The following information constitutes something of our history – the rises and the falls of a church called “Cap.” The early history is somewhat blurred as we pass 30+ years as an interdenominational church with relationships around the world and with friendships in every Christian denomination.
As we did in the beginning, we continue as a pilgrimaging church following Jesus Christ “all the way to heaven.” Our commitment is to “call, celebrate and change” – this is how we understand what we are doing and measure how we are being effective.
Much of this material was provided by Bert Voth, a long time elder and friend of Capilano Christian Community.
1974-1977: The Founding Church
- 1974 marks the birth of Capilano Christian Community – Cap began with Bob Roxburgh (from Killarney Park Mennonite Brethren) as pastor with 4 elders and 23 members. Ray Stedman’s teaching on “Body Life” served as a model for church life.
- Distinctives of our early church: informality in our services, relational intimacy between people and with God, honest sharing and authentic response to needs.
- The first public worship service was held on March 17, 1974 at Capilano College in North Vancouver. And within a few weeks, the attendance grew to about 100 people, many from Young Life.
- Ken Blue was called as pastor to Cap after Bob Roxburgh left. His passion for Christ and the Kingdom and his challenging, dynamic speaking contributed to the church’s early growth. Ken eventually moved to San Diego CA where he led Foothills Church and served internationally as a speaker and church equipper. Several of Ken’s books remain favourites to many in our church.
- Jeff Kirby was appointed youth pastor in 1979 and led Cap for about 10 years. Jeff went on to found Kansas City Vineyard and now serves as an Alpha coordinator for the Midwest of the US. Both Ken and Jeff were graduates of Regent College on the UBC campus and leaders in the Vineyard movement (along with Paddy Ducklow who was to become our pastor in 1993).
- These early days were exciting and timorous. The Jesus Movement had come to a conclusion and many churches were into a radical kind of discipleship called “shepherding.” It was also unusual in these days for evangelical nondenominational churches to be “planting” churches. We wondered if we could possibly survive while other denominational churches were so large. However, we became a kind of boutique church with a focused market niche: those who don’t fit anywhere else. We discovered that there were many that were looking for an authentic worship place where the leaders empowered the followers to lead!
1978-90: The Growing (and Maturity) Church
- Jeff Kirby was appointed pastor after Ken Blue went to Granville Chapel in Vancouver. Ron Reed was appointed Youth Pastor – dynamic drama inspired youth to radical discipleship that led to Pacific Theatre.
- Gordon Stewart was welcomed as co pastor with Jeff and also served effectively for about 10 years. (Since leaving Capilano, Gordon has served several churches as an intentional transitional pastor.) At this point Cap moved to Lonsdale Recreation Centre where the congregation grew to about 400+ participants.
- Cedarview was Cap’s first church plant. It began with 60 members and 3 Cap elders. At this time Cap changed locations to Boundary School. Cedarview had about a 10 year run; often complicated and sometimes quarrelsome.
- It was at this time that Jeff Kirby, David Parker and Gordon Stewart attended a Vineyard Signs and Wonders Conference in California that greatly affected the style of Sunday worship. Pastors and worship teams lead Sunday services healing prayer and prophetic ministry is encouraged.
- Dave Parker was a Cap intern who went on to pastor churches in the UK and with Kansas City Fellowship and Desert Vineyard in California. He continues to exercise significant leadership in the Vineyard church in the US and internationally.
- For several years after these significant leaders had left, the church floundered. Many important members of the church had left and the church was not growing as it had in the past. There was a feeling of abandonment by some and each week the Sunday services were courageous though smaller. The church was without a pastor for 4 years. However, the Holy Spirit was alive and many testify to the wondrous good news and His real presence! And the loyal “remnant” of 30-50 people did not give up.
1990-2000: Cap Reborn
- Cap moves to International Plaza (“The Dome”) hoping to follow the leading of the Spirit of God. Still without pastoral leadership and in cooperation with “Youth With a Mission” the church re-emerged in the round under an enormous leaking skylight.
- During this time (1993) Paddy Ducklow (psychologist and pastor) was welcomed as the senior pastor after a lengthy search. (Paddy was the team leading pastor of Burnaby Christian Fellowship, a large charismatic church and the founding director of the Counselling Group.) Having left 15 years of fruitful ministry at BCF, he and his family were working part time in San Diego CA (Foothills Church where Ken Blue, a previous pastor with CapChurch, was the senior pastor).
