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History

Pacific Grace MB Church (基督教頌恩堂) began as Pacific Grace Mission Chapel at 1587 Frances Street in Vancouver, with its first fellowship on 11 December 1963. By 1964, a congregation was formed, worshiping in English and German, with a few ethnic Chinese participating. It was determined to reach all nearby residents, including the Chinese in Chinatown.

By the late 1960′s, the majority of Sunday school children were Chinese, reflecting the changing composition of the neighborhood. In 1972, an outreach to the growing Chinese population in the area began, and by autumn, there were 22 Chinese attendees. In 1974, a Chinese department formed and held meetings in Cantonese. Early 1977, with the Chinese department rapidly growing to 80% of the church, the English department proposed dissolving the English congregation and the church become a Chinese congregation. So in April 1977, the church renamed itself Pacific Grace Chinese Church 基督教頌恩堂 to focus solely on serving ethnic Chinese.

In 1980, the community was predominated by Chinese, so the church assumed responsibility for evangelizing its own neighborhood. During this time, many refugees came to Canada from Indo-China, particularly Vietnam. The church assisted them in their new lives, and some of them found their way into this emerging church. It registered with BCMB as Pacific Grace Chinese Church in 1981, with 20–30 members.

An influx of overseas students and immigrants from Hong Kong started in the late 1980′s due to worries over the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre and the imminent takeover of Hong Kong by China in 1997. The church seized the opportunity to evangelize, and membership jumped from 105 in 1983, to 155 in 1987, to 240 in 1989, to 358 in 1995.

As membership grew, the Lord did not provide a bigger meeting place, but instead gave the leaders a vision for developing new congregations. The church worked hard at outreach, and sent associate pastor Miller Jian Zhuang (莊健牧師) to Venezuela to start 2 Chinese churches in 1991, 主恩堂 in Caracas and 十架堂 in Puerto la Cruz. During the 1990′s, the church planted 3 congregations in the Vancouver area: Burnaby Pacific Grace Chinese Church in 1990, South Vancouver Pacific Grace Chinese Church in 1995, and North Shore Pacific Grace MB Church in 1997. In 1998, Pacific Grace Chinese Church changed its name to Pacific Grace MB Church. [The church is still sometimes referred to as “North Site”, as SVPGMBC was run under a “one-church, two-sites” model and called “Pacific Grace Chinese Church (South Site)” before its independence in 1998.]

Sunday morning on Frances Street, April 2004

After 1997, the number of new immigrants from Hong Kong waned, with many moving back to Hong Kong. The church turned its focus onto the Mandarin-speaking immigrants from mainland China coming in rising figures. In 1999, simultaneous translation into Mandarin was offered in worship services.

In 2007, the English language congregation joined with Vancouver MB Church to plant South Hill Church, an English-speaking, multi-ethnic church.

Having outgrown the Frances Street building, the church had been, for 3 years, investigating possible locations for bigger, long-term development. Through the years, the Grandview–Woodland community there had changed to more low-income households and with only 14.4% whose mother-tongue was Chinese. Being ethnic Chinese, the church had difficulty being accepted as a community church. In 2009, the church purchased the once Renfrew United Church on East 1st Avenue. This new location, in the Hastings–Sunrise community, and across from a large Chinese supermarket, fit the church’s growth of its Cantonese, Mandarin, family, and children ministries. The first Sunday service here was held on 11 October 2009. To better serve its former neighbors, the church opted to sell its previous sanctuary to New Beginnings Baptist Church. (NBBC was an English-speaking church of sound doctrine, passionate in serving First Nations, and have had ministry in the Vancouver area for 20 years.)

Pastoral Leaders:

  1. Rev. Henry G. Classen in 1950–1976, sent by BCMB in 1950 to begin street meetings in Vancouver
  2. Rev. Paul Him-Wor Li (李謙和牧師) in 1973–1975
  3. Rev. Eddie Yu-Man Chu (朱裕文牧師) in 1975–1977
  4. Rev. Enoch Cheung-Ho Wong (黃暢豪牧師) in 1980–1987
  5. Rev. Dr. David Iu Pang Chan (陳耀鵬牧師) in 1987–2007, was called by God to teach at Alliance Bible Seminary (建道神學院) in 2007
  6. Rev. Xavier Law (羅志明牧師) joined the pastoral staff in 2003, was appointed Interim Senior Pastor in 2007, and has been senior pastor since 1 January 2011.