Chehalis Celebrates 100 Years of Ministry
Churches often celebrate special milestones in their history. Chehalis Church in Chehalis, Wash., just reached a monumental milestone: its 100th anniversary of ministry.
The centennial celebration in April welcomed back three generations of Chehalis pastors and witnessed pews full of former and current members.
Chehalis church was founded on May 25, 1918, in a little white building built on land donated from an Adventist member, Fred Scheuber.
“Edith Joy, first member of the Chehalis Church, was our neighbor on Twin Oaks Road,” remembers Claude Sterling, from Chehalis. “She sent my folks the Signs [Signs of the Times magazine]. My mother, being a solid Methodist, promptly put the Signs in the cookstove.”
When Sterling’s sister Betty died, his mother was distraught when the preacher at the funeral told them Betty was looking down from heaven on them.
“One day, the Signs came, and my mother started to put it in the stove, and she heard an audible voice that told her, 'Stop, open it,'” continues Sterling.
“What and where are the dead?” was boldly phrased on the cover of the Signs that day, and it was the icebreaker God needed to open the door to an evangelistic series at the church.
After the congregation outgrew the first church building, the church sold the property in 1946 to make more room. During this time of moving and expanding, a building ban was enacted due to post-war supply shortages in building materials. Their application was approved in 1947, and in 1948 they finished building. Their first service was held Sept. 11, 1948.
It was 40 years later when Chehalis leaders felt God prompting them to buy property on Chilvers Road in January 1984. Ten years after that, God opened the door for the congregation to begin building a new sanctuary on May 23, 1994.
In the midst of construction, a fire burned down the unfinished facility. The church rebuilt their sanctuary and hosted its first Sabbath service in the newly completed church on April 6, 1996. The congregation continues to meet and share ministry experiences — such as community concerts, health lectures, children’s programs and more — at this location.
During an interactive feature at the 100 years' celebration, Cliff Petersen and Truman Johnson were the longest-standing church members, having been associated with the church for more than 80 years. Petersen and Johnson were able to reminisce together about the early years.
“It’s humbling to be with a church that’s still growing strong 100 years later,” says John Mutchler, Chehalis Church pastor.