gospel Hall

Nel Lieuwen, Bill Funston, Janice Vantol, Dick Vantol at the Vantol’s first house. Photo taken in November 1966.

In the early 1960’s, Mr Thomas Hay, a Englishman who was a missionary to Japan, became interested in the Terrace area.  Two young Christians that he knew had moved to Terrace for work and he came up to visit them.  After returning south, he spoke in Powell River of the possibility of gospel work in Terrace, and a couple, William and Lois McCullough, heeded the call and went north with their family in 1965.  Along with Nel Lieuwen, one of the young Christians who Mr Hay knew, they were able to start a Sunday School in the Uplands School gym.  A little later, Mr Hay spoke in Richmond about the believers in Terrace who could use some help in the children’s work.  A young couple, Dick and Janice Vantol, heard and responded.  They came to help, arriving with their baby daughter in October 1966.

The Christians first met as an assembly in the McCulloughs’ home.  With the help of Mr Hay, a piece of property on the corner of Scott Avenue and Eby Street was purchased, and construction began in 1967.  Ed Billingham, an experienced Christian carpenter from the lower mainland oversaw the construction through that summer.  Finishing touches–railings, porch roof–were added over the next few years.  Another couple, Mel and Jacquie Reid, arrived from the lower mainland in early 1968.  In April of that year, the assembly met in their new hall for the first time.  In the following years, John and Evelyn Abernethy, Paul and Dorothy Hay, and Andrew and Akke Bergsma joined the assembly for varying lengths of time.  The assembly grew as some were saved from the community, as Christians in the area wanted to follow the New Testament pattern, and as other Christians moved into the area for work.

Over the years, many preachers have visited, some giving ministry/teaching, some preaching the gospel.  Mr. Hay, Ed Billingham, Alex Wilson, and Gerritt Bergsma were regular visitors in the early years.  Bill Funston and Stan Wells came to Terrace on business and helped in the assembly in the early days also.  Missionaries from various parts of the world have come to tell of the Lord’s work in their areas.  Two preachers, John Abernethy (who had been involved in gospel work in Ketchikan) and Andrew Bergsma (who had served the Lord in Holland), made this their home assembly for a number of years.  There have been a few series of tent meetings–Gauis Goff & Andrew Bergsma in the mid 1980’s; John Fitzpatrick & Jim Jarvis about 2010.  Special weeks of children’s meetings have been conducted by Dick Robertson, Dave Richards, Tom Hoy and Kevin Sawatsky, and Peter Smith.  

Terrace Gospel Hall

This old black and white photo is of the foundation of the hall laid back in 1967. Reminds us of 1 Corinthians 3:11!

Terrace Gospel Hall

Ed Billingham, Alex Wilson and Nancy Vantol standing on the Gospel Hall steps in 1969.

Terrace Gospel Hall

Sunday School children at picnic tables during the SS picnic at Uplands School.  From June 28, 1969.

The Sunday School was moved from Uplands School to the gospel hall.  Many children from Terrace and Thornhill attended over the years, with some former students returning to bring their own children.  Several drivers would go out to fill their vehicles with children from different areas of town, and bring them to the gospel hall for singing, memorizing Bible verses, and learning truths taught in the Bible.  As the Sunday School expanded, the basement was divided into rooms for the class space needed.  Annual events–the Christmas program, and the June picnic at Uplands or Parkside School–were always looked forward to with enthusiasm, and well attended.  Another children’s work that was carried on for a few years was the Cassie Hall Bible Hour, which included a craft class for older girls.  

April 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the first use of the gospel hall.  Some of the same people are there; many have moved on.  The surroundings have changed–houses now stand where there were fields and trees in 1968.  But the little building on the corner is still there.  And the message preached and the truths taught are the same–God’s word has not changed.  It’s still true that all have sinned (Romans 3:23).  It’s still true that God loved us so much that He gave His Son to die for us (John 3:16).  It’s still true that if we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, we will have our sins forgiven (Acts 13:38-39) and be saved (Acts 16:31).  And it’s still true that everyone who believes on Him will have everlasting life (John 6:47).  Gospel means “good news” and that’s the good news that’s still being told!

Terrace Gospel Hall

Assembly group photo taken in 1970.  Mr. Hay is the white-haired gentleman in the middle.  John & Evelyn Abernethy are in the back row 2nd and 3rd from right.

Terrace Gospel Hall

Enjoying an assembly luncheon together in the basement of the Gospel Hall.

Terrace Gospel Hall

Driving the tent pegs in for a gospel tent series with Jim Jarvis and John Fitzpatrick in 2010.

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