Forest Grove Celebrates 100 years

August 01, 2010 | Bonnie Bolton

On March 13, the Forest Grove Church celebrated 100 years as an organized church in Forest Grove, Ore.

The Forest Grove Church was organized Feb. 5, 1910, with 14 members in a newly built facility at 1705 Cedar Street. The church building consisted of one large room used for adult Sabbath School and worship services, and two small rooms at the rear of the building for children’s classes. Near the entrance of the sanctuary was a potbelly stove that kept the church warm on cold days.

In May 1963, a three-acre parcel of land located on the corner of Pacific Avenue and Mountain View Lane was purchased from Ed Sye. Groundbreaking took place July 10, 1964, under the supervision of conference builder Merritt Crawford. After 10 months and many hours of volunteer labor, the new facility was completed. A consecration service was held May 22, 1965. Upon retirement of the land debt, the church's dedication took place on April 18, 1970, under the direction of Pastor Elmer Unterseher.

Early in 1972, as the membership continued to expand, a second building program got underway with Frank Phillips, pastor, in charge. Larger rooms for the lower Sabbath School divisions were added as well as a Sabbath School secretary’s office, library, a large community service room and janitorial space. In 1974, under Phillips' leadership, additional projects added a youth chapel, fellowship hall and kitchen.

Finishing touches were added under the direction of Gwenne Richardson, pastor from 1975–1978. In 2001, Glenn and Viola Walters generously offered to update the fellowship hall, kitchen and church exterior, as well as fund the addition of a chapel, recreation hall, restrooms and storage area. This work was completed, and the dedication took place on Jan. 24, 2004.