Waldport Members Build Church With Enthusiasm and Purpose

The Waldport Church on the Oregon Coast has spent more than eight months enthusiastically building their new church. Remarkably, every day, a group of men and women are on site, completing the "to do" lists a member carefully sends by e-mail to everyone. The young, old and "in between," the skilled, and those who know nothing about building can be found any day of the week (except on Sabbath) at the church working. They pound nails, run wire, install sprinkler systems, lay block, fetch tools, paint doors, or make a run to the building supply store. Women take turns bringing lunch each day of the week, while others pray for protection and peace over the project.

The new church began as a dream first vocalized in 1993. A group called the IDEA Committee met under the leadership of Dennis Pumford, then pastor. Land was purchased in 2005, on the west side of Highway 101, just north of the Alsea Bay Bridge. Milton Adams, a pastor, led in the acquisition of this beautiful property. It was decided Dick Springsteen, local member from Springsteen Builders, would be the contractor. In 2006 and 2007, local members worked diligently on building permits, building plans, site preparation, and pouring concrete in anticipation for Maranatha volunteers arriving in June 2007 to construct the 6,700-square-foot church.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on April 10, 2007. Invitations went to the Waldport mayor, City Council, Chamber of Commerce, pastors, other churches, and the local newspaper. Among those who spoke were Andy Wittenburg, pastor; Scott LeMert, Oregon Conference special assistant to the president; Herman Welch, Waldport mayor; and John Folk, church elder. LeMert was quoted in the South Lincoln County News saying, “This house will be a house of prayer for all people.” The event was well attended by the community and Waldport Church members. Welch thanked the church for serving the community with their “tremendous effort with food and clothing programs," referring to the church's active community services.

In June, more than 50 Maranatha volunteers gathered for about two weeks. Along with members, they worked from dawn until dinner, also enjoying meals and evening worships together. Maranatha old-timers say they had never seen so many members involved and as skilled take part in a construction project. Local members believe this is the Lord's house and He is helping them build it. Their motto has been Psalm 127:1, "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain to build it."

Waldport's first introduction to Adventists was in 1919 when Appel and Thurston, evangelists held meetings, but with no recorded converts. However, soon after, God raised up a group of believers. C. A. Purdom, pastor, and A. A. Walter, elder, met with believers in the Bayview School in Bayshore, on the north side of Alsea Bay. Interestingly, the new church is back in Bayshore where it began. On Dec. 31, 1921, the Waldport Church was officially formed with 15 charter members. At the time the only way from Waldport to Bayshore was to go across the bay by ferry. The bridge spanning the bay wasn’t completed until 1936. In 1923 the church moved its services across the bay in old town Waldport, until the first Adventist church was built on Broadway and Keady streets in the early 1950s. In 1973, the church began providing clothing for people in need and in 1985 they began the Food Share Program. Current worship services have more than 66 people, and along with the Community Service Center, everyone is sharing the old building until completion of the new facility.

Members have completed the exterior of the church, and recently erected a lighted white steeple, with a cross, over the sanctuary. The next large project is sheet rocking the interior. "At times we have felt overwhelmed by the enormity of this project," says Wittenburg. "But with the support and continued hard work of our members and God's blessings, we look forward to the completion of our new church so we can share the wonderful news of the gospel of Jesus Christ on the Oregon Coast." The entire church building story can be found online at??????

March 01, 2008 / Oregon Conference