In late spring 1954, the Victoria Chinese Pentecostal Mission began under the leadership of Pastor Howard W.P. Ha. Since he was still a Bible college student at the British Columbia Bible Institute in North Vancouver at that time, the church was under the sponsorship of Rev. C.B. Smith and the Glad Tidings Tabernacle.
It had started as a small group of four ladies meeting for a Bible study class in the livingroom of Mrs. Chew Lok Man’s house. These four ladies were Mrs. Chan Dunn, Mrs. Chow Young, Mrs. Joe Lowe, and Mrs. Chew. From the home Bible study class, the “church” moved into a rental building owned by Mr. T. MacPherson, at 610 Cormorant Street, on the corner of Cormorant and Government Street. The MacPherson Theatre now occupies this site.
Services started on a weekly basis only on weekends, because Pastor Ha was still attending college on the mainland during the week. After he graduated in 1956, he moved into a full time role, and many more regular services and meetings were added. It was under God’s grace and blessings that the church grew rapidly. Sunday School classes were organized under the leadership of Bro. Austin Jacobs, the Women’s Auxilliary was looked after by Mrs. Joe Lowe, and the church’s own Cub Pack was lead by Mrs. Alan Chan. A group of faithful teachers, including Miss Maude Knappett, Miss Betty Cowper-Smith, Mrs. Leah Chan, and Bro. Jacobs, taught a mid-week English class for new immigrants.
The growing congregation unfortunately was asked to move, because the owner of the building had donated it to the City of Victoria, to make way for Centennial Square and the theatre. After much prayer, the congregation raised almost 75% of the funds required to purchase a vacant lot and again Glad Tidings Tabernacle came to the church’s aid, and donated the remaining funds required. The lot was on the corner of Princess Avenue and Blanshard Street (now Dowler). Mr. Alex Yeates of Yeates Construction Company and a member of Glad Tidings, came to help build the new church. It was dedicated to God on November 29, 1962.
Once into the newer and bigger building, the church started a morning kindergarten class under the leadership of Mrs. F. O. Routley. Her husband, Rev. R.O. Routley, was the Associate Pastor, acting on a volunteer basis. And again the congregation grew in leaps and bounds.
In 1967, Pastor Ha accepted a call to pastor in Honolulu, Hawaii. Rev. Luther Szeto ministered for a number of years and in 1972, Rev. Steve Wong arrived in Victoria to shepherd the church. Rev. Gordon Chan joined the pastoral staff in 1982 as the youth pastor and later assumed the role of Pastor, English Ministries. Under their leadership, the church again grew beyond the size of the building, and so another new church building was planned for the growth. On September 03, 1989, a new building was dedicated to the Lord, which occupies the original lot at the corner of Princess and Dowler and also the adjacent lot, purchased in the early 80’s. This is the current home of the congregation today.
Pastor Wong retired in 1995 and Pastor Gordon, followed the calling of God to a teaching career. As the church transitioned to a new pastoral staff, a number of ministers were instrumental in helping the church during this period of change; they included Pastor Ruth Wong, Pastor Keith Johnson, Pastor Eli Chiarelli, Pastor Rod Bergman, Pastor Tony Andrews, Pastor James Richmond, and many other brothers and sisters in our church community in Victoria. Finally, in June 1997, Rev. Laurence K.C. Wan arrived from Hong Kong to pastor the church as its Senior Pastor, followed by Rev. Todd Lanman in February 1998 as its Associate Pastor, responsible for the English Ministry. In August 2000, Pastor Lanman followed God’s calling and moved to Montana to minister. Once again, a period of transition occurred, and Pastor Eli Chiarelli came to shepherd the English Ministry, until December 2001, when Rev. Debbie Dergousoff arrived to assume the role of Associate Pastor.
September 2012 saw another change in our ministerial staff, with Pastor Debbie moving to Southern BC. Pastor James Richmond once again took up the call and became our interim pastor until June 2013. During this time, many itinerant speakers looked after the English ministry pulpit, as we continued to look for a full time pastor. In August of 2015, Pastor Steven Wee became the English Pastor.
The Victoria Chinese Pentecostal Church has been a committed member of the Victoria Community for 60 years. A Legacy Begun in 1954, the church now has services in three languages: Cantonese, Mandarin and English, and continues to grow and meet the needs of today.