I first posted this entry on January 11, 2006, in answer to a question from my dear blog friend, Deb of Mountain Musings. I've updated a few things so that it will make sense, such as living here for over five years now, rather than the 1 1/2 years of when I first posted. The rest of it is just as I wrote it then - we are still in love with North Vancouver and Lions Gate Baptist Church!
Can you tell us how the name Lions Gate came about?I'll try to answer that as best I can. I hope I have it right!
As you come into Vancouver, if you look to the north you can see a beautiful range of mountains. The peaks shown here, called The Lions, are a part of those mountains. Until the first part of the 20th century, the only way to cross the inlet was by ferry. Sometime in the early 1900's, the Guinness family, a local beer manufacturer, provided funding for a bridge to span the inlet, and it was named the Lions Gate Bridge - the gateway to The Lions. The picture to the left is of the Lions Gate Bridge on a sunny day, when you can actually see the mountains - although the ones you see here aren't The Lions!
Nowadays, many things on the North Shore, which consists of North Vancouver and West Vancouver, have "Lions Gate" in their names. When we were ready to start our church, Wes wanted a name that would be synonymous with the North Shore, that everyone would immediately associate with the North Shore. He wracked his brains for a name, and finally thought of Lions Gate Baptist Church. He thought for sure that it would be taken already, but when he sent in the paperwork to register the name, it wasn't taken, and so we were able to have that name. Here in the Vancouver area, Lions Gate doesn't raise an eyebrow, but we've had several people from outside this area wonder about the name and what it meant. So thanks for asking about it, Deb. You should have asked sooner!
Just a little extra: this picture is from mid-span of the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Bridge, the only other bridge from Vancouver into North Vancouver. This bridge is east of the Lions Gate Bridge, and is the one we live nearest. You can see the mountains here that are near us. The first house we lived in was in the valley between the two peaks straight ahead. I couldn't see them from the house, because of the trees and other buildings, but one of my favorite things about living here is that we're bordered by mountains to the north, the Inlet to the south, and the ocean to the west. On a clear day, it's breathtakingly beautiful! And any time of year, the lights of Vancouver at night never fail to thrill me.
A totally unrelated story here! When we came to Vancouver in 2002 to visit and see where we felt the Lord might call us, we got in at about 4:30 p.m. on January 7, which means it was pretty much dark. As we topped a hill in Vancouver, as far as we could see were just lights. Wes gasped, and I asked what was wrong. He said he couldn't believe the magnitude of the city, and it had just smitten his heart to see all those lights, representing to him all the people living here who needed to hear the Gospel. Later, in talking to Pastor Gordon Conner in Vancouver, he mentioned those lights. Pastor Conner immediately said, "Oh, that was North Vancouver!" Wes had been looking at maps of the Vancouver area before we came, trying to figure out where the Lord would have us go, and his eyes kept being drawn to North Vancouver on the map. When we learned that the first sight we saw as we entered Vancouver was North Vancouver, our hearts skipped a beat! After spending a week here going up and down the streets of North Van, we knew this was where God wanted us. We fell in love with it then, and after living here for over five years, we're still in love with it. Yes, we miss "home" and family and friends, but we are where God wants us, and that makes it home. I didn't mean to get so long-winded with this post, but I could talk all day about Vancouver and our ministry here!