History of the Missouri Valley Christian Church

1883 to 1933


About the year 1860, an organization of the Church of Christ was effected at what is now known as the Raymond school house, north of this city. This being just previous to the Civil War, and on account of the ex­citement of the war and because of removals etc., the or­ganization went down. Prior to 1883 there was no organ­ization in the vicinity of Missouri Valley, if in Harrison County.

In the spring of 1883, James Conron, a preacher of no mean ability, who had been out to Denver, Colo., to visit a son and was on his way home to Keokuk, Iowa, stopped off to visit a friend, J. H. Darting, who had been a member of the former organization mentioned above. During his stay at Brother Darting’s, arrangements weremade to hold a short meeting at the Boyer Valley School House. During these meetings there were 8 or 10 who made the confession and were baptized in the Boyer River.

About May the first, an organization of the Church of Christ was effected at the Boyer Valley School House with J. H. Darting and G. W. Frazier as elders and George Darting and Samuel Frazier as deacons. A. E. Bessire was chosen as clerk and Samuel Frazier as treasurer.

The new converts together with those who had been members of the former organization comprised 47 charter members. James Conron was retained as pastor for one fourth of his time at $150 dollars per year.

In August, following the organization of the church, J. H. Painter who was then State Evangelist was secured to hold a revival meeting. These meetings were held part time in Boyer Valley School House and part time in Frazier School House, north of this city.

Results were 57 additions. Arrangements were made to make Missouri Valley the regular place of meet­ing. The Fireman’s Hall was rented at $150 per annum. E. L. Posten was called to the pastorate of the church, he to live in Missouri Valley, give one half of his time to the local church and the other half to be divided between Logan and Woodbine, Iowa. Brother Posten was considered one of the good preachers of the state, a large man phy­sically and considerable of an orator in the pulpit. His salary was $800 for the full time. Brother Posten re­mained pastor for two years. One meeting was held during the first year of his pastorate by J. H. Painter, the state evangelist. During these meetings, which were held in the Fireman’s Hall, about 30 were added to the church. During the first year of Brother Posten’s ministry, the church made good progress. The second year, however, was not so good. At the end of the second year the finances began to be embarrassing and the board concluded to employ a cheaper preacher. D. J. Howe was secured as pastor at $300 per year for one half of his time. The Baptist Church was secured at $100 per year rental.

This brings us to the fall of 1886, at which time the church was without a regular pastor until the winter of 1887, when a Brother Hurd became pastor for a short time.

After one year in the Baptist Church, the Fireman’s Hall was again secured at $150 per annum. During the summer of 1887 the church board was notified by the City Council that the church would have to vacate the Hall, as the city would have use for it. This was a hard jolt on the church as no other suitable place could be secured. A short time before this, however, the Church had man­aged to buy a lot at the corner Fourth and Superior Street. But a lot without a building was not much help.

About this time, the board heard of a preacher, carpenter, evangelist, employed by the State Board of Nebraska to work among the weak churches of Nebraska and where possible to build a church building. The Board wrote to him to see if he could come over into Iowa to build a church. His reply was, he could come but could not be supported by the Church Board of the State of Nebraska. But if the church at Missouri Valley would pay him $;$5 per week, he would come over and see what could be done. The board wrote for him to come. He landed in Missouri Valley one morning, talked to some of the members of the church, some of the business men of the town, also the lumbermen, brickyard men and the masons. He preached in the Hall that night, called a meeting of the Hoard, for the next morning, and told the Board he could build a church building in Missouri Valley but it would have to be built in a hurry as we would need help from the outside and would have to show them that we meant business, As 1 remember it, it was sometime in October, and on Christmas Day the church was dedicated free of debt, at a cost of $1,400 dollars.

This brings us now to the fall of 1888. The church now had a building, but still without regular pastor. The membership was about 100, the Sunday School in good condition, the enrollment perhaps 150. Times were hard, membership poor and we were not able to employ a pastor.

The fall of 1888, the State Board was again called upon for help in a revival meeting and J. B. Vawter, State Evangelist was sent to our assistance. Brother Vawter was a great preacher and a power in the pulpit. He held a five week’s meeting with 77 additions, nearly all adults, and most all middle aged people. Eight men went forward one night. Brother Vawter said it was the best meeting of his life. The church was now able to pay $1000 per year salary.

