Profile: First Presbyterian Church, Trail BC

By Dr. Dan Boateng – First PC Trail Elder

Historical – In the beginning, God sent one Rev. Robertson in 1896 to start the Presbyterian ministry here in Trail BC. And the Lord God continued to send faithful servants to keep up the ministry through the years of the first century of the life of the congregation. In 1925, the continuing Presbyterians were the minority, losing by one vote (as the story is told) in the local vote for Church Union.

Exactly a century after the first Robertson, the Lord God sent this time two Robertsons (1996) to begin the second century of Presbyterian ministry in Trail BC. And the two Reverends, Gavin and Meridyth Robertson, continue as the ministers to this day.

Vision and Mission – The vision and mission statements have evolved over the last 30 years as elders on Session changed. But a few elements have remained constant:

  • to remain authentic – true to the word of God and for His glory;
  • to be a community of compassion – always aspiring and striving to be known for being compassionate and loving;
  • to make an impact for Christ locally, nationally and internationally;
  • to adopt the concept of an enduring ministry – to remain a thriving congregation until the Lord’s return.

Session’s strategic goal in recent years is captured in the missional statement: “Come and See, Stay and Learn, Go and Serve”. Session at its annual Retreat and Strategic Planning defines objectives and actions towards living this out as a congregation, to the glory of God.

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Who we are now – We remain a small congregation, but one intent on growing both spiritually and numerically. Though our largest demographic remains that of seniors, we are blessed more and more with younger couples and families with young children.

The present congregation consists of a few with a lifelong Presbyterian background and the majority who are from other traditions who have made First Church their home, not because we are a Presbyterian church but because we are a conservative congregation with traditional beliefs.

What we do – Our blended Sunday worship service is at the heart of our church family. We sing a variety of music from contemporary to traditional hymns. Our ministers and occasional guest preachers work hard on delivering edifying and strongly Bible based sermons.

Our annual family-focused activities such as our Church picnic, family camp, and Christmas Eve Services, are well received and attended.

Smaller Group Activities have included a variety of programs including Alpha, Timothy Keller and other studies from RightNowMedia. Our Ladies and Men’s ministries offer retreats and study breakfasts. One of our Bible Study/Prayer Groups is a marathon group meeting weekly all-year round.

The COVID pandemic, with its restrictions, helped reveal an opportunity for online ministry: livestreaming on Facebook and the use of Zoom for Bible Studies and meetings has been a real blessing.

Mission and Outreach – For several years the congregation has allocated over 10 per cent of its annual budget to missions. The Missions Committee has led the congregation to support projects and initiatives: local, presbytery, national & international (including additional PWS&D support). We have our own quasi missionaries – a couple from the congregation who spend half the year in Africa (Ghana) involved in Church and mission work. Out of the Missions committee came our annual Community Christmas Dinner which has been serving 100-150 people each Christmas season. Christmas 2020 the dinner will continue by takeout only.

Our ministers are also very involved in the community. Rev. Meridyth is the padre for the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 11. She is also called upon to offer prayers in the community for various events from the Inauguration of council members to the Citizen of the Year.

Rev. Gavin has served as a Chaplain in the Primary Reserves for the last 22 years, and currently serves as Chaplain to the 39 Canadian Brigade Group Headquarters.