Assembly History: Langley, BC

The assembly meeting in the Langley Gospel Hall gratefully acknowledges God’s faithfulness in 106 years of assembly testimony. It is our privilege to represent Christ in the Langley, BC (Canada) community. Psalm 44:1 says, “Our fathers have told us, what work thou didst in their days.” Christian “fathers” privileged to have firsthand witnessed when God blessed and what God blessed should convey this to successive generations. Beyond being a human-interest piece, the history of the assembly affirms that God has sovereignly chosen and blesses the “foolishness of preaching” (1Cor 1:21, KJV) as a primary method of communicating the gospel. A “goodly heritage” (Psa 16:6, KJV) is ours, and we are thankful for the positive example of past generations.

The history of the assembly begins with the spiritual exercise of William and Kathleen (Katie) Brown, a Langley pioneer farming family. William was born at Stratford on Avon, England in 1876 and Katie (nee Reid) in Ontario, Canada in 1877. William and Katie’s families both emigrated to the Walhalla area of North Dakota where William and Katie met and were married in 1903. They later moved to Asquith, Saskatchewan, then in 1910 to Langley Prairie, BC. They bought a 30-acre farm on the southwest corner of 200th Street and Fraser Highway and soon began a Sunday school in their home.

In 1912, evangelists, J. J. Rouse and C. Summers pitched a tent for gospel meetings. God blessed in salvation and as a result, a company of Christians began to gather in the Brown’s home. William and Katie were the “Priscilla and Aquila” (1Cor 16:19) of Langley. They graciously hosted the assembly meetings in their home from 1912-1931. The Browns had a godly testimony and practiced what they preached. Their daughter Alice was a well-known teacher and administrator. The Alice Brown Elementary School in the Brookswood area of Langley is named after her.

The assembly grew in number (20-30) leading up to the Depression years. When the Depression hit, many had to seek employment elsewhere. The numbers were reduced to Mr. Brown and about eight sisters. During that time, some helpful brethren would come from Vancouver to keep up the testimony each week.

The assembly began to increase in size. Mr. and Mrs. Ritchie came from Edmonton and were added. Alex McGaughey held six weeks of gospel meetings and quite a few professed to be saved. From these, three were baptized and added to the assembly. Others coming to the area were added. Alex McGaughey and Alex Wilson of North Vancouver were particularly helpful and often visited.

In 1930, S. E. Matthews moved with his family from England and the Buxton Derbyshire assembly to immigrate to Canada. Mr. Matthew’s brother had a house available for them in Langley. Upon arriving, while speaking to a neighbor, they inquired if there was a local company of Christians who gathered alone to the Name of the Lord Jesus. Within their first hour of arriving in Langley, they were told in glowing terms of Mr. Brown and the assembly that met in their home. On the first Lord’s Day, Mr. Matthews walked two miles to meet with the believers and supply his letter of commendation. Mr. Brown, having read the letter, gave Mr. Matthews a warm embrace saying he had been praying a long time for help. S. E. Matthews would go on to become a fixture in the assembly for many years, and a well-respected elder. At 90 years of age, our late brother was still leading a home Bible study group.

In 1931, the decision was made to meet in a building instead of a private home. William Brown generously provided the land, lumber, and the financial means to construct a hall. The plans were drawn up, and a permit obtained. The project was made known to the neighboring assemblies and a work “bee” was planned. David Warner Nixon (who was a building contractor by profession) from Cedar Cottage Gospel Hall arranged for most of the studs, floor joists, rafters, and other structural members for the hall to be pre-cut and ready to be assembled by the “work crew” in order to expedite the construction project. He also arranged for some skilled tradesmen to be part of the crew to guide the “willing” and “able” non-professionals.

The hall was notably built in a day. Mr. Matthews who was there, was asked in 1986 to write out his recollections. In his words, “Good Friday, just after a year of our coming to Langley, at 7:00am a start was made. By 7:00pm the building was complete: roof and chimney built, windows and doors all finished, and only a little inside plastering to be added. It was completed in one day with 30 men, several capable builders among them.”

As the assembly grew, a porch was later constructed, the hall was raised and a full basement added. By 1970, the location had become an important business intersection and the property sold at a good price. A move was made to the present location at 4775–221st Street in Murrayville. In the 1990s, the hall was enlarged to accommodate the needs of a growing assembly.

In 2002, a 90th anniversary event was held, and a special series of gospel meetings were held in a tent on the neighboring property. For many years, a Monday night work was carried on, reaching many young people with the gospel. The assembly has sought to engage in a variety of outreach works locally. The ESL Class has been a fruitful work, and meets weekly on Mondays. There are a good number of students who attend and are open to the gospel. It was a real joy for the assembly to have seen Langley Kim and Carrie Lee, former students of the ESL class, both saved during a recent gospel series in Langley Gospel Hall. They are in happy fellowship with the assembly today.

Each year, the assembly registers a booth at a local Canada Day/International Day festival. This has been a great opportunity to distribute gospel literature and have spiritual conversations. On an annual basis, the assembly hosts a Christmas Program and a Traditional Carol Sing. We are delighted to see many unsaved visitors and a clear gospel message is preached. A DVBS outreach is held in July with a great turnout from the community. This year’s outreach is scheduled for July 9-13.

In 2013 and 2015, gospel meetings were held with Gaius Goff and Peter Ramsay. It was a special time of earnest prayer and supplication which brought the assembly together, “striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Phil 1:27, KJV). A number of precious souls were saved.

We humbly acknowledge the Lord’s goodness in preserving the assembly over these many years. The assembly today has 68 in fellowship from varied demographics. In a spirit of dependence, we look to the Lord to give good discernment to meet the needs of the day and to serve our own generation well. In challenging days, we need to be like the sons of Issachar, “that had an understanding of the times, to know what … to do” (1 Chron 12:32, KJV). The Lord give us more of a burden for the lost and desire to get the gospel out into our respective communities.