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United Church minister new to Bella Coola Valley

Nancy Walker is originally from Abbotsford
Minister Nancy Walker, left, is settling into serving Augsburg and Emmanuel United Churches in the Bella Coola Valley with help from Emmanuel Church chair Veronica Andy. (Photo submitted)

The United Churches in Bella Coola and Hagensborg have a new minister.

Nancy Walker said she saw an advertisement for the position online that spoke to her heart.

“In June I came up and visited and checked everything out and they checked me out and it felt like this was the right place where I needed to be,” she said. “I think it was God, the Creator, the Spirit that called me to this place.”

Last stationed in Victoria, Walker is originally from Abbotsford. She is single, which she said made it easier for her to make the move to Bella Coola.

A minister for 17 years, she spent many years of that with children and youth ministry.

Sunday service at the Augsburg Church is at 10:30 a.m. and at Emmanuel United Church in Bella Coola at 7 p.m.

“We often have coffee and goodies after Augsburg and at Emmanuel we will have tea,” Walker said.

Both congregations are small, but Walker said they try to do what they can with the numbers they have.

She does hospital and home visits, which takes up a fair amount of time, and she attends elders luncheons on Wednesdays.

The last time a minister was there consistently was August 2022, but there have been others coming in to fill in for short terms, said Veronica Andy, chair of the Emmanuel Church.

Andy is hoping to raise money to install a closed circuit TV and speakers for church’s downstairs so funerals can be held in the church and not the community hall on the reserve.

Some people are complaining the church is too small so Andy thinks if they could put a TV in the downstairs there would be room for more people to attend, she explained.

“The basement is very big and we can get at least 30 chairs down there so at least people can use the upstairs and downstairs when it comes to funerals.”

She said her father told her before he passed away the hall is for the kids to play and the church is for funerals.

Hoping to hold an auction, she has said there are already community members willing to donate items and help.

Andy has been a member of the congregation since she moved back home in 1986.

“I usually try and keep Nancy posted about what is going on at the reserve,” she said.

When asked what she thinks about Walker she responded, “oh we love having her here.”

Responding, Walker chuckled and said, “she has to say that, I’m sitting right here.”

Andy would like to see more people come to church, while Walker said she does not think most people know who she is and why she is in the area.

“When I tell people who I am and what I do, they say, ‘how long are you staying?’” Walker said. “It would be nice to let people know that I am here on a pretty permanent basis. People are hesitant to invest too much when somebody is not going to be around for too long.”

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Monica Lamb-Yorski

About the Author: Monica Lamb-Yorski

Monica Lamb-Yorski has covered news for the Williams Lake Tribune since November 2011.
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