Kerrisdale PYPS at 50

This May Kerrisdale, Vancouver, hosted a 50th anniversary reunion bash for the Kerrisdale Presbyterian Young People’s Society, 1960-1965.

Of course there were youth groups at Kerrisdale before and after this time period. This particular group was started by three boys from church families: Barry Morris, Frank Koldewijn and Alex Caldwell along with Tom Itter and Bob McWilliams from the Young Life Group at Magee High School.

Through the high school group, their faith grew and became a real part of their lives. Alex’s parents noticed the difference and offered to sponsor a church-based young people’s group. With a core of approximately 12 teenagers (who had grown up through Children of the Church, Explorers, Canadian Girls in Training, Scouts, junior choir and Sunday school) the Sunday evening meetings began. They soon grew as, in the spirit of the early church, members invited their school friends and neighbours to join. An attendance of 50 or more on Sunday evenings in the church lounge was not unusual.

KerrisdaleThrough a wide variety of different events and activities over the years, Kerrisdale members met those from West Point Grey and St. Columba, Vancouver, St. Aidan’s, First and Knox, New Westminster, and Brentwood, Burnaby. Many of them often joined us Sunday evenings.

Many of us were married at Kerrisdale by Rev. Dr. Harry Lennox. In fact many met their life partners through the youth group activities. There are several 40-plus year marriages represented. This is far above the national average.

Many of the members from these years went into the ministry in the Presbyterian or United Church, and others became deaconesses or worked in the local church offices. These include Robin Ross, Jim Statham, Ken Oakes, Bruce Heal, Tom Aicken, Bob Johnson and Howie McPhee. Barry Morris, one of the founding members, is currently serving with the United Church’s Longhouse Council of Native Ministry in Vancouver.


About Nancy Cutt

Nancy Cutt grew up at Kerrisdale, Vancouver.