Through the dedication of early families and under the leadership of Rev P.H McEwen, the young church built its first building in 1892 in the present day neighborhood of Fernwood. This building is currently occupied by the Belfry Theatre.
After several short pastorates, the church found renewed strength under the leadership of Rev. William Stevenson from 1909 to 1924. Rev, Stevenson was well regarded in the community. During this time Emmanuel established Shelbourne street mission which in 1952 became Stevenson Memorial Baptist. Our meeting room is named after Rev Stevenson. Today you can see his portrait and a memorial plaque that celebrates his ministry.
Emmanuel’s ministry grew significantly under the leadership of Rev. Norman K Archer who served from 1966 to 1979. During this time (1970), Emmanuel and Stevenson Memorial joined together and moved to the current location on Cedar Hill X. In 1978 the average attendance in morning worship was 664. In 1977, Emmanuel member Gipp Forster founded the Mustard Seed street church which today is well known in Victoria for its food bank.
Emmanuel continued with strength in the 1980s and 1990s with leadership from Rev. Jake Kroeker. Current Pastor Ingrid White began her service to Emmanuel in 1983. The church celebrated its centennial in 1990 with plans to expand the facilities onto the corner lot. These plans did not receive approval from the city.
In the last twenty five years Emmanuel can continued to have a strong ministry in Victoria. As with many churches in the city, attendance has diminished from the height reached in the 1970s but new ministries have grown in strength.
In 2003, from small beginnings, Emmanuel has developed a ministry to students through a weekly student dinner. At times the church feeds upwards of 400 students offering them a loving atmosphere and a warm welcome.
In 2006 Emmanuel embraced the vision of Pastor Joshua Wang and began a ministry to Mandarin Chinese speakers. After an original partnership with a church from Vancouver, Emmanuel has adopted a multicultural identity. The Mandarin worship service has seen steady growth over the years with an average attendance of about 70 in 2014.
With the addition of Pastor Joan Dosso in 2006, and new lead pastor David Dawson in 2014, Emmanuel is celebrating 125 years of ministry and is excited about the future.