Nampa Church Celebrates 100 Years
Idaho's Nampa Church began its 100thanniversary celebration on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019 with a communion service. Is there a better way to bring our focus to God, who made it all possible? Recognizing God’s hand throughout the years, the church chose the theme “We’ve Come This Far by Faith.”
In 1912, several Seventh-day Adventist members began meeting together in homes in Nampa. The group grew, and on Nov. 15, 1919, it organized as a church in the Idaho Conference with a charter membership of 36. They met in the Odd Fellows Hall with J.A. Norwood, Idaho Conference president, providing direction.
Over the next 26 years, they met in various rented locations. By 1929, the beginning of the Great Depression, membership had dropped to a low of 13. The church clerk recorded this statement in the records for that year: “We face the future with courage, knowing that the Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge.” Finally, in 1945, the members completed their first church building and dedicated it in March of the following year.
By 1975, the Nampa Church had outgrown their facility. Members Herman and Sylvia Jones donated property at the corner of Iowa Avenue and Checola Street. Their daughter, Marjorie Brown, was at the anniversary celebration and shared her memories of growing up in the Nampa Church. She sang an adaptation of the song “Bless This House” as part of the celebration.
Construction of the new church began in October 1977 and was completed in six months. The church was dedicated debt-free in 1981. Membership continued to grow. When Pacific Press Publishing Association moved to Nampa in 1984, many of its employees chose Nampa as their home church. Current church membership stands at 465.
Over the years, various renovations took place, including modifications on the narthex, aluminum siding and a major renovation of the interior in 2003. This included a 7-by-9 stained glass window designed by Nampa Church member Tim Larson and entitled “The Second Coming.”
Former pastors Curtis Miller, Jack Sequeira, Charles Ferguson, Stan Hudson and Ervin Furne shared memories with the members, either in person, by letter or by video, for the anniversary celebration. Other full-time pastors also served the church since it was organized: M.E. Hagen, Idaho Conference treasurer, served in addition to his conference responsibilities; A.E. Hemple, the first full-time pastor; Frank Rusche; Gordon Harris; Gordon Grear; R.A. Garner; Ralph Martin; Frank Bidwell; Floyd Smith; Don Kindig; and Ron Allen.
The church produced a commemorative booklet for the weekend, which included all the programs for the weekend and letters of congratulations from Ted N.C. Wilson on behalf of the General Conference; John C. Freedman, North Pacific Union Conference president; David Prest Jr., Idaho Conference president; Brad Little, Idaho governor; Debbie Kling, Nampa mayor; and current pastor Chris Evenson. Evenson, Freedman, Prest and Kling all participated in the Sabbath morning program. The Sabbath School lesson was a panel hosted by member Anthony Hibbert, who asked questions of Freedman, Prest and Charles Ferguson.
Pathfinders from the Nampa Zephyrs club collected the offering and assisted with the children’s offering. Jean Sequeira shared an exciting children’s story about a baboon eating their lunch and how God protected them. She chose one of the boys to play the role of the baboon, which he did with much imagination!
Reflecting the diversity of the Nampa Church members, the morning prayer was offered in three languages: Portuguese, Kinyarwandan and English. The Nampa Church says of itself that there are no cliques among their membership. They all truly enjoy being together.
The evening ended with a Nampa tradition – a concert! The baptism of two new church members reminded attendees that Nampa doesn’t grow just by transfers. A mix of spoken praise, congregational praise and musical selections provided a wonderful end to the celebration and to the Sabbath.
Members of all ages shared praise to God through their musical talents. The Nampa Church choir, vocalist Linnie Doyle, Joyful Bells trio, vocalist Doran Ritchey, His Majesty’s Children choir, cellist Natalie Christensen and flautist Laura Sámano were among those who participated. The Evenson family all participated, even 3-year-old Klara, who sang “Jesus Loves Me,” accompanied by her mother, Lisa, on the harp. Chris Evenson played a medley of “As the Deer" and "God and God Alone” on his saxophone.
As it had in 1975, the church has outgrown its current facility. Plans are underway to move to another location, one better suited to connect with the community of Nampa. Ministry to the community is a high priority for the members. They reconditioned a donated pickup truck and gave it to a young man (not a member) who needed it. Members have provided Diabetes Undone workshops, Full Plate Living classes, Fit and Fall Proof Exercise classes for the community and free Christmas gift wrapping at a local department store.
Clearly the Nampa Church family needs more space. More than 60% of the funds needed to accomplish this next step are in hand. The current church building is up for sale.
At the close of the Sabbath evening service, the praise team led the congregation in their theme song, “We’ve Come This Far by Faith" — a fitting closing and reminder that, without God, none of this would have been possible. He is with us, and He will provide.