A. B. Cornell was now called to the pastorate of the church. Brother Cornell was considered one of the good and successful pastors of the state and few received a larger salary. He remained pastor for about three years. One meeting was held during his ministry with the church, he doing the preaching and had no assistance. Fifty-five were added during the revival. Brother Cornell was an organizer. He reorganized the Church Board, and organized the first choir. He was a hard worker. At the time he resigned he was pulling almost the whole load. He was pastor, elder, chairman of the board, choir leader, Sunday School Superintendent, and taught a class. It can be said of him, he was a successful pastor. He resigned to become pastor of East Side Church, Des Moines, Iowa. About 100 were added to the church during his ministry.

This brings us to the year 1892. T. L. Reed now became pastor. Brother Reed remained pastor for one year. During this period a tent meeting was held, east of the church, by that cyclone evangelist, with the voice of thunder, W. H. Bowles of Illinois. Brother Bowles was a great orator. It was not necessary for people living within one block of the tent, to go to the tent. They could hear him from their homes, Brother Bowles held seven weeks meeting and fifty-seven were added to the church.

Shortly after the resignation of T. L. Reed, George Mussen of Ohio became pastor. Brother Musson was quite an able preacher in the pulpit. He preached good sermons but they were not as effective for the fact that’ he could not find a good place to stop. He remained pastor two years. No meetings were held during his pastorate. A few, five, were added to the church at regular services.

The finances of the church at this time again became burdensome, and the church was forced to go a few months without a regular pastor. About this time, the fall of 1896, a young evangelist Willhite, came to Missouri Valley and offered to hold a meeting for the free will offering. During this meeting some 50 were added to the church.

Shortly after this, a young preacher from Drake University, James Johnson was called to the pastorate of the church. Brother Johnson remained pastor about one year. One meeting was held during his pastorate. He was assisted in this meeting by a Brother Caudel of Council Bluffs.

This brings us to the year 1898. At this time the church was again without a pastor, for a few months. In the spring of 1898, an evangelist by the name of Speck with a singer by the name of Birdsall, came to Missouri Valley and offered to hold a tent meeting for the church, and accept a free will offering for their services. During this meeting some thirty were added to the church. If I remember correctly, the church had never heard of these evangelists, and do not know that the church ever heard from them afterwards.

About this time a young preacher by name of Mellenger, a student at Cotner University, served as pastor for one year.

In 1899, J. F. Adair became pastor of the church and served about 3 years. Brother Adair was a very fine man, a good preacher and did not require a large salary, $600 a year. He paid his own rent, and lived as well as some preachers at a much larger salary. While the church did not make great progress during his ministry, he left the church in good spiritual condition.

Shortly after the resignation of Brother Adair, a Brother John Williams became pastor, only remaining pastor for about six months.

This brings us now to the year 1902. At this time the church went into sleeping quarters. From the years 1902 to 1907, the church was without a regular pastor, with the exception of about one year, when Brother Higbee, of Logan, served in that capacity. Brother Higbee was quite old, and came to Missouri Valley with the understanding that he would take the offerings and when the church could secure a more able pastor, they would owe him nothing.

During these years of inactivity; the church was supplied part time by Dr. Carter, of Council Bluffs and also by a young preacher, J. H. Carter, also of Council Bluffs. Some time during these years of 1902 to 1907, the state board sent Evangelist Chambers, to hold a short meeting, but nothing was accomplished.

Later on a Brother McKenzie was also sent by the State Board to try to revive the work. But, the church seemed to be sound asleep, and it took time to arouse it from its slumber.

The spring of 1907, the State Board sent W. S. Johnson to hold a short meeting and try to awaken the church to action. Brother Johnson was a big man physically and a good preacher. He was a hard worker, held a three weeks meeting, did considerable personal work, and started the church on the up grade. Through his advice, M. C. Hutchinson was secured as pastor.

Brother Hutchinson was a bright young man, a graduate of Drake University, a man with a vision. His salary was $1000 per year. The State Board paid $100 and the church S900. Soon after Brother Hutchinson became pastor, things began to happen. Arrangements were made to hold a tent meeting on Sixth Street, where the Standard Oil Station now stands. Brother W. S. Johnson was again secured as Evangelist and with a Brother McRae of Des Moines as singer. This meeting was a success; some 35 were added to the church. The second year of Brother Hutchinson’s ministry, arrangements were made to hold a meeting in the Opera House, with J. W. Lockhart as evangelist. He was assisted by a singer whose name I have forgotten, but remember he was considerable of a grouch. During this meeting 57 were added to the church, some of the best people of the community. In a letter received from Brother Hutchinson, a short time ago, he spoke of the Jones’, Skeltons’, Greene’s Reel’s and others, that came in the church during the Lockhart meeting. During Brother Hutchinson’s ministry, he got the church interested in securing a lot which was better located for a new Church Building. The lot where this church now stands was purchased at a cost of $3300, and was paid for during his pastorate. About 100 were added to the church during his ministry. Brother Hutchinson was kind, sympathetic, and spiritual. At the end of three years, he resigned to become pastor of the church at Burlington, Iowa.