- Paddy also teaches as an occasional professor at Regent College and Carey Theological College (primarily in marriage and family ministry) while being the team leader at Capilano.
- Rob Des Cotes is called as a part-time associate pastor at Cap. Rob is a professional musician and artist. Rob worked as an associate pastor with CapChurch for several years before moving to Vancouver and starting Imago Dei (http://www.imagodeicommunity.ca/) in 2002.
- Mike Nichols is called to a co pastor position with Rob and Paddy in 1995. All three are Regent College graduates with Masters Degrees in various disciplines. This was to prove to be a very alive combination of leaders.
- Cap worked with the Harvest Project for many years and shared space with this mission to reach the disadvantaged. Following this, we moved our offices to the Common Good, a street mall next to a computer store and a fitness centre.
- Cap moved to St. Richards Anglican Church for a summer of evening services and then to the Lucas Centre (an adult learning centre in central North Vancouver) in 1996, our present place of worship.
- It was about this time that the leadership faced the reality that 85% of Canadian churches were stagnant or declining numerically, and of the churches that were growing, about 90% of their growth was either biological (church people having babies) or “transfer growth” – people leaving some churches to join others. This meant that less than 10% of the people coming into our churches were coming from among the “unchurched.”
- The leadership team decided to lead CapChurch through a process of incremental change to become more effective at reaching unchurched people. We wanted to become the kind of church we can invite our unchurched friends to.
- We also renamed ourselves – no longer Capilano Christian Community, we became known as CapChurch. Our “mantra” became “Call, Celebrate, Change.”
2000 – 2007: The Emerging Church
- Natalie Siewert is welcomed as our minister of children and family and Kenton MacDonald-Lin joins us as our youth minister as Robbie Olhauser who served for many years transitioned in into the marketplace. Tyler Milley also joins us as an intern and then as our music coordinator. Roger Hardy, a long time CapChurch leader, is our deacon chairperson and works with the pastors and ministers in administration and men’s ministry. This rounds out the primary ministry leadership under the supervision of Paddy Ducklow and Mike Nichols.
- Alpha is an important outreach ministry at CapChurch. We are indebted to many people (especially Barry Soper) for its success in bringing people into a living relationship with Jesus Christ.
- Our mission locally and internationally continues (please see the missions tab on this website). We are currently committed to a small town in Africa (Bufukhula) where we send yearly teams and financially sponsor children and families.
- Our ethos continues to be relational, welcoming, thoughtful, surprising, God-centred and sometimes “irreverent” (especially to those who are of a previous church generation).
- Our Sunday services are greatly strengthened by the CapKids ministry led by Natalie and Kristee Watson. They have caught on to a way of doing Sunday school that kids love and parents and adults can readily do. (Please see the CapKids tab on this website.)
- Our “Leadership Circle” of pastors, elders, deacons and other primary ministers of CapChurch lead the church as we empower younger Christians to lead for the future.
- Only a few of the original elders are current with CapChurch. Jake Penner is one of the founding elders of Capilano Christian Community and remains as our Elder Emeritus. Bert Voth, recently remarried after being widowed, has moved away though remains an important friend to our leadership and church core.
- In January of 2007, Scott Campbell joined the staff as a Pastoral Intern. Later that winter Natalie Siewert (CapKids and Family Minister) and Celeste Lee (Administrative Assistant to the Pastors) step down from staff and chose to serve in non-remunerated positions within the community. Sue Carabetta and Paula Schulz joined the staff as the Family and Newcomers Minister and Administrative Assistant to the Pastors respectively. Alison Nichols was promoted to CapKids Coordinator and Tyler Milley rejoined the staff as our Worship Coordinator. It was also during this time that Paddy Ducklow began a 3 month sabbatical.
- This is who we are and where we are in the Spring of 2007. We believe and have evidence that the Spirit of God is leading us forward and that our best history has not yet been lived or written.
