The Christian Reformed Church of Telkwa and Smithers was established on November 15, 1951. It was a unique situation of 2 small congregations in one organization. Members were newly arrived immigrants from the Netherlands, part of a larger European immigration wave – people were anxious to start a new life in a post World War II world. The first pastor of the dual church was Rev. Gerard VanLaar.
Both congregations grew rapidly and, in 1952, it was decided that each group should be a congregation on its own. That was done on November 22, 1952. The Smithers congregation consisted of 25 families with a total membership of 203 persons. It shared the use of the United Church of Canada building on the corner of Broadway and Queen Street and bought that building when the United Church moved into its new church near the B.V.D. Hospital. Though now two separate congregations, Telkwa and Smithers were still served by only one pastor. That arrangement ended in 1964 when it was clear that the pastor’s workload serving two congregations was too heavy. The Telkwa congregation then called a pastor of its own.
The Smithers congregation quickly outgrew its building on Broadway and, in 1958, constructed a new church at 1471 Columbia Drive. The congregation held its first service there on October 15, 1958. By that time the rate of growth of the congregation had slowed as the number of immigrants coming into Canada from Europe had dropped considerably. The church building was expanded in the spring of 1976, and it served the congregation until 2015. It was sold to the Bulkley Valley Child Development Centre. A year later the congregation moved into its new facility, the former site of the Bulkley Valley Christian School, at 4035 Walnut Drive. The first service was held in the new church building on Sunday, September 20, 2015.
Regrettably, in 1992 our congregation split and as a result, those who left the Christian Reformed Church formed a new congregation called the Bethel Reformed Church.
The present church membership is around 100 families with a total membership of over 400 persons. It is no longer a “Dutch” church and serves a wide variety of ethnic groups, many coming from various parts of the world.
Over the years, the church was served by the following pastors: Gerard Van Laar, 1953-1957; Louis Tamminga, 1957-1960; Peter De Jong, 1962-1966; Peter Vosteen, 1966-1970; Joe Tuininga, 1970-1977; Stuart Pastine, 1978-1982; Harry Bierman, 1983-1988; Barry Beukema, 1988-1992; Jack Hielema, 1990-1994; Jim Poelman, 1993-2003; Dan Hoogland, 2004-2012; Ken Vander Horst, 2013-2021 and Brian Schouten, 2023-current.
The Lord has blessed the Smithers CRC through the years, during good times as well as challenging seasons. We have so much to be thankful for!