This brings us to the year 1910. At this time Brother B. H. Whiston became the pastor. He was a good preacher and a fine singer. Nothing much was accomplished during his ministry of one year, except the building of a tabernacle on the lot where this building now stands, A short meeting was held during his pastorate, he doing the preaching. Thirty-seven were added to the church.

The spring of 1912, Brother W. D. Crewdson became pastor of the church. The first year of Brother Crewdson’s ministry was spent in getting acquainted with the membership and conditions. At the beginning of the second year, was begun the greatest undertaking in the history of the church, the building of the present structure. It was dedicated December 14th, 1913, by W. B. Crewdson, D. N. Hardy being the Architect and Builder. Brother Dow writes me, that at the time he became pastor, the membership was about 150, and the close of his pastorate about 500. Four meetings were held during Brother Crewdson’s pastorate; One by J. B. Burton of Des Moines, one by Chas. Early, one by John Hauser, and one by W. B. Crewdson. In point of additions, this meeting by Brother Crewdson was the greatest meeting ever held by the church. 125 were added to the membership, 30 husbands and wives came in during this meeting. Brother Dow organized the Loyal Men’s and Women’s Classes. The Men’s Class started with 12 members. When Brother Crewdson left, the enrollment of the Men’s Class was 129 and the Woman’s 135. Brother Crewdson taught the Men’s Class and Sister Sears the Loyal Women. Brother Crewdson was pastor for four and one-half years. It can be said of him; he was a thinker, an organizer, a planner, and he did his work well. At the close of Brother Crewdson’s pastorate, Brother Edgar Price became pastor.

Dr. Price had just closed a very successful 10 years with the Council Bluffs Church. He came to Missouri Valley somewhat impaired in health and could not do as aggressive work as he had done with other churches. However, considerable progress was made in the finances of the church. When he became pastor there was indebtedness at the bank of $3,000. This amount was raised and the note taken up. The parsonage was bought and paid for, at cost of $5,000. Dr. Price was pastor 6 years. Four meetings were held during his ministry, two by himself, one by W. B. Crewdson and one by F. K. Hargrove. During Brother Price’s ministry 153 were added to the church. Dr. Price was a good man and an able preacher. He was kind and sympathetic. Had it not been for his poor health, no doubt much more could have been accomplished. He only lived about two years after he left Missouri Valley, Iowa. This history must say of him, he was a true man of God.

Victor F. Johnson became pastor of the church, January 1, 1923, and remained pastor 6 years and 2 months. During that time six revival meetings were held. Brother Johnson has the distinction of doing the preaching in all of these meetings. However, he was assisted by the following singing evangelists: in the first meeting by Brother and Sister E. G. Tuckerman, the second by Sister Stickler of Shenandoah, Iowa, and in the last four meetings by Brother and Sister C. M. Howe. I do not know the exact number of additions during each of these meetings. But, as nearly as I could determine the lowest number of additions in any meeting was 15 and the largest number 57. The average yearly number of additions during the pastorate of Brother Johnson was 26. The total number of additions during his ministry was 158. The Sunday School had some attendance contests with the North Side Christian Church of Omaha, Nebr., during Brother Johnson’s pastorate. It was during these contests that the Bible School reached the high mark of 557 attendance. Brother Johnson taught the Men’s Class during his ministry. During the contests with the Omaha Church, the Men’s Class reached the high mark of 100 in attendance. During this period some improvements were made on the parsonage and also the church. The church was redecorated at a cost of something like $425. Steam heat was put in the basement and some other minor improvements were made. I think it would be well to note here, that Brother Johnson had been with the church just 4 months, when the break came in Sister Johnson’s health. Of course, this must have had a very significant bearing on the whole of his ministry here. No one knows, unless they have passed through a similar experience, of the anxious hours, long days and sleepless nights, that Brother Johnson must have passed through during these years.

