THE HISTORY OF ESTACADA FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
1956 - Present
The early history of Estacada First Baptist Church actually began in the Estacada home of the Lundeen family. Gathered at the home with the Lundeen’s were Mr. & Mrs. Tomlinson, Chuck Pierce, Willis Reynar, and Martin Craft, who was the pastor of Community Church in Colton. Pastor Craft was a Baptist minister who had studied at Western Seminary, and he had already expressed his desire to leave his position at the Colton Church. Through a previous visit with Willis Reynar, Pastor Craft learned that there wasn’t a Baptist Church in Estacada. The two men discussed the possibility of forming a new church, and on November 18, 1956, this group gathered together regarding the prospects of beginning this new church, and a season of prayer was entered into, asking for guidance and the will of the Lord in the matter. So the seeds were sown.
The following week the same group met again at the home of the Tomlinsons, with the exception of Chuck Pierce and the Lundeens. On Thursday of that week, Martin Craft called on Mr. & Mrs. William Castile and Mr. & Mrs. Walter Stone concerning the formation of a New Testament Church, which he believed should be Conservative Baptist. They were all very enthusiastic about this, and the Stones graciously offered their home for prayer and church services. Thus the seeds had taken root, and Estacada First Baptist Church (EFBC) was born.
On December 9, 1956, Mr. & Mrs. Stone, Mr. & Mrs. Tomlinson, Mr. & Mrs. Reynar, Mr. & Mrs. Castile, Mrs. Lucille Harbert, Rev. & Mrs. Mugford, and Mr. & Mrs. Craft met for Bible study and prayer, which was led by Mr. Craft. Afterwards discussion ensued concerning the new church. At this time a decision was made to hold a Wednesday prayer service, and regular church services the following Sunday. During the Wednesday services, which were held between November 18 - December 9, prayers were offered up to the Lord, seeking His will for the church, and Scriptures pertaining to the early church and its administration were studied and discussed. On December 16, 1956, regular church services began, including Sunday school, and morning and evening worship. In addition, a youth program and Wednesday prayer services were added. Legal documents necessary to incorporate the church were filed with state and county offices in January, 1957, with Mr. Castile, Mr. Stone, and Mr. Reynar acting as the Incorporating Body.
It wasn’t long before the services at the Stone home began to get very crowded, and on February 10, 1957, the Lord blessed us by sending a special visitor. A certain Mr. Snow, of Tustin, CA., was visiting Mr. & Mrs. Craft at that time, and after attending the crowded church services he generously offered to pay the rent for the weekly use of the City Hall by the church. On March 13, 1957, a permanent set of bylaws was adopted and permanent officers elected. Twenty charter members voted to formally constitute themselves as a Conservative Baptist Church, and to affiliate with the local, state and national Conservative Baptist Church. Martin Craft was elected as the pastor for an indefinite tenure.
On April 14, 1957, associates from the churches of the Willamette Association met in Estacada City Hall for the purpose of recognizing the new Estacada church as a regular and independent body. It was then received into the fellowship as a Conservative Baptist Church. The church then began to seek a site on which to build in October, 1957. The growth of the church in 1957 was greatly affected by the construction of two dams on the Clackamas River, bringing the church numerous visitors. There were also very few gospel preaching churches in the area, which also affected growth.
In May, 1958, the church was once again blessed. The Tomlinsons owned three lots on Wade Street, and they generously donated the lots to the church. So a site on which to build was secured, and the long process of planning construction began. Pastor Craft was ordained on May 27th of the same year, but resigned on October 19, 1958. Charles Helms filled the pulpit part-time until 1959, and then became our full-time pastor until he resigned on September 18, 1960. The church was without a pastor until Rev. E. Stanley Hunt filled the pulpit on an interim basis on March 14, 1961. On Resurrection Sunday, April 2, 1961, Rev. Hunt conducted a ground-breaking service at the Wade Street site, with 30 people in attendance.
