The story of the Winkler Bergthaler Mennonite Church has its beginning in the village of Hoffnungsfeld (just west of Winkler). The founders of our church were men and women who met for Bible study and prayer, appreciated freedom in worship, and placed a high value on missions and Christian Education. Then, as now, godly leaders gave spiritual direction and nurture to the group, always calling us to remain faithful to Jesus in our journey of faith.
A new sanctuary was built in Winkler in 1895, an event marking the birth of our church as a separate entity. Not only was the Bergthaler church the first church building in Winkler, it was the first Mennonite church in a town in all of western Canada.
The intervening years have seen many changes and times of rich spiritual renewal. The church has a rich heritage in gospel music, and in time choirs were organized, a piano and organ were purchased, and an associate pastor in charge of the music program was added to the pastoral staff.
Initially all services were conducted in the German language, but since the early 1970’s, services have also been offered in the English language. Christian Education programs have been expanded, vibrant Youth Programs have been added, a large number of women and men have been commissioned to serve in mission assignments – at home and abroad, and a system of bishops and lay ministers has been replaced with a team of salaried pastors and lay leaders.
Our buildings and facilities have also been changed. A new sanctuary, complete with a full basement, was dedicated in 1947. In 1970, this building was converted to a three story education wing and a new place of worship, with a seating capacity of 1,000, was constructed. Since that time we have added an office wing, a spacious new Dining Hall, an Education Complex and made other renovations and improvements.
Our church has experienced God’s faithfulness and blessing throughout these many years. There have been times of struggle and pain. However, despite our failings, God has remained true to His word and promise to “… build (his) church.” (Matthew 16:18)
We face the future with confidence and excitement. As we seek God’s will and direction, and as we worship and serve Him in sincerity and truth, He will continue and complete the good work which He has begun (Philippians 1:6). We give all glory and praise to our wonderful God.