After the close of Brother Johnson’s pastorate, the church was without a pastor for a few months. In August 1929, S. D. Harlan was called as minister to the church. During his pastorate, one meeting was held, Brother Harlan doing the preaching, assisted by Brother and Sister C. M. Howe as singing evangelists. Brother Harlan was a hard and willing worker in every department of the church. He thought it well to make calls on the membership of the church, and during the first seven months of his ministry made over 400 personal calls. Brother Harlan’s pastorate was of short duration, about one year. Of course, not much could be accomplished in such a short time. It can be said of him; he preached good sermons, prepared them well, and was prompt in all of his church activities. One of his characteristics was to close his sermon on the dot, 12 o’clock.

ABOUT October 1, 1930, Dr. G. W. Bullock became pastor of the Missouri Valley Church of Christ. He began his pastorate at the beginning of the most awful depression this country has ever passed through. Missouri Valley being a railroad town and many of the church members being railroad employees, it has caused the finances of the church to suffer greatly. During Brother Bullock’s pastorate of two and one half years, his salary has been cut five times. He has shown a good spirit in taking the cuts, and has made the remark that if it was necessary, he would take more cuts. On account of the prevailing times, no special meetings have been held, during Brother Bullock’s ministry, but a practice has been made of featuring special days which have encouraged good attendance at both Bible School and Morning Services. At the regular services of the church, 91 additions have been made. The membership now is about 400.

I feel that I would not do justice to this history, in not speaking of the part the Church Board has had in the activity of the church. Preachers may plan, may think, and may organize, but the responsibility, especially of the finances of the church, rests on the shoulders of the Church Board. Because the finances of the church are different from most other organizations, they require more wise management. I say different; the finances of this government are secured by taxation, pay your taxes or lose your property. The finances of the great insurance companies of this country are secured by assessment, pay your assessment or lose your policy. The finances of the lodges are secured by dues, pay your dues or you are dropped. But, the finances of the church are not by taxation, not by assessment, not by dues, but by free will offering. I believe it was in the mind and purpose of God, that it should be so; that the poor might have the same opportunity, the same privileges as the well to do and rich. Because the finances are different, because it is a free will offering, it requires more wise management on the part of the Church Board. I wonder, sometimes if the membership and preachers appreciate the efforts, the service, which the Board renders by giving of their time, their thought, for the welfare of the church, without ever receiving a penny for so doing. Looking back over the 50 years, I feel the Board has done its part well. Two churches have been built, and a good parsonage bought; these buildings at a cost of several thousand dollars; and today all the property of the church is free of debt.

I feel also that the choir should have special mention in this history. While the personnel of the Choir have been changed perhaps many times during the 50 years they have given of their time, their talent, and they have been an inspiration, and a wonderful help to the church.

I do not want to take your time to mention the different auxiliaries of the church, but cannot refrain from speaking of the wonderful help the Ladies Aid has been in the finances of the church. They are a department that always has money, and have been willing to come to the rescue in any financial trouble.

Now in conclusion, the church has always been conservative, careful in its business transactions, and always stood four square for the old Book. During the 50 years the doors of the Sunday School have never been closed, with the exception, I believe, of a few Sundays when the flu was so bad in Missouri Valley. The communion services, with few exceptions, have been observed each Sunday during the 50 years.

Out of 47 charter members only 8 are still living, and are as follows: Mrs. Samuel Frazier, Logan, Iowa; C. F. Johnson, Logan, Iowa; Mrs. A. E. Shaw, Denver, Colorado; Mrs. Orpha Moose, Tacoma, Washington; Dr. Sarah Montan, Mawchula, Florida; Mrs. Mary Frazier Suitor, of Nebraska; Mrs. Luella Martin of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, whose membership is still with the Missouri Valley church; and the writer. If history repeats itself, 50 years from now, out of 400 members, there will be just 8 members of this congregation still living here. Starting now, at the beginning of the next 50 years, this church will have far greater opportunity and perhaps greater responsibility.

I am not a prophet or the son of a prophet, but let me prophecy a little; I wonder how many of the younger members of this congregation will remember these words of prophecy. This church building in 50 years from now should extend to the alley west. The Sunday School enrollment should be 800 and the membership 1,000.

This history was prepared by A. E. Bessire, Charter member of the Church of Christ, Missouri Valley, Iowa.

1933 to 1983

In 1933, at the time of the 50th anniver­sary, Brother George Bullock was minister. He had begun his ministry here in 1930. These were the depression years. Many times his salary was paid by the Ladies Aid from money secured from food sales and bazaars. Brother Bullock left in 1934.

