Whistler Church, 1970’s
In 1976 a Christian couple, Gary and Elaine McLeod, moved to Whistler with a vision of building a Christian Retreat (Twin Pines Chalet) as they believed that some day many people would come here to ski. Their vision was inspired after Francis and Edith Schaeffer’s ‘L’Abri’ in Switzerland. In 1977 Elaine started a bible club for the children at Myrtle Philip Elementary School. They met another couple in 1978 and started meeting in their homes for prayer and Bible study.
Our first pastor, Ray Wiens
Before Easter Sunday, 1979, an add was put in the Whistler Question (local newspaper) to meet for a service at the Whistler Skiers Chapel with a pancake breakfast afterwards. Approximately 75 people attended. After this service, regular Sunday Worship services started at the Chapel. The Chapel was built in 1967 by interested skiers from various denominational backgrounds who wanted a spiritual presence in Whistler. Also in 1979, Ray and Kathryn Wiens arrived in Whistler. Ray landed a job with the Forest Service, and served the local ministry in various capacities. He would later serve as the church’s pastor until 1986.
The church started to grow and did many outreach services like Easter Sunrise Services with hot chocolate and hot cross buns, Christmas Services with the Whistler Singers, Valentine’s banquet, Youth Chorale from Squamish, potluck dinners, outdoor adventures, Bible studies for adults and teenagers, and every Summer, a Vocation Bible School for one week. Many people were baptized. In 1982, after working various jobs while preaching Sundays and leading weekly Bible studies, Ray was given a full-time pastor’s salary with the help of the M.B. Board of Church Extension.
Whistler Church grew steadily and in 1993, the church moved from the Chapel to Myrtle Philip Elementary school, where we still meet today. After an Easter service in 2000, the Chapel was dismantled for reconstruction in the Creekside area.
A Plot of Land is Given
In 1999 a plot of land was donated by one of the church’s families, located on 7226 North Fitzsimmons Road in White Gold Estates. The land’s rezoning process was started. As an amenity, the Resort Municipality of Whistler required that a bus shelter be built, the valley trail be extended, and some landscaping be completed. It took many meetings and studies (traffic, etc.) before the final approval came through on January 15, 2003. The bus shelter was built in 2004 after we received the design and location requirements.
In 2016 a church building team was formed, and began working with Air Studio Architects on a design to meet the needs of Whistler Community Church for the coming decades. Ario Construction was selected as the general contractor. In early 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 shutdown, our permits were finally approved.
We’re Building a Church!
On May 1, 2020 a groundbreaking ceremony was held on the property, commencing the beginning of construction and the end of two decades of waiting. Ownership of the land gave the church a significant head start, however $3.8 million would be needed to pay for the construction of the building on the site.
See the construction groundbreaking video here: https://youtu.be/sJlJXMQOv8s
Construction Progress October 2020
As of October 31st, the building progress is going well. The flat roof and its waterproofing is nearly completed. The first layer waterproofing on the roof of the sanctuary has been completed, too, so we have a waterproof building. We thank our members of the church who are using their skills toward the build.
Completion: September 2021
The church building was completed in September 2021. We are so grateful for God’s amazing faithfulness throughout this whole project that ended on time despite the challenges of a pandemic. We have been blessed to use the space for multiple ministries and welcome outside organizations.