Who We Are

At The Meeting Place Church in Nanaimo, we like to say that we are a church for people who aren't into church.

We don't pretend to have it all together or know all the answers. We've just experienced the amazing difference that Jesus Christ has made in our lives and in the lives of the hundreds of people that call TMP home.

Together, we keep walking on this journey of life that we've all been invited into, supporting one another and always looking for opportunities to share love, kindness and hope with everyone - regardless of race, religion, orientation, politics, ethnicity or anything else.

We are on an all-out mission to learn how to live life with faith, peace, confidence and joy... and to fully share Christ's love with our world. There's always room for you to join us!


Garry Firth

Lead Pastor // pastor@themeetingplace.org


I've served and been involved in church for most of my adult life. The thing that I absolutely love about TMP is that everything we do is geared toward creating a safe place where people who are skeptical about God can come and discover God's unconditional love and acceptance - no matter where they've been, no matter what they've done, and no matter what's been done to them. 

I have seen God's creativity up close, having spent over 6500 hrs underwater working as a commercial diver. I'm married to my high-school sweetheart for over 30 years and have three daughters who are all married.

When it comes time to unplug from it all, I slip on a motorcycle helmet and hit the road ... and if I'm not hitting the road I'm trying to hit a small white ball into a little wee hole in the grass.


Julian Bakker

Music Director // Email

Julian Bakker

TMP is amazing because it creates an amazing space of potential to serve, be encouraged, and learn about life, love, and God.

Some stuff about me: I really (really) like pizza, the band Oasis, and the movie Hot Fuzz.

In my spare time, I study geography, urbanism, music, and photography. I won't be surprised if you tell me I probably read more than I should.


Lauren Whitworth

Spiritual Formation // Email

Lauren Whitworth

My favourite thing about TMP is that it is a church full of people who are normal, real, broken and authentic.

I love that you can come just exactly how you are and no one will make you feel weird.

Being an entrepreneur is in my DNA. I love starting new projects and helping new ventures grow into something meaningful that brings value to the lives of others.

My favourite time-off activity is hiking in a wilderness area with my family (including our dogs).


Peter Bird

Youth & Young Adults Pastor // Email

Peter Bird - Nanaimo Church Youth Director.jpg

My name is Peter and I am the Youth and Young Adults Pastor here at The Meeting Place! I love playing music, listening to music, going to see bands, watching band documentaries … you get the idea. As well as doing anything music, I can be found playing hockey and having adventures with friends. 

I started attending The Meeting Place in September, 2012. My first Sunday in town I showed up and it is all history from there. What really attracted me to TMP was how genuine and kind everyone was, and how they worked hard to create an environment that gave people space to explore their questions about who God is. I am so excited that I now get to work with great people to support the purpose God has given us to bring His love and message of hope to the people of Nanaimo and the world. 


Leadership Team


Eric Kuehnel

Leadership Team

Eric Kuehnel.jpg

I’m a husband, father, son, brother, friend, student, teacher, dreamer & doer.

Whether it’s business and philosophy, or just casting a line in a beautiful river somewhere, I love both people as well as thoughtful, peaceful solitude.

I love TMP because I’m regularly challenged to try something new and interesting, whether it’s in my music or strategizing new initiatives. Plus, we laugh a lot and that helps balance out my serious side. I can easily get lost in thought trying to solve the puzzles of life for myself or others, so I’m grateful for my TMP friends who remind me that I’m unconditionally loved by God and can just enjoy being who I was created to be.

When members of Christ’s church live in loving unity, and embrace the purpose God has called the church to, there isn’t anything that cannot be accomplished!

Guy Yarmack

Leadership Team


I have attended TMP for over 11 years, along with my wife Juanita. We moved back to the city in 2006 and were actively trying to find a church to call home and that December we decided to try out TMP. We were impressed by the casualness and relevance of the message and the fact that you could slip in no matter what you looked like. We kept attending since that day and over the years have had the privilege to meet some amazing people.

 I’ve been self-employed throughout the majority of my working career, however these days you may recognize me as a lifeguard with the City of Nanaimo or teaching some Red Cross courses. I am involved with Loaves and Fishes, Salvation Army and have volunteered 10 years with Nanaimo Correctional Centre. My hobbies are travel, golfing, swimming and racquet sports. I love The Meeting Place, as it has been a great place to share life with others no matter your background you are always welcome here.


Bill Pranke

Leadership Team

I was born in a little log farm house in eastern Saskatchewan, attended a little one room country school and after high school married Sonia, the love of my life. We are proud parents of four, with seven grandkids and six great-grandkids. 

I worked as a Service Training Manager with Chrysler Canada for 32 years, and retired and moved to Nanaimo in 2009. Over the years I have served on numerous church and denomination boards, as well as being involved in establishing Kamp Kawakawa in the 70's. After retirement I served for two years as administrator in an International Church in Warsaw, Poland.

For over a decade and a half after choosing to follow Christ at age 15, I struggled with Christian life in a super legalistic atmosphere. I finally discovered that God loved me exactly the way he created me. What a relief! I love that The Meeting Place shares that same message with everyone, and that together we continue to grow in God's grace.

Dave Thompson

Leadership Team

Dave Thompson Nanaimo Church Leadership.png

My wife Kim and I moved to Nanaimo in 1988 where we opened an Optometric practice. Over the years I have been on various Christian and secular boards. In addition I have been a trustee for School district 68 and served a term and served as a councilor for the City of Nanaimo in the 90's.

Kim and I have been loving TMP since 2005, enjoying serving the people of the central Island both as Christians and musicians.  The leadership of TMP has been terrific over the years and I enjoy doing my part to continue the great work that has been done in a loving and caring manner.

Growing spiritually each day is a current goal of mine with God's spirit helping me every step of the way. 

Our Values

✪ Love:
We invest in loving relationships in every aspect of life, and practically live out our belief that grace and mercy triumph over judgment. (1 Corinthians 13; John 13:34-35; John 15:12-14)

✪ Authenticity:
We strive to be honest about the joys and challenges we face as we grow deeper in our understanding of how to follow Jesus Christ in our lives, our families, our jobs, and our city.  (Ephesians 4:25,32; Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 12:1; Matthew 26:38; James 5:16)

We pursue life in relationships where we accept each other, share what we have, and joyfully serve one another. (Acts 2:42-47, 1 Corinthians 12:12-14; 2 Corinthians 8:7)

We believe that Jesus Christ came to set us free from living lives as slaves to our past, fear, judgment and death so that we can be agents of restoration between God, people, and our broken world. (Hebrews 2:14-15; Romans 8:15; Galatians 5:1)

We not-so-perfectly but enthusiastically give our best because it honours God and inspires people. (Philippians 4:8; Proverbs 27:17)