In the fall of 1989, a group of Cantonese-speaking Christians came to worship at Richmond Bethel Mennonite Brethren Church. The brothers and sisters at Bethel Church were very welcoming, and this group of newcomers quickly became one of their own. As this small group of Chinese Christians grew, the elders at Bethel Church decided to build a new sanctuary and office, providing financial support to grow the Chinese ministry and reach out to the local community in Richmond.
The Chinese ministry formed a new working group, and recruited Reverend Stephen Chan from Toronto to lead the group. With the full support of Bethel Church (including a generous commitment to fund the first six months of operations), the group soon established RCMBC as an independent church.
In June of 1989, Reverend Chan arrived in Vancouver, and RCMBC held its first worship service on July 15, 1989. In 1991, RCMBC officially became a member of the British Columbia Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. RCMBC started to grow very quickly, eventually becoming financially independent and appointing Pastor Phebe Chan as XYZ in 1993.
In January 1995, Reverend Chan suffered a heart attack – doctors saw little hope of recovery. However, by God’s grace and through many prayers, Pastor Chan survived and was able to be discharged from the hospital. In November, Pastor Chan formally resigned to rest and fully recover. In December, the Deacon’s Board appointed Pastor Peter Mau as the new Senior Pastor of RCMBC, a role in which he served faithfully for the next 16 years before retiring in early 2012.
Under Pastor Mau’s leadership, RCMBC continued to grow and serve the surrounding community. For example, in 1996, RCMBC, Bethel Church, and Richmond Christian School (RCS) made a joint commitment to expand the facilities, enabling more effective education for RCS students and to accommodate the growing membership of RCMBC and Bethel Church. A new sanctuary, where RCMBC members continue to gather weekly for Sunday worship, was built in March 1997.
RCMBC conducted its first English Ministry Sunday worship service in 1999, initially as a means to engage the predominantly English-speaking children of the members. As the church continued to grow, the English worship service soon became a gathering of believers of all ages; in 2001, the English worship service became a weekly occurrence in the RCMBC sanctuary.
RCMBC has always been dedicated to the Mandarin-speaking community, and has always provided Mandarin translations during the Cantonese worship services. In 2007, RCMBC appointed its first Mandarin Ministry pastor – XYZ, as an effort to reach out to Mandarin-speaking non-believers.
Today, RCMBC continues to worship, fellowship, and serve in three languages – Cantonese, Mandarin, and English.