Our 39th Anniversary

Barry Buzza May 27, 2018 Standalone

There are a couple points in our church history that we could say were the beginning of Northside Church in Coquitlam. The official first service of Northside Chapel in Port Coquitlam was when 22 new believers, plus our little family, first met in Lincoln Elementary School Library on May 27, 1979.  The Coquitlam Campus story, however, goes far back before any of us were born.

It was in 1859 that New Westminster was chosen as the first Capital City of British Columbia.  BC was the sixth Province to join Canada’s confederation, on July 20, 1871, and fifteen years later, the first transcontinental train arrived in Port Moody, which had been incorporated in 1859. In order to protect New Westminster from a feared invasion by the Americans, which of course never happened, Richard Moody, a Royal Engineer, ordered that a trail be cleared from the new Capital City to the Burrard Inlet. That trail was later named North Road, the oldest road in the Lower Mainland.

Just before the District of Coquitlam was incorporated in 1891, Fraser Mills on Pitt River was built, and shortly after, the sawmill in Port Moody began its operation. Although most of the workers at both mills were Chinese, Japanese and Indian immigrants, a few Europeans were managing the businesses. Three churches were established for those early white settlers — St John’s Anglican Church in Port Moody (1900), the Union Church in Coquitlam (1902) and Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic Church in Maillardville (1910).

By 1963, Coquitlam was growing and changing rapidly into a bedroom community. The #1 Freeway was finished through Burnaby and Coquitlam in 1959, and the Lougheed Mall opened in 1969. By that time, the 66-year-old Union Church had less than a dozen old saints who were still alive and on the church register. The small white country church building, on the corner of Austin Avenue and North Road, was given to the Foursquare Church, and eventually sold in 1968 for a Denny’s Restaurant.

Pastors Mitch and Rose Belobaba purchased property across from, what is now the Como Lake Shopping Center, for $10,000 and constructed in March 1968, almost singlehandedly, the new church for another $10,000. Barry and Susan were appointed as Youth Pastors in 1971 in the young Coquitlam Foursquare Church.

Pastors John and Lois Schmidt began as Lead Pastors in 1973 and the small congregation quickly gained momentum. By 1988, with divine foresight, the church purchased property, for $40,000, on the very top of Lansdowne Drive, on the Eagle Mountain development. David Avenue was still a gravel street, which was not connected to Port Coquitlam, and Westwood Plateau was only a dream in some Developer’s mind. John felt God saying at that time that the Church, then called Life Center, was prophetically called to be a light, not only to Coquitlam, but to the world.

 Sadly however, in the years following the building project, Life Center went through a protracted turbulent season. Ultimately there wasn’t enough money to complete the building project and the congregation was rapidly scattering. By 1992, there were less than 90 adherents left, the new young pastor was bewildered, and they were unable to maintain the monthly payments on their mortgage. The Church had only six months to live, and would then have to be sold.

During the same years, Northside Church, which officially began on May 27, 1979, had built on Lougheed Highway in Port Coquitlam and the church was flourishing. President Tim Peterson asked us if we would be willing to take on the Coquitlam Church as a second campus, and on July 1, 1992 Life Center became Northside Church. Three or four faithful families from that original church are still with us. Pastors Barry Buzza and Terry Janzen, as well as our worship teams, began seventeen years of quickly chasing each other from campus to campus, to lead our three Sunday morning services.

In 2007, we added a third campus when Grace Gospel Church in Port Coquitlam was given to us.  In 2011 we released our PoCo campus to the capable leadership of Pastors Terry and Ingrid Janzen. Considering of the chain of events just described, with 116 years of history, our church on Lansdowne has the privilege of being the oldest church in Coquitlam.

 Over the 39 years of Northside’s history, God has spoken prophetically to us several times, the first being what Pastor John heard regarding our Coquitlam Church that “it was called to be a light not only to our community, but to the world”. “For so the Lord has commanded us, ‘I have placed You as a light for the Gentiles, That You may bring salvation to the end of the earth.’” Acts 13:47 NASB

 Seven other prophetic words are relevant today:

 October 1976 as I lay in bed I saw a picture of a lady giving birth and God clearly spoke.

“I want you to give birth to a new church in Port Coquitlam. The church will be formed with new believers. Do not gather Christians from other churches — lay a foundation by winning your neighbours to me. It will happen through prayer.”

As soon as Zion travailed, she also brought forth her sons. Isaiah 66:8c NASB

May 6, 1980. Evangelist Dick Mills prophesied, not knowing that I was quitting my job at Canadian Forest Products on June 30. “In less than 60 days, your life will turn an important corner, ‘for a wide door for effective work has opened to me’” 1 Corinthians 16:9a ESV

May 2010 as we were releasing our PoCo Campus. “He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me. “The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me”.  2 Samuel 22:20-21

February 1997 around my 50th birthday, God spoke and told me to focus on three priorities —Teach the Word; teach the way we should walk, and teach the work we should do — delegate the other things. As Jethro counselled Moses. “Now listen to me: I will give you counsel, and God be with you. You be the people’s representative before God, and you bring the disputes to God, then teach them the statutes and the laws, and make known to them the way in which they are to walk and the work they are to do.” Exodus 18:19-20 NASB

February 1999 a word to our Staff at Northside. “Keep the ministry uncomplicated. Make sure your roots are strong and watered by the Holy Spirit; be fruitful, and extend your branches over the walls of your community to the world”.

As Jacob prophesied over Joseph, he said, “Joseph is a fruitful bough, A fruitful bough by a spring; Its branches run over a wall.” Genesis 49:22 NASB

November 2010. As I was driving up Johnson by the hustle and bustle of Coquitlam Center,

I heard God say, “I want you to begin giving 50% of Northside’s general income outside of yourselves, to ministry in your community, your nation and the world”.

March 2014. I’d just returned from Ethiopia the week before — I woke up at 3 am and clearly heard God say, “I want you to sponsor planting churches in Ethiopia.”  I responded, “Ok Lord, we’ll plant ten churches this year.” And God replied, “Don’t ever put a cap on what I tell you to do!”

“Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”  Luke 6:38 NASB

We sponsored 25 churches in the Spring of 2014.

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