Eighty percent of the Noresco Building in Vancouver, British Columbia, houses our office, warehouse and church hall — a total of 28,700 square feet. Forty employees carry on God's Work for all of Canada from this base of operations.
In this issue we continue our series of articles on the Work of God around the world with a report from the manager of our office in Vancouver, British Columbia.
IT IS surprising to Canadians how little most people in the world really know about their vast country. This lack of information was emphasized by President Richard Nixon's now famous faux pas referring to Japan as the United States' biggest trading partner, when in actuality Canada's trade with the United States is far greater. This basic lack of general information carries over into God's Church. We in the Canadian part of God's Work have found that most of the brethren in other areas are not very well informed about Canada and the Canadian Work. How much do you know about God's Work in Canada?
People and Climate
Canada is the second largest nation in the world in land mass. However, its scattered population from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island is just over 21 million. The majority reside in a band about 200 to 300 miles wide, just north of the Canadian-U.S. border. Canada is a melting pot — people from almost every nation, race, ethnic group and background are to be found within its borders. Legally, Canada is bilingual — speaking English and French, with the majority of those speaking French in the province of Quebec. However, numerous other languages are spoken in parts of Canada — German, Ukrainian and various American Indian dialects, to name just a few. Some ask us, "How do you stand that terrible cold weather all of the time?" Amusingly, tourists occasionally drive across the U. S. border into Manitoba or Saskatchewan in the summer with skis on their cars expecting to find snow. Many who live in the Western United States think Canada is all mountains and snow. It may surprise some of our readers to realize it is possible to golf and ski 12 months out of the year in Southwestern British Columbia. In every area, the spring, summer and fall seasons are beautiful, and even the winters have their beauty in spite of the fact that they are long and cold in most areas, except the Southwest.
Growth of the Canadian Work
Surprisingly, the Work began to reach Canada back in the thirties when a few Canadians began to pick up the broadcast from our one radio station in Eugene, Oregon. Later, it was heard north of the border from stations in the Portland, Seattle-Tacoma and other areas. By the end of 1960 we also had three Canadian radio stations carrying The WORLD TOMORROW broadcast — in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Quebec, the latter in the French language — and a mailing list of about 5,000 reading The PLAIN TRUTH regularly, all handled of course from Pasadena. It was decided in February 1961 to open an office in Canada to serve the Canadian people. Mr. Garner Ted Armstrong journeyed north to Vancouver, British Columbia, and located suitable office space in the beautiful new United Kingdom Building in the heart of Vancouver. Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Prather were sent to Vancouver to manage the small, conservative two-room office that had been leased. In the summer of that same year, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Pinelli were added to the office staff to assist in the growing work. In March 1962, Mr. Ted Armstrong wrote to Mr. Prather: "Have you thought at all about obtaining additional office space — about the future need of it — or analyzed the rate of growth so as to have any idea whatsoever about the time when we MIGHT need additional floor space in that building? I know that the present volume would certainly look as if such expansion would perhaps never be needed — but bear in mind that we still have virtually no radio outlets in that area!" Since that letter was written, office and warehouse space requirements have increased from two small rooms to three fourths of a newer building in a Vancouver suburb, with a total floor space of around 28,000 square feet! The staff is now composed of 40 people. The mailing list of The PLAIN TRUTH has jumped from just 5,000 to well over 200,000, including both English and French editions. The broadcast is now heard on over forty radio stations which cover most of Canada. The telecast is a tremendous boon to the Work in Canada, and is aired on over twenty television stations. Actually, there has been only one area in which we have had difficulty getting sufficient coverage — French language radio broadcasting. And one third of all Canadians speak French. At present we are advertising in the Reader's Digest every month in both the English and French languages. Clearly, the Canadian Work has expanded rapidly due to tremendous coverage in all media.
As the Work in Canada grew, God began calling out of this world a small number of Canadian people. At first, the summer baptizing tours sent out from Ambassador College provided the only face-to-face contact these people had with others in God's Church. Then in February 1961, Mr. James Friddle started a small Bible study in Vancouver, British Columbia; by June 1962 around 40 were in attendance at the Bible study. Yours truly was sent to Vancouver in June of 1962 to manage the growing office and to pastor the first Church of God in Canada. Mr. Roderick C. Meredith, visiting the Pacific Northwest at the time, officially opened the first meeting of the Church in Vancouver on June 18, 1962 with 39 in attendance. Since then God has continued to call more and more Canadians into His Church. At present we have 27 churches and 10 outlying Bible studies stretching the full breadth of Canada. Nine new Canadian Churches were inaugurated in 1972, and with more ministerial assistants we anticipate starting additional new churches this year. Now over 6,400 attend church services and Bible studies regularly. At present there are 35 ministers and 23 ministerial assistants working in the Canadian Churches. Canada is divided into three church districts. Mr. Gary Antion, pastoring the two Toronto Churches, is the district superintendent over the Eastern region of Canada. Mr. Glen White, pastoring the two Winnipeg Churches, is the district superintendent over the Central district covering Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Mr. Richard Pinelli, pastoring the two Edmonton Churches, is the district superintendent of the Western district covering Alberta and British Columbia, excluding the Vancouver and Victoria Churches which are pastored and supervised by the Vancouver office. As a result of superlative past and present growth, Matthew 9:36-38 takes on a most significant meaning to us in the Canadian Work. For God's people in Canada truly are scattered abroad, many of them as sheep without a shepherd. The harvest is truly plenteous — and running over. The need for shepherds is greater than it has ever been! God is blessing the Canadian Work with unprecedented growth. And the responsibility is on all of us, as His people, to "Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into His harvest."