Rev. Hunt’s interim pastorate came to a close in February, 1962. The church was fortunate to have Frank Goertz, a missionary to Nigeria here on medical leave, temporary fill in until a permanent replacement could be found. On May 1, Rev. Harry Wilson began his position as our full time pastor. Under his ministry the church made the exciting move from the City Hall to our new Wade Street facility on November 25, 1962. After four long years, we finally had a facility. A sanctuary dedication was held with 100 people in attendance, with Rev. Hunt giving the address. In 1964, drawings were presented to the leadership for a new educational unit, and a property on Zobrist Street which would become the parsonage was purchased.
The church had a surge of growth in attendance in 1965 and 1966 due to the Job Corps. Many of the men came from the South, with a Southern Baptist background, and they were eager for the fellowship of a church, so busloads of enthusiastic visitors joined the weekly services.
Construction of the educational unit began in either April or May of 1966, and was completed on October 2, 1967. The church also purchased property from the Tomlinsons that year. The property was located at the NW corner of 5th and Zobrist, and was rented out for supplemental income for the church.
Pastor Wilson resigned on July 9, 1969, and Rev. Ken Burke filled the pulpit for a short term on October 19, 1969. He resigned on September 26, 1971. Gary Wennell then served an interim term that year. The church was without a pastor until September 1, 1972, when Herbert Munson became pastor. During his term the nursery was remodeled, the church purchased the lot behind the building on Wade Street, and the sanctuary was remodeled to seat 200 people. Upholstered pews were installed along with wall-to-wall carpeting. Pastor Munson was ordained November 21, 1974, but ended his service by resigning on December 1, 1974. A pulpit search committee was then formed to begin the process of finding our new pastor. Leo Cummings filled that position, and began service on April 15, 1975.
Many improvements were made to the church building during the next few years. Curbs and sidewalks were installed in 1967, along with the leveling of the back lot in 1977, and in 1978 landscaping was completed out front. This year also marked the beginning of the interim ministry of William Walson in evangelism and discipleship. In 1979, there was discussion of buying the Pulley property next door, which was eventually purchased in 1980, and the Tomlinson property at 5th and Zobrist was sold.
William Walson was ordained on May 11, 1980, just in time to replace Leo Cummings when he resigned on August 10, 1980. Despite the turnover in pastoral leadership, the Lord continued to bless us, and the church continued to grow. Brent Dodrill, our current pastor, was recruited as youth pastor in the summer of 1981. William Walson remained pastor until he resigned on July 21, 1985. Brent then became interim pastor from July 25, 1985 until November, 1986. He stayed on another year as youth pastor, and then left to fill a position in Baker City.
Forest Stine filled the pulpit on November 9, 1986. Many things were accomplished during this time. The lot in back of the church building was purchased and leveled to expand the parking lot, curbs and planters were added to the parking lot, and a steeple was installed. The sanctuary was re-roofed, and many things in the church building were updated. The Child Enrichment Center was started in September of 1989.
On August 31, 1992, Forest Stine resigned, and the Elders filled the pulpit until Brent Dodrill returned to the pastoral position on November 8, 1992. In March of 1993, The Lamb House was purchased, and remodel of the church building began in 1996 with a new roof on the sanctuary, and upgrading of the interior. Early in the morning on January 19, 1997, The Lamb House caught on fire. On March 14, 1997, the Child Enrichment Center was closed. Church attendance increased significantly between 1991 - 1997, with average attendance increasing from 88 to 179.
Masami Yamamoto joined the staff as an associate pastor working with youth and missions in March of 2001. The church voted to give Masami a pastoral license on March 23, 2003.
Many improvements were made to our church property including adding a new heating and AC system for the sanctuary, a new foyer and entrance with a ramp, plus the remodel of the restrooms and the addition of an ADA restroom. There was also a complete remodel of the kitchen. The new Constitution and Operation Plan was adopted in June, 2002.
The church launched a focused mission outreach to Tibetans in 2002. The first team traveled to NE India in July, 2002. Since then God has continued to open doors and two other teams continued this focus in March of 2003, and 2004. Another mission outreach team went to India and Tibet in March of 2013.