In 1934, B. H. Coonradt began his ministry with us. Times were still hard but the work progressed. Some repairs and improvements were made on the building—the missionary work in education and giving was commendable. The special campaigns of preaching services resulted in a large number of confessions of faith, several of which led to decisions to give full-time service to the Lord’s work. Among these were the McElroy boys, Leonard Bertelsen, and Everett Epperson; all of whom have remained faithful and have become outstanding men of God.

At the close of Brother Coonradt’s ministry in 1938, Everett Epperson served as student preacher from June of that year until January 1, 1939.

The year 1939 was the first of five for Brother John Boldon as minister with the Church of Christ here in Missouri Valley. During his ministry there were 98 additions to the Church. The small electric organ (an Orgatron) was purchased and plans were made to replace the theater seats with new pews. The first “$5 dinner” was held to raise money for this project. The Boldon’s son LeRoy began preparations for the ministry while they were here. In 1944, the Boldons moved to LeRoy,   Illinois.

It was a bitter cold day in January 1944 when 0. S. Lincoln arrived with his large family. Brother Lincoln had become a minister at age 40. Prior to that time he was an International Harvester Implement represent­ative out of Council Bluffs.

During Brother Lincoln’s ministry, 86 new members were added to the church. He conducted revival meetings in Mondamin and Hamburg during his vacation. He conducted 53 funerals, 21 weddings, and made 800 calls in more than 250 homes. During these years, plans for the pews were changed to include remodeling. The blueprints were obtained.

Another highlight of Brother Lincoln’s ministry here during World War II was the weekly trip of all public grade school children to the church building for a period of singing choruses and hearing a Bible lesson.

0. S. and Flossie Lincoln had 8 highly talented musical children: Florence, Opal (Mrs. Don Gee), Ruth (Mrs. Bob Andrews), Doris (Mrs. J. M. Dancy), Lois (Mrs. Paul Benjamin), Roy, Jim, and Helen.

The Lincoln Family left Missouri Valley in June 1946 to take work at Aberdeen, So. Dakota.

Mrs. Flossie Lincoln lives in Centralia, Missouri and in 1984 is 86 years old. She is active as health permits and plays the piano weekly for residents of a nursing home.

During the summer of 1946, Ronald McCracken, a student from Johnson Bible College, served our congregation as preacher.

In September, 1946, Harold D. Platt began his service with our congregation. During his ministry there were 52 baptisms, 13 additions by transfer, 59 funerals, and 28 weddings. Probably the biggest project of the time was the alteration of the building from the old circular auditorium and other remodeling with no bills outstanding and also the new pews etc. In March of 1947, the west side of town was flooded and the building was without heat so that one Sunday of services was canceled. As soon as the heat was available, the church was the center for the Typhoid immunization program.

The Timothy Rally in August of 1948 served as a focus to the fact that so many fine young men were in the ministry, for the entire preaching program of the three days was in the hands of the five Timothies. Those five men were J. E. McElroy, L. W. Bertelsen, Everett Epperson, B. L. McElroy, and Leo Epperson.

Two meetings were held during Brother Platt’s ministry. The first, a most interesting one, was by Guy Howard the “Walking preacher of the Ozarks”. The second one was unique because it was held in the basement during the remodeling process.

In April, 1950, Brother Platt moved to Auburn, Nebraska, and Rex Turner moved to Missouri Valley from Scranton, Iowa. His seven years were fruitful ones. He was an energetic young man with a beautiful tenor voice. He was a great addition to the choir and directed it for several years after Dolle Neitzsch had to give it up because of ill health.

He was very civic minded and was held in high regard by the entire community. He spearheaded the successful campaign to obtain the Community Memorial Hospital and was chairman of the hospital trustees. Brother Turner also served as the local Red Cross Representative and helped with the flood disaster and helped families with men fighting in Korea.

During his ministry, over 200 people were added to the Church by baptism with over 30 transferring their membership. The Bible School attendance greatly increased. The 1950 average was 128, and 1957 was 250. There were building improvements; the new steps, front and back, with wrought iron railings and lamps, the rewiring of the building and the new lights, new chairs and tables and a new baptistry, the purchase of the Hammond Organ, and the communion set.

The option on the parsonage was taken during this time. Giving was increased to missions as well as the regular offering. Four more young men entered the ministry.

In the second year of Mr. Turner’s ministry here, the Philothean Class began within the Bible School. They first met in the hall at the top of the stairs in the west part of the Church. As the class grew larger they met in the north balcony. A nursery was added at the east end of the balcony adjoining the classroom. After the educational unit was built they began meeting in the chapel and have continued to meet there since.

