Bend Congregation Prepares Chapel In Memory of Former Pastor Sid and Holly Nelson

November 01, 2006 | Barbara Lodahl

The Bend Church congregation is nearing completion of an eight-year long commitment to build a new place to worship God and evangelize souls for His Kingdom.

They intend to dedicate their chapel/library to the memory of former pastoral couple Sid and Holly Nelson, who served the Bend Church from 1985 to 1994. They served longer than any other single pastoral team in the last 60-plus years.

For several years, Sid was sole pastor for not only Bend and Redmond, but also Gilchrist and Christmas Valley congregations before Elwood Starr was sent as his associate.

It was not unusual for Sid to preach for three of his congregations on any one Sabbath. He accomplished this by having early church in Redmond, the 11 o’clock service in Bend, and then flying south to Gilchrist or Christmas Valley in his own plane for afternoon church.

When they left Bend, it was to the Alaska Conference Interior where Sid’s love for flying and owning his own plane made him a perfect choice for shepherding scattered flocks of believers in the North Country. Sadly, five years later on July 14, 1999, while returning to Alaska from a trip south, their private plane crashed and they were killed.

This tragedy sent shockwaves all over the Northwest, Alaska and the South Pacific Islands where Sid and Holly ministered during their more than 39 years of service to the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Sid and Holly Nelson were warm and giving people and exemplary, living testimonies of the Bend Adventist Church mission: “To Know Jesus, To Reflect His Character, and To Serve Others.” They loved Central Oregon and kept their home there when they left for Alaska. It had been their plan to return after their retirement. This led longtime Bend members to ask the church board to dedicate the lovely chapel/library space in memory of this humble, gracious pastoral couple. The board approved this request as well as the Nelson's children Paul, David and Ruth.

The chapel is a 27 x 28-foot space with four lovely arched windows immediately to the left of the main entrance. This space will be able to accommodate personal and group Bible studies, as well as smaller weddings or funerals. The church plans to furnish this area with handsome cabinetry, padded seating, a wall-mounted flat screen TV and other accessories.

Though their accident happened before they could return to this church fellowship, the church hopes that dedicating this chapel to their memory will give their children and others who loved them a special place to visit and reflect on their example of selfless ministry.