Vol 3 No 19 A Change of Name

We changed our name of the denomination at this Assembly. The original Act will be made available on the web at some point, but for now we would like to make available the basic process that led us to this. What follows is an introduction to the original act.


An Act of Parliament

15 George VI

The dates of the founding Associations and Conventions are as follows:

Baptist Convention of Manitoba and the Northwest, organized July 1884

Baptist convention of British Columbia, organized July 1897

All Western Canada organized as The Baptist Convention of Western Canada, 1907

Name Changed to The Baptist Union of Western Canada, 1909

Chap. 75


(assented to 20th June, 1951)



WHEREAS a petition has been presented praying that it be enacted as hereinafter set forth and it is expedient to grant the prayer of the petition:  Therefore His Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:


1.  Walter Campbell Atherton and Charles Bentall, both of the City of Vancouver, in the Province of British Columbia, Shelford Grimwood, George Frederick McNally and William Cameron Smalley, all of the City of Edmonton, in the Province of Alberta, Clara Sinclair and Horace Edward West, both of the City of Saskatoon, in the Province of Saskatchewan, Edgar Thomas Stinson of the city of Regina, in the Province of Saskatchewan, Florence Hedge McDonald and Alexander Charles Campbell, both of the city of Winnipeg, in the Province of Manitoba, John Robert Charles Evans of the city of Brandon, in the Province of Manitoba, and such persons as are now members if The Baptist Union of Western Canada, incorporated by Chapter Eighty-one of the statutes of Manitoba, 1909 and Chapter Eighty-three of the Statutes of Manitoba, 1920 by Chapter Sixty of the Statutes of Saskatchewan 1910-11 and by Chapter Twenty-two of the Statutes of Alberta, 1910 (2nd Session) and granted a limited license as an extra provincial company under the Companies Act of British Columbia on the ninth Day of December, 1910, Hereinafter called “The Union as presently constituted”, and such persons as may from time to time become members of the Religious Body hereby incorporated, are constituted a body corporate and politic under the name “The Baptist Union of Western Canada”, hereinafter called “The Corporation” for the purpose set out in this Act and for the purpose of administering the property and other temporal affairs of the Corporation (Corporate Name).


From the minutes of the Assembly:

“We also discussed our name change from Baptist Union of Western to Canadian Baptists of Western Canada as it emerged out of conversation re: our covenant partnership with our sister denominations of Canada and express ourselves nationally, and also distinguish ourselves from other Baptist groups.”

We made a motion to accept this change of name and it was carried.

What follows is a letter I have asked Brian Stelck to draft around our structure. Challenging as this may be to read, it is important to understand.


Friends, Colleagues, Brothers and Sisters

 I have come away from the 2007 Assembly in Banff with a sense of excitement that God is indeed moving in our midst and we are generally listening to the Lord’s direction and we are being blessed because of the faithfulness. I wish to comment on two significant pieces of business that transpired under the leadership of Rev Sam Chaise (President) and Rev Jeremy Bell (Executive Minister).

First significant denominational change: The Bylaws of the Baptist Union of Western Canada were revised edited and approved at the Assembly one item of change was a renaming to Canadian Baptists of Western Canada. Along with a name change was a general restructuring of the denomination to take into account the reality of the missional networks now functioning in the Baptist Union and the shrinking of the Board to handle Policy issues rather than Ministry details. The Regions are represented on the Board and have the freedom to structure themselves in different ways, but they are to focus on ministry in their own regional contexts. Some history for those of you who love it; in 1951 the BUWC was formed as a Federal Corporation, in 1959 a report on restructuring (Haskins Commission) came to Assembly, it was rejected, in 1960 the Harris Commission report on restructuring was rejected, 1963 the Paul Commission on restructuring was rejected then in 1966 the Janssen report setting up the Areas and centralized power was approved. In 1995 the TFOOR (Task Force on Organizational Renewal) came to assembly and the Bylaws of the BUWC were suspended for two years as other structures were attempted. In 1997 Assembly adopted a new set of Bylaws with a smaller Board but not the totally decentralized plan of the TFOOR, but there was a middle level Planning and Priorities Committee put into place. In 2003 a Governance Review Committee began to look at the impact on a denomination of becoming Missional Church focused. Assembly 2005 held a feedback session and from that input we brought the full ByLaw changes to Assembly 2007.

(If you are interested in the history of the BUWC please see two texts: The Baptist Union of Western Canada: a Centennial History 1873-1973 by J.E. Harris published 1976 and Heritage and Horizon: The Baptist Story in Canada by Harry A Renfree 1988.)

Second denominational Change: The document, Ministerial Policies, Procedures and Protocol of the Baptist Union of Western Canada was edited at the 2007 Assembly.  The edits include bringing the Bylaw changes into the document, adding a category of Pastor called Mandated Children and Family Pastor. Also a section was added entitled Settlement Protocol and a new section called Protocol for Conflicted Situations. All of these were approved by the Assembly and will be into the hands of the Pastors and the churches by the end of the Summer, but they are in effect now.



Brian F. Stelck, President

Carey Theological College


An Appendix:


Harry A. Renfree (1988) Heritage and Horizon:  The Baptist Story in Canada

J.E. Harris (1976) The Baptist Union of Western Canada:  A Centennial History, 1873-1973


Brief History

1929   The Baptist Union moved to Edmonton under W.C. Smally

1938   A Constitution and Bylaws drawn up

1951   B.U.W.C. established by an Act of Incorporation Federally

1959   Haskins Commission or Restructure – Defeated

1960   Harris Commission or Restructure – Defeated

1963   Paul Commission or Restructure – Defeated

1966    Janssen Reports or Restructure – Approved

1995   TFOOR (Task Force on Organizational Renewal  ) – Received

And bylaws – suspended for 2 years

1997   Bylaws adopted by Assembly (some TFOOR included)

2003   Governance Review Committee Report – Tabled

2005   Governance Review Report – Discussion

2007   Bylaws (Name Change) Board size reduced, Regional Groups Reshaped





In Christ,

Jeremy Bell