On the second Sunday of every month the class met for a covered dish dinner at the parsonage on Superior Street and then later met in the Church basement. Through the years they have continued to meet every second Sunday for a dinner or picnic in the summer. For many years  at  the  December meeting  fruit and cookie plates were made for the elderly and shut-ins of the congregation.

The first teacher was Rex Turner, followed by Byron Clark, Harold John, and Charles Olsen.

The Turners left August 31, 1957 to minister to the Draper Park Christian Church in Oklahoma City. And in 1983, after the death of her husband, Rex, Helen is living in Norfolk, Nebraska, and works as a free-lance writer.

At this point we shall mention that Nebowa Christian Camp began in 1950. Until that time, our young people traveled far for Christian Service Camp.

During the ministry of B. H. Coonradt, camp was held in Worthington, Minnesota. It was called Minn-Ia-Dak.

There were no camps held during the war years.  Several attended camp at Dolliver State Park near Fort Dodge, Iowa.  Following that, some of the young people went to camp at the Dana College Campus in Blair, Nebraska.

Nebowa Christian Camp was built in 1950 under the leadership of Everett Epperson. He is still manager of the camp and spends much time promoting it. The camp is located on the east side of Blue Lake, Onawa, Iowa.

Prior to the purchase of the church bus and van, members of the congregation provided transportation to and from camp. Many young people have been baptized and commitments for full time Christian service have been made as a result of attending these camps.

In the fall of 1957, Albert Delbridge came from Cherokee, Iowa to be our minister. After his arrival, the present parsonage was purchased and plans were made for an education addition to the Church building.

The Educational unit of the church was started in 1961 at an estimated cost of $30,000.00. Otto Christiansen donated blocks for the basement and also laid them. The church hired a man to mix cement for him. The first and second floors were let out for contract. The building was completed in 1962. The total cost of the materials and the con­tractor was $37,927.00. This did not include many, many hours of donated labor by church members who installed wiring, cabinets, cup­boards, and lights. It was estimated that it would take years to pay for the building; but a number of members purchased bonds, the last of which was paid in 1966. The building fund was started at approximately $1,900.00. Several members purchased $15,000   in Church bonds.

During the fourteen years of the Delbridge ministry, many education programs began to use the new facilities.

The Live Wire Class remembers Albert as a fine teacher. Ethel, his wife, served as Christian Education director for a time, also church secretary, Primary Church coordinator, and youth choir director (Sing Out).

Also, during these years, Ruth Emrich served as Christian Education director for a while. Ruth now lives in Honolulu with her husband and family. Dennis Richards served as a summer student intern during 1965.

Albert and Ethel Delbridge have 4 children: Phyllis (Mrs. Gary Brown), Nancy (Mrs. Art Wallis), Kenneth, and Mark. Albert and Ethel serve the church in Edinburg, Indiana, where they have again helped build a new church building.

In 1972, the Delbridges moved to Parsons, Kansas; and Don and June Robinson and family began a five and one-half year ministry coming from Ft. Benton, Montana.

Don’s dynamic preaching and ministry of love led the Church family to grow, both spiritually and numerically. Don and June’s outreach to young people, and June’s countless hours of counseling prompted many young people to active involvement in the Church.

Included in their ministry were such activities as Youth City, Good News Hour, Three Nights at the Cross, Evening Church in the Country, Ladies Retreats, Sing-Out, Youth trips, and we purchased a bus.

The Ladies’ Retreats have been blessings to those sharing. Some of the retreats are summarized:

1975              Look Up to Live—Camp of the Risen Son,
Louisville,  NE.   Lessons led by June
Robinson and Patti Bertelsen.

1976              Christian Character Traits—Central Iowa
Bible Camp, Earlham, IA.  Lessons led by June Robinson & Patti Bertelsen.

1977              To Care, To Touch, To Lift—Camp Nebowa,
Onawa,  IA.   Guest speaker:   Gerianne
Chamberlain, Janesville, WI.  Workshops
led by June Robinson, Loretta Bertelsen,
Roxie Pasko, and Patti Bertelsen.

1978              God’s Loving Plan for You—Camp River-
crest, Fremont, NE.    Lessons led by
June Robinson & Patti Bertelsen.

1979              1977 Faith Plus—Camp Rivercrest, Fremont,NE. Group leaders were Elsa Deupree, Debbie Brownell Marcum, Linda Speake, and June Robinson.