- In November 2007 the CapChurch leadership brought Kim Pierrot onto our pastoral team. Kim was a seasoned pastor who had leadership experience in both church and camp settings. Kim brought not only her rich experience to our pastoral team but her love of building good relationships and doing pastoral care. Kim’s presence also addressed our “pastoral gender imbalance” in that CapChurch’s pastoral leadership has been overwhelmingly from male pastors. The time was long overdue and Kim was the right person at the right time to bring fresh energy and perspective to our pastoral team.
2008 – 2010: Envisioning a future and doing a “bigger gospel”
- As the elders gathered for a day retreat; one of our persistent intercessors, Lucy Goncalves sat in her wheelchair outside praying for us for three hours. Inside the elders Andrea Smith, Jenn Ohlhauser, Randene Hardy, Gord Chutter, Scott Campbell, Mike Nichols, Delma Campbell, Art Steinmann, and Kim Pierrot sat listening to God and to the text of Ephesians 4:11-16. we heard God speak to us of Christ showering us, his people worldwide and here at Cap with gifts. God impressed upon us a dynamic image of growth. We are not to be static in our relationship to God—He is with us and He is gifting us with what we need at this time to mature. We sensed a particular invitation to our whole community to “grow up in Christ”– that “now is the time” to move out of our “young adult faith” into more fullness in Christ.
- The beginning of 2008 marked a significant change for CapChurch–Paddy Ducklow retired from pastoral leadership at Cap after 16 years of remarkable leadership. . . When Paddy came to Cap we were a band of about 50 people linked in home groups and Sunday worship. What Paddy gave to the community over those 16 years were gifts too numerous to list but included: vision for focusing on gospel priorities such as the least and last; a gospel posture of inclusion rather than exclusion; structures that build community; relational pastoral care; a pastoral team and eldership equipped to nurture and guide the community. Paddy along with the Cap leadership team brought the community through its infancy and adolescence and into young adulthood. Our question was–what more of “fullness” in Christ lies ahead? Also, both Tyler Milley (worship intern) and Kenton MacDonald-Lin (young adult and student ministries) transitioned into their professional marketplace vocations.
- In the Fall of 2008 we studied the book of Amos under the title God’s Passion for Justice. Cap Church had not opened the book of Amos for over 20 years (while we examined probably 75% of the rest of the Bible). One truth God impressed upon us is best expressed in the words of Walter Brueggemann: “…doing justice is the primary expectation of God and his rendering of biblical justice is this: sort out what belongs to whom, and to return it to them…so the work of salvation is the work of giving things back”. (in To Act Justly, Love Tenderly, Walk Humbly: An Agenda For Ministers). It was Pope Paul VI who said to Christians about our world, “If you want peace, work for justice.” we said amen. Doing Justice became part of our “bigger gospel”
- Out of our study of Amos we felt compelled to begin a fledgling justice ministry called the Justice Hub at CapChurch. Our mandate included advocating for justice for one international issue and one local issue each year; educating the community on biblical justice; and supporting Cap members advocating for justice. In 2008 God gave us two ministries that are related to compassion and justice—a group of Capers, empowered by the Spirit assisted Ililo and Fatuma and their family [Nigeria] to get started living in Canada. Another dedicated group of Capers are asking God what they are to do to walk humbly and to act justly re the tragic aboriginal experience in BC residential schools.
- Our 2009 pastors, ministers and support staff included: Mike Nichols [pastor]; Kim Pierrot [pastor]; Sue Carabetta [ Newcomers and Families]; Julie Evans [ECE]; Michaela Jamieson [CapKids Coordinator]; Cheryl Lim [CapKids assistant] , Ali Nichols [CapKids assistant]; Luke Wilson [grade 5-7 boys] , Brian Dean [intern, minister to youth from Columbia Bible College]; John [minister to youth and young adults]; Erica Colpitts [minister to teen girls]; Paula Schulz [Admin]; Suzanne Patterson[sunday morning coordinator]; and Jenn Ohlhauser [bookkeeper]. we called it the “dream team”–the most gifted pastoral team one could imagine.
- Our Missions team prepared the community for our 4th trip to Bufukhula, Uganda to visit our sponsor children through Food for the Hungry. we continued our support of Capper Karoush Bagheri in his Radio Aramesh ministry in Farsi and Kristee Watson working in the Congo with Food for the Hungry.
- Barry Soper continued to coordinate and lead Alpha for Cap, running Cap’s 19th Alpha.