On September 11, 2008, Pastor Brent received a call from the fire department stating that someone had run their vehicle into the Worship Center, and it was on fire. Sadly, we lost the Worship Center that night, but fortunately the education unit was spared. That December there was flooding in the area, and the bottom area of the education unit was under water, so it had to be remodeled. During the clean-up and building of the new Worship Center we had the opportunity to touch the lives of many of the workers. At that time our worship services were held in the junior high auditorium. The Lord blessed us with many visitors, and our church family grew. One of our many blessings came directly through our brothers and sisters right in our own church family when it was discovered that the insurance money needed to rebuild the Worship Center was not going to be sufficient. Many of our own sacrificed to give, and we were able to rebuild and have a debt free Worship Center! Praise God! The remodel of the educational unit was also completed, and we were able to hold our very first worship service in our newly rebuilt sanctuary on Christmas Eve, 2010. What a wonderful Christmas gift to us all!
The church grew so much that we were in need of more room for the junior high and high school group, and also our Twelve Step ministry. The sanctuary had the capacity to seat 300 people, but we were already at the bursting point, so we opened up the Fellowship Hall upstairs for the overflow. The children’s ministry area had four small rooms, each at its capacity with a total of about 50 plus children, 25 of them in one room. We considered purchasing an onsite classroom trailer for the older children, when another opportunity presented itself. The Lord was looking out for us once again when an opportunity came to buy the Nazarene Church just down the street from our building in early 2011. A very fair selling price was presented, and once again the Elders went to the church family seeking their support to acquire the property. God once again blessed us by bringing in all the funds needed for the purchase of the building, and even extra to work on repairs the older building needed. The building, which we called The Center, would be used primarily for youth activities.
The Hispanic Church in the community then approached us to see if they could use the newly purchased building for their Sunday services, as they had no permanent church building of their own. This was agreed upon, and they began to use the building for their Sunday services, and we continued to use it for our youth activities. Eventually The Center was sold to the Hispanic Church.
In July of 2011 something totally unexpected and wonderful happened to Estacada First Baptist. The Elders of the Estacada Christian Church approached our Elders with the possibility of “gifting us” with their facility. For various reasons, their church on Eagle Creek Road was going to dissolve, and they determined that our church was a vital, growing body well representing the Lord in Estacada, Would we be interested in this proposition? The Elders informed the Covenant Members of this thrilling possibility, and it was agreed to accept their generous offer. Our new building is a beautiful facility, with too many amenities to even begin to describe, but the highlights include spacious classrooms, a huge, well-equipped kitchen, offices for all our paid staff, a gymnasium for the youth, locker rooms, and a Fireside Room, which is used for church fellowship dinners, and various activities. There is also a large seating capacity and plenty of parking, so we will have enough room for future growth.
After a period of remodel, and a lot of packing and moving, we finally were able to hold our very first worship service on Resurrection Sunday, March 24, 2012, with a record 500 plus in attendance. It is interesting to note that our first service in our newly-remodeled sanctuary on Wade Street after the fire was on Christmas Eve, and the first service in our new facility on Eagle Creek Road was on Resurrection Sunday, the two most celebrated dates on the Christian calendar! The Lord works in mysterious ways.
But the Lord wasn’t finished with us yet. He continued to bless us and the community as well. With our church family now in our beautiful, new facility, it was only natural that we would reciprocate the kindness shown us by gifting our Wade Street facility to another local church. The Assembly of God Church down the street from us was also experiencing growth and bursting at the seams, so it was decided to gift them with the Wade Street property. They accepted, and in turn gifted their old facility to the Pregnancy Resource Center. What a miracle this has all been! Through much adversity came much blessing. Our church family continues to grow and be actively involved in community outreach, baptizing many new converts, and continuing to share the love of Christ and occupying until He returns.
In 2014, EFBC added a new addition to our pastoral staff – Scott Rotrock as the part time Youth Pastor and in June of 2015 began full-time as our Pastor of Marriage and Families.