Because of Don and June Robinson’s love for young people, youth trips were taken. In 1972, young people traveled to the Kiamichi Mountains for Christ in Youth Conference. June Robinson traveled with the young people.

In 1973, thirty-four young people traveled to Christ in Youth Conference in Oklahoma. June Robinson, Art Wallis, Bill & Doris Sproul, and Richard & Shirley Wilson traveled along as sponsors.

In 1974, again the young people traveled to Oklahoma for Christ In Youth conference. Sponsors that year were June Robinson, Sonny & Dee Campbell.

In 1974, the youth group traveled to Rocky Mountain National Park for study and fun. June Robinson and Patti Bertelsen led lessons from Jesus’ sermon on the Mount. Sponsors were June and Patti, Don and Loretta Bertelsen. (Don saw a moose, while he went for gas, when they had bus trouble.)

In 1976, the youth group traveled to Pine Haven Christian Service Camp in Minnesota. June & Patti led lessons on Christian Character traits. Sponsors that year were June, Patti, and Don Robinson.

In 1977, the old blue bus again made a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. Leonard Johnson and LaVerne Rodewald manned the wheel, changed the oil, replaced the oil pan, and kept smiling. June & Patti led lessons on setting goals.

Upon her arrival, June Robinson was asked to direct the Sing-Out choir that Ethel Delbridge had begun.  June consented.

In 1972, the choir provided much special music, both at home and at area churches. The choir of young people was the first worship hour’s choir with 28 members.

The choir pre­sented the musical, “One Way”. Thirty-six young people shared the message of Jesus with a dozen area churches in 1973.

In 1974, Sing-Out prepared a play, “What Does It Really Mean?” In addition to present­ing the play here at home, they performed at the youth session of the Iowa Christian Convention.

In 1977, Dennis & Mary Lou Richards directed the choir. They prepared the musical, “Story Tellin’ Man”. These eighteen young people once again shared the ministry of Jesus and parables.

In 1978, the Robinson family headed west to begin a ministry with McKinley Park Christian Church in Tacoma, Washington. Don shares some highlights of their ministry in Missouri Valley:

Developing Youth Cit with mayor, council members, etc. Whirlybirds, Jet Cadets, Alpha Teens, and   the Omegans. Good leadership made it go.

Good News Hour became very special and we hit 150+ several times with special programs.

June's involvement with Sing-Out was a neat highlight.

Sunday nights in the Country in the summer time were special   as we went to farm homes and had great fellowship.

The openness of the parsonage to a multitude of families for lunches, dinners and other special occasions was very helpful   too.

Ten young people at N.C.C. at one time was a special thrill.

Obtaining the old Blue Bus for trips to Oklahoma, Colorado,      and Minnesota, as well as local use was another memory.

—Beginning a Sunday morning Bible Class at the Nursing Home.

Opening our home to two foster children.

Helping in the beginnings of Iowa Christian College as a   director.

Being involved in recognition of Everett & Louise Gochenour.

Greatest highlight was being able to preach God’s message to God’s people and to love people dearly.

Don Robinson

In May, 1977, Patti Bertelsen resigned her position as Christian Education director to prepare for her ministry in Taiwan. She left in July for Lo-Tung, Taiwan to serve as a teacher/missionary with Ted and Bev Skiles, who directed an orphanage there. Patti’s primary responsibilities were to teach the Skiles children their regular schooling, but Patti also taught English and Bible three nights a week to Chinese adults.

The Church faithfully supported Patti for the 10 months she served in Taiwan. Patti returned home in May, 1978, and then served with Deaf Missions in Council Bluffs from August,   1978 to April,   1981.

June Robinson served as Patti’s forwarding agent  and  shares   this   report:  

One of the most beautiful evidences of mission support I have seen was carried out by the people of Missouri Valley Church of Christ and some people from the surrounding churches when Patti Bertelsen went to Taiwan to serve in the “Home of God’s Love.”

Patti was a bit shy, but clearly stated her needs.                 As a result, in    just one appeal, the total amount of money was raised for her support. There had been good communication by Patti in explaining her goals, and how she hoped to achieve them. So people wrote their intention of giving (not a pledge) on a card so we could know just how much income to expect. Never once, to my knowledge, did anyone fail to give toward Patti’s support. On the contrary, we received ample money to pay her way home and about two months’ support after she arrived home. It was a beautiful relationship. A love for Patti, because of her love for God, and excellent communication were the keys to the success of that missionary venture.

An advisory board consisting of Bob & Marcita Brown, Don & Loretta Bertelsen, and Don & June Robinson enjoyed working together with Patti in making decisions for the mission.

During the time of giving $500 a month for Patti’s support (Most of which came from the Missouri Valley church) the general fund offerings not only held their own, but increased. Our God said, “Give and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” Luke 6:38

June Robinson

In May of 1977, Debbie Davis of Nederland, Texas came to fill the position of Christian Ed Director and Church secretary. She worked primarily with the Primary and Junior age children.

During the months of January through June, 1978, John Luther of Council Bluffs preached in the absence of a full-time pastor. John’s warm and caring personality produced a special relationship between him and the Missouri Valley Christians.

Then in July, 1978, Ken & Vicki Cooper and three small children arrived from Arvada, Colorado, to serve in Missouri Valley.

Brother Cooper’s focus on teaching led to a new Bible Study. A men’s Study Breakfast started and meets every first and third Saturday of the month at 6:30 a.m. The study is a blessing for those who attend.

Also, the education of young people widened through the formation of a Bible Bowl team. On October 3, 1982, the first Church-sponsored Bible Bowl study was initiated.

The National Bible Bowl Committee had selected the books of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth as the books to study for competition. A total of 9 young people studied with us. The group dwindled down to 3 regulars by March, 1983. These three were named the ABC team: Tim Allen, age 13, Laurie Bertelsen, age 17; and Bruce Coddington, age 13.

The team attended 5 competitions, including the Nebraska Christian College Bible Bowl Tournament in Norfolk, NE on March 11-12. Our team did very well at all competitions, showing how hard they had studied and how faithful they were in attending the study classes. Bible Bowl is a very challenging and difficult organ­ization and the young people who participated during the year are to be commended. They now have a greater Bible knowledge and, we pray, a deeper faith in our Great God. We are looking forward to many years of Bible Bowl in the Missouri Valley Church of Christ.

Bible Bowl sponsors were Patti Bertelsen & Loretta Bertelsen. The New Horizons Bible Class and Bob and Marcita Brown donated funds to purchase an electric Bible Bowl board.

The continuing Ladies Retreat ministry provides fellowship and personal growth.

1978         God’s Special Person—Camp Rivercrest,
Fremont, NE.   Guest speaker:  Loretta
Kelly, Lincoln, NE.   Workshop leaders
were Loretta Bertelsen, Claudia Olsen,
Debbie  Davis, and Arlene Murphy.

Lord, Teach Me—Camp Hitchcock, Crescent, IA. Workshop leaders were Claudia Olsen, Debbie Davis, Eva Speake, & Patti Bertelsen.

1979         Jesus and Me Excitedly Serving—
Camp Rivercrest, Fremont, NE.   Guest
speaker:  Kay Price, Lincoln, NE.  Work­
shop leaders were:  Elsa Deupree, Vicki
Cooper, and Patti Bertelsen.

1980           Faith is the Victory—Camp Rivercrest,
Fremont,  NE.   Workshop leaders were
Janice   Olsen,   Mary   Lou   Richards
and Patti Bertelsen.

Trust Me—Camp Rivercrest, Fremont, NE Guest speaker:  Pat Lang, Grinnell, IA. Panel members were Loretta Bertelsen, Marge Salter, and Mary Lou Richards.

1981                            Teach me to Care—Mo. Valley Church of
Christ.  Guest speaker:  June Robinson,
Tacoma, Washington.   Workshop leaders
were Eva Speake & Janice Wright.

1982                            Vim, Vigor, and Vitality—Camp River­
crest, Fremont, NE.  Guest speaker:
Debbie   Brownell   Marcum,   Norfolk,
NE.  Workshop leaders: Gerry Sue Siebert,
Vicki  Cooper,  Elsa  Deupree,  and Jan

And youth trips continued. In 1981, the youth went to the Christ in Youth Conference at William Woods College in Fulton, Missouri. Mark & Caryl Johanson went as sponsors with 3 youth.

In 1982, we again traveled to the Christ in Youth conference at Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg, Missouri. Mark & Caryl Johanson went along with 5 youth.

In 1983, Mark & Caryl Johanson again took 3 youth to the Christ in Youth Conference in Fulton, Missouri.

Since Ken has been here we have had several successful revival meetings with such people as Ben Merold from Fullerton, California, Paul Schlieker from Longmont, Colorado, and John Epperson from Grinnell, Iowa.

