History

The Baptist General Conference had its beginning with the Swedish immigration movement to North America. The first Swedish Baptist church in Canada was actually started in the province of Quebec in the 1870’s. Three Swedish men met to form a church but it disbanded three months later when all three moved west in search of new opportunities. Grant Memorial Baptist Church in Winnipeg is our oldest surviving church. It began in 1894 and was responsible for starting five daughter churches in Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario. These five churches formed the Central Canada Baptist Conference.

While serving the Winnipeg church, Rev. Martin Bergh found time to visit Swedish communities in Alberta in 1894. A Swedish Baptist church was organized in the Battle River area south of Camrose in the year 1900 with 32 charter members. The First Baptist Church of Matsqui, British Columbia was organized in March 1910 with 18 members from the Swedish Baptist Church in Bellingham, Washington.

Originally, BGC churches in Canada were affiliated with the BGC churches in the United States forming a single entity. Swedish was the original language spoken but by the 1930’s most churches conducted services in English. In 1975 Canadian church leaders began talking about forming a cross-Canada fellowship. There were three districts initially; Central Canada Baptist Conference, comprising of western Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan; Baptist General Conference in Alberta; and the British Columbia Baptist Conference.

An ad hoc meeting was organized in Calgary in the spring of 1977 to explore the possibilities of working in order to broaden our mission in Canada. A recommendation came out of the second meeting that the Canadian churches consider forming the Baptist General Conference of Canada. Churches were invited to send representatives to Regina in April 1981 to officially consider the advisability of this recommendation. This historic motion passed by more than 95% in favour of this action.

The Baptist General Conference of Canada was born. Our vision was and still is to reach Canada for the Lord.