- Scott Campbell led the eldership to envision Cap’s future. In the last decade we have been about call, celebrate and change: We are called to celebrate Christ and change lives. the elders did not see God wanting us to change who we have become but rather give a new expression of call, celebrate and change with these outcomes: for kids to have an experience with God’s love; the youth to be engaged at Cap in order to help them become less consumer oriented and active participants at Cap; for adults to be Biblically literate and to learn to love their neighbour. For all to hear God personally, live Christian lives of generosity.
- 2009 was all about envisioning faith outcomes for Cap. In past years we championed individual growth. Now we feel called by God to add to that emphasis the championing of an inter-generational faith community. Part of this was envisioning an exciting faith-culture for youth where they can experience God and be equipped to live in their world as Christians. In the fall of 2010 John and Erica Colpitts joined our pastoral team as part time Ministers to teens. Under John, Erica, and Brian our youth ministry began to grow in quality and numbers of youth participating.
- Another part was envisioning Faith-Mentoring and adding that to our premarriage mentoring. In 2010 after 15 years of service at Cap, pastor Mike Nichols took a sabbatical of three months during which he studied Celtic Christian spirituality; traveled to Scotland; and wrote a mentoring manual [Mentoring Maturity in Christ] to equip the community to build toward maturity through guided disciplines of listening prayer.
- One of the delights of this period was the study of the book of Hebrews by the community and the compiling of the faith exploits of Cap over its 37 year history. this culminated in an original worship song written by Matt Pierott [By Faith] and recorded as a music video featuring many different Cappers singing appropriate lines. It was like Cap’s Hebrews 11 testimony set to music.
2011 – 2013: Forty Years; a Move; a New Lead Pastor
- We saw lots of growth in our children and teens ministries such that we had up to 200 children and youth from cradle to age 18. Our Children’s ministry team also changed. Lindsey Wilson took the lead in CapKids from Michaela Jamieson; Lindsey had the splendid help of Charlotte Clark and then the very capable Denita DeRooy from Australia. Lindsey and Sue Carabetta retooled our CapKids program to enhance connections of kids to kids and parents of similar aged kids. Julie Evens continued to lead the ECE program with up to 50 children engaged in music, crafts, and for the two-year-old group a short interactive bible lesson. Liz Baerg joined John Colpitts in caring for the grade 5-7 year -old thourgh Snow Tubing, Karaoke, Girls Spa Nights, and Guys Plunger Hockey. The best event of the year had to be Safari, where a dozen of Cap’s young adults were “hunted” through the forests of Princess Park dressed up as Lions, Zebras, Hippos, etc. Brian [also know as Brain] Dean with some able volunteers led the teens ministry with a Monday discipleship Bible study; a Tuesday night emerging leaders group; Sunday morning classes including hearing the life stories of long term Cappers; and “events” like laser tag; the annual Rush U conference; and of course camps in the summer.
- Sue Carabetta’s role as Minister to Newcomers and Families became so expansive that we retooled her role as Minister of Community Development. Sue developed connections to the downtown east side of Vancouver through our now annual Christmas gingerbread house project with an inner city school. Back at Cap Sue ran Little’s Group for mums of preschoolers; a lively group of women who are “40ish”; started seniors lunches; staged marriage enhancement evenings; was the chief engineer of our greeters, set up crew and hall monitors; community wide in home lunches including our Christmas “ham on the run” celebrations; and provided oversight to the hundreds and hundreds of meals have been prepared and taken to families with new babies and those of all ages and stages walking through challenging times. Cap wouldn’t be Cap without Sue’s leadership.
- On the missions front Barry Soper led Cap through its 24th and 25th Alpha hosted at Larry and Irene McGuinness home with magnificent food provided by Irene. Besides the annual Alpha retreat for the “Holy Spirit” Alpha session at Pender Harbor Rosewood Retreat which is always a highlight, the most poignant experience on the Alpha was having Irene’s cancer-afflicted Judy participate in the final months of her life.
- 2012 saw Cap’s last official Uganda team visit Bufukhula. Bufukhula has made sufficient progress to graduate from the FH development program in 2013. As a Christmas gift to Bufukhula Cap purchased 63 cows for the FH dairy program in Bufukhula. Cap’s near decade long involvement has seen this village go from utter poverty to a basic self sustaining community. One highlight of the 2012 trip was visiting the community of Nashisa which may be Cap’s next adopted village.
- The Cap Missions team continued its broad reach into local and world arenas including the Harvest Project [Terry Byrnes, Kevin Lee]; the Union Gospel Mission (Barbara Atkins), New Hope (Christine Farris), Jacob’s Well (James Atkins, Barbara Atkins, Tyler Milley), Just Works (Jocelyn Pedder), A Rocha (Luke Wilson, Pat Lilley), Open Door (Claire Chutter), Alano Club (James Atkins), Simpson Society (Dylan Goggs, Terry Byrnes), Pacific Theatre, Focus Foundation; Heal Canada (Shelley Hardy), and Linwood House (Irene McGuiness, Randene Hardy. Missions further afield included Mike and Bonita Dirk (Egypt, Roger Hardy and sending team), World Vision (Roger Hardy), Food for the Hungry (Lynne Smith and many others). Radio Aramesh (Kourosh Bagheri). In Education–Regent College (Rod Wilson, Lynne Smith and several others), MissionsFest(Paulla Bagheri). in Camps–Anvil / Daybreak (Terry Carabetta and others), Barnabas (Paul and Isabelle Milley and others), Keats (many others). Our outstanding Missions Team at the end of 2012 included Kristee Watson (Food for the Hungry, Bufukhula, Project Linus), Paulla Bagheri (secretary-chair, budgeting, Radio Aramesh), Lynne Smith (elders representative), Paul Milley (Bufukhula, JoyBells, Food for the Hungry), James Atkins (Jacob’s Well, correspondence, Alano Club), Terry Byrnes (Harvest Project, Simpson Society), Roger Hardy (World Vision, Mike and Bonita Dirk). what a team! Cap is privileged to have so many Kingdom minded people doing so much.
- 40 years. In 2013, March 17th we celebrated our 40th year as Capilano Christian Community, which we now call CapChurch. The humorous part of our celebration was that we were one year early!! No matter–we still had a great celebration inviting former members and founders to speak to the community. The highlight of the celebration for many was the brainchild of Sue Carabetta–40 days of gratitude. Cappers were invited to submit a story of their experience of Cap over the years. We had so many submissions that 40 became 53 and for 50+ days after March 17th a story of gratitude appeared in the email inbox’s of the community. what a delight! thanksgiving became a community theme.
- Cap has always been a virtual church with no solid footprint–”asset poor and people rich” has been our style since day 1. we don’t own a building and in the 40 years we migrated through Capilano College [now Capilano University]; Boundary School; the International Plaza at Marine and Capilano Road; a small Anglican church in Norgate [now a mosque]; and the Lucas Centre [continuing education center]. The Lucas Centre was our home for 19 years during which we used more and more of the facility as we grew. In making the gym our sanctuary we eventually moved from a lecture hall configuration to a circle with our “sacred space” in the center. As the Lucas Centre aged the North Vancouver School District decided to close the facility and gave us a year’s notice to find a new place. During 2012-2013 our Randene Hardy; Brian Dean; and Brad Wise researched 40 different venues for our new home. The only acceptable facility was Mulgrave School in West Vancouver. On June 2nd we went to being a North Vancouver faith community meeting in a decaying school below the highway to a West Vancouver faith community meeting in a 12 year old facility above the highway. CapChurch is still the same community–same ethos; leadership; ministries and heart for the “least, last, lost, and nearly dead” and we are adjusting to a new venue and asking God what other new things we are to give ourselves too.
- New location and a new lead pastor. When Pastor Emeritus Paddy Ducklow retired in 2008 the leadership weren’t in a rush to find a new lead pastor. We knew that no one could “replace” Paddy–his superb leadership moulded CapChurch over 16 years into the dynamic faith community. The leadership took some time to re-imagine what CapChurch could be in the next phase of our journey and to re-affirm CapChurch values that define us. We came to see that our pastoral team needed more gifts to enhance its dynamism. After a three year search Scott Anderson was brought into our mix as lead pastor. His experience in church planting and leading a church, and a passion for communicating the love of God in Christ was a gift to us. One of CapChurch’s priorities over the last decade has been to see our community ready for the next generation–to handover leadership from the older leaders to younger leaders. We’ve seen that in many areas of our community that is growing.