History of Burden Bearers
Hegge Iverson founded Burden Bearers in 1964, with the head office in Seattle and other affiliate offices throughout the state of Washington. (In the 80's the name there changed to Iverson Center.) With numerous gifts and abilities molded into his compassionate heart, Hegge's vision for Burden Bearers also included a Canadian chapter. And so it was with this purpose that Hegge met with two Lower Mainland pastors in the fall of 1973. During that winter a Board was formed and assisted by an advisory council, a constitution was written and Burden Bearers of Canada was born. It was registered as an autonomous, non-profit society under the B.C. Societies Act.
On May 1, 1974, the doors of the first Canadian counselling office were opened and the Lord blessed it. At the outset, it was evident that a ministry of this kind was needed, as all of the appointments were filled for the first day. In 1995, there were fourteen centres in Alberta and B.C., and on May 1, 1999, we celebrated twenty-five years!
Counselling was first offered to Grande Prairie area residents in the early 1980s. Henrey Wiebe drove from Fort St. John twice a week every other week, and worked out of the Alliance Church. In 1985 Burden Bearers Grande Prairie was established and moved into its own building.
In September of 2001, the Central Board elected to form the counselling centres in Alberta and Northern B.C. into a separate society. On December 3, 2001, the Burden Bearers Counselling Society was formally incorporated as a society under the Alberta Societies Act. In the following months Burden Bearers Counselling Society received Registered Charity status under the Income Tax Act, effective March 1, 2002.
Burden Bearers is a non-profit counselling agency dedicated to enhancing the physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual well-being of those who come to us for help. Our mission is to provide professional counselling and education based upon accepted biblical and therapeutic methodologies to those hurting and in need, regardless of their ability to pay.
Our key achievements include servicing the community for 27 years surviving solely on donations and fundraising activities; as well as booking 2632 counselling sessions in 2010. In 2008, Burden Bearers received its first community grant through the United Way of Grande Prairie, in direct support for clients who are unable to pay for their counselling. We received another grant in 2010 and 2011, and we are proud of this recognition of our valuable service to the community.
We currently have four part-time and two full-time counsellors that have worked with many different client groups. These include children, couples, individuals, families, and group sessions. Evening courses were offered in the past for individuals needing help in specific areas such as image, identity, young parents, boundaries, anger management, and confrontation. The group sessions averaged approximately ten clients per session over a twelve-week course. Currently we do not have the staff to offer courses.