Vernon Alliance Church began in the living room of Ida Webster in May 1953. The first pastor was Roy Batchelor. Meetings expanded into the Elk's Hall. In 1955 a church was purchased on the corner of 38th Avenue and 27th Street. The radio program Echoes of Blessing was launched and became a well-known ministry in the area for many years.
In June 1956, Pastor T.E. Colley became the pastor, followed by J. Klassen. The growing church purchased land at 2601 - 43rd Avenue (the church facility current location) and dedicated a building on July 15, 1962.
Pastor Klassen was followed by Dan Goldsmith, Henry Hiebert, Henry Young, Gary White and Stephen Larsen. In October of 1979, Keith Taylor became the assistant pastor. In 1980, Vernon Alliance Academy for grades 2-9 was started with 37 students. In 1981, Keith became the lead pastor.
Keith Taylor's ministry was one of growth, with a six-year decline reversed in 1983. VAC was considered the fastest growing Alliance Church in Canada with weekend attendance moving from under 200 to over 600. A building project in 1988 resulted in a new sanctuary, larger lobby, classrooms and washrooms. This was followed by a significant increase in attendance that fall. Pastor Taylor moved to Beulah Alliance in Edmonton in June 1991 and his associate pastor, Ian Trigg became the interim lead pastor and ultimately lead pastor.
Pastor Trigg's tenure was marked by continued growth, with weekend attendance growing to well over 1000. Leadership and organizational steps such as clarifying the mission, vision and core values of VAC took place under Ian's leadership and became an established part of the life and language of the church. Along with VAC's first worship pastor, the annual ODE (One December Evening) was established.
Pastor Trigg took a one year sabbatical in 2000, and Rick Rabuck (the associate pastor) became interim lead. When Pastor Trigg decided not to return to VAC, Rick became the lead pastor. Rick's unique style of leadership, aong with his ministry values and passion to reach the lost, created a shift in the life of VAC. There was an initial growth spurt due to a more seeker-driven model of ministry, rich creativity in the services, & effective outreach to the marginalized and development of the compassion ministry.
In the midst of this season, Rick was diagnosed with leukemia and stepped back while undergoing treatment. During this time, the Elders and staff engaged in refocusing and upon Rick's return, our current mission statement was solidified. Tragically, in the spring of 2004, Pastor Rick suffered a relapse. He resigned in March of that year, and passed away in August.
Following Pastor Rick's resignation, Stuart McKnight was called from Sherwood Park, Alberta and began his ministry at VAC the weekend following Pastor Rick's funeral. Pastor McKnight's arrival brought healing, confession, forgiveness and reconciliation services; weekend services, children, youth and compassion ministries flourished. There was a significant uptick in growth and giving.
The mission statement was retained, and the current "tree" was developed. VAC became known for it's preaching, music, and overall breadth of ministry. During this era, VAC saw a steady inflow of new people.
Other notable events included:
- a multi-phase Extreme Makeover
- Arbour building purchased to broaden compassion ministries and create Common Threads
- construction of a recording studio (The Groove)
- Ministry College courses began
- Baptisms at the Lake
- Annual Ceilidh community event
In the fall of 2019, Pastor McKnight tendered his resignation and completed his ministry duties in October. Executive Pastor, Dwayne Boyd stepped into the role of Interim Lead Pastor, along with Transitional Coach, Daren Wride assisting with assessment and search process.
As of the writing of this history in May, 2020, like all churches across Canada, VAC has been unable to meet in public services since early March due to COVID-19. We continue to hold interactive online services each weekend, and look forward to the next era of VAC.