In early 2000, a small group of believers were gathering under the name Hope Community Church in Barrie. With no pastor and no building of their own, the group faced the prospect of closing down the ministry, but instead, full of faith, they allowed God to give them a renewed vision for this city and beyond.
In the months that followed, a God-ordained connection was made with leaders from Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago, and in January 2001 the church became the core group of a new church plant, Harvest Bible Chapel Barrie. We give tribute to the “original eight” families who exercised faith and believed God for what we have today: Terry and Ruth Ann Evans, Les and Judi Galicinski, Stewart and Faye Mathie, Gunther and Helga Podewils, Scott and Tracy Robinson, Janet Smith, Garth and Peta Taylor, Richard and Sue Thomas, and with honourable mention to Steve Gallant, who was a teen in the youth group at the time, and who continues to be a part of our Harvest family to this day.
On March 25, 2001, Todd Dugard became the founding and lead pastor, preaching his first sermon. After five months of training in Chicago, he assumed his full-time responsibilities at the church’s official launch on September 16, 2001, and he remains our lead pastor to this day.
Over the years, Harvest has gathered for worship at the Sunnidale Community Centre (now the Dorian Parker Centre), Emma King Elementary School (2001-2005), Timothy Christian School (2005-2017), and since August 2017, at our own 7 George Street facility (the former Army, Navy, Air Force Club Hall).
By God’s grace, the church grew in a way that could not have been anticipated, and God gave us a front-row seat to what he was doing through the movement of the Holy Spirit. In 2002, we had the privilege of being a founding church of the newly formed Harvest Bible Fellowship, through which many planters were trained and sent out, many churches were planted, and many people were led to faith in Christ and baptized. Sadly, after a lingering and devastating leadership crisis, our fellowship of churches disbanded in 2017 leaving us without an affiliation. We are grateful that despite human failure in what happened, the fruit of these years remains.
In March 2021, after a lengthy season of internal evaluation and investigation of options for a new connection, Harvest joined Acts 29, a diverse, global family of church-planting churches.
Over the more than twenty-two years of our history, we have had the joy and privilege of being involved in planting, coaching, and supporting new churches and pastors/planters in Canada, the U.S., Scotland, Cameroon, and other countries, and we have engaged in gospel-centred compassion ministries locally and globally. Together with our partners, we hope to continue to make an impact for the kingdom of God here on earth until Jesus appears.