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This Old Church - An Origin Story

Reminder: Church Camp is this weekend! (No services at Trinity this Sunday.) We have a few more spots available for church & brunch.

 

This Old Church - An Origin Story

Written by Guy Evans

Have you ever built or remodeled a home? Or raised a brood of kids? Or simply found your way through the rapids of life for decades on end?


We all know how such journeys change our nature in small and big ways. We become different people as we grunt and push our way through life’s challenges. Such is the way of character creation.


Our friends, the Brethren Baptists, know this path well. For four generations and over a hundred years they have stood for Jesus at the corner of Okanogan and Peachey. Their ministries would eventually grow to touch many locally and around the globe, but in the beginning they had a church to build. Here are a few stories from that building process.

CHAPTER ONE of our story begins twenty years before the swinging of any hammers. In 1903, Amos and Barbara Peters and seven other families moved to Sunnyslope from North Dakota. Their arrival brought the first Brethren – or “Dunkards” as they were called for their style of baptism - to the Wenatchee area.


Trinity member Charlie Atkinson is the great-great-grandson of Amos & Barbara. He recently visited his ancestors’ headstone in the Sunnyslope cemetery. He was pleased to find a verse heard often at Trinity etched into the stone: Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer. (Psalm 19)

Over the next twenty years, the Wenatchee area literally blossomed as acres upon acres of apple trees were planted along the lands surrounding the Highline Canal. The Brethren also blossomed with members stretching from Sunnyslope to Wenatchee and East Wenatchee.


CHAPTER TWO begins in 1920, when a group of Brethren, who had been meeting in East Wenatchee, petitioned congregational elders to build a church of their own in Wenatchee. The imagining of our current church had begun.


The Wenatchee Church of the Brethren was formally incorporated on September 8, 1922 and that same year, lots 7, 8, 9, and 10 of Block 1, Orchard Heights Addition were purchased at the corner of Okanogan and Peachey Streets for $5,000.

Plans for a two-story church with a basement were developed by an architect named Solberg. And in December of 1923, the first shovel of earth was turned and construction began in earnest.


Those familiar with construction and Wenatchee weather will immediately recognize this curious November groundbreaking. Why would a project start just as the winter’s precipitation begins to gather? The simple answer is the Brethren were busy harvesting fruit in the fall. But in November, with the harvest over, the church body could finally begin work on their future home.


Donated labor would comprise the vast majority of the muscle required to build the church. As a result, the building would take longer than normal to complete. Indeed, it would be a full six years later, in December of 1929, when the congregation would finally dedicate their new house of worship.

The THIRD and final chapter of our church’s construction occurred in the months after its completion. The Brethren had thriftily built a striking church with only $30,000 of indebtedness (roughly $535,000 in today’s dollars). But debt was debt and sixteen of the congregants signed on as financial guarantors for the church.


Two months before the building’s dedication, on October 29, 1929, a stock market crash sent shockwaves throughout the national economy. This marked the beginning of the Great Depression. Locally, some orchardists lost their orchards, many wage earners lost their jobs, and the financial position of the church was deeply affected.


We are worshiping today because a few dedicated folks rescued the church from loss by mortgaging their own orchards and land. The debt on the church was finally retired in the late 1940’s.


TO BE CONTINUED…

 

In Honor of Jacqueline

Let's join together and honor the memory of Jacqueline Grace Parker, Joe and Kirsten Parker's beloved baby girl who passed away earlier this year. Read more about their story here.


Jacqueline was born at Seattle Children's Hospital and the Parker family received incredible care there during her brief precious life. Brandon Kunz, a friend and neighbor of the Parkers, will be swimming the entire length of Lake Chelan, 50 miles, on Friday, September 15. His goal is to raise $10,000 for Seattle Children's Hospital in honor and memory of Jacqueline and the Parker family. All donations will go to the Children's Greatest Needs Fund, supporting the most urgent and important needs of kids and families at Seattle Childrens.Read more about Brandon's swim and donate here. Thank you!

 


 

Lost and Found

Our Lost & Found closet is on the top floor, on your way to the balcony. If you've left something at the church, please go up and check this open closet and see if your stuff is in there. We'll be donating unclaimed items every 3 months.

 

Bulletin Board

If you have a personal need (like a job, or housing, etc.), an event you’d like to promote, or something you’d like our church body to be aware of, you can email carson@trinitywenatchee.orgfor us to review before posting.

  • Attention ladies 12 and up! Anyone interested in a women’s self-defense class taught by Chuck Holland one Saturday morning this fall? Contact Anni Evans if and she will coordinate a date. 509-670-6795

  • Two Ingalls Creek retreats are happening this month. Aging Well Voyage of Life retreat, September 17-20 for those in their retirement years. And Living Well Deepening Core Relationships retreat, September 29-October 1 for empty nesters and mid-late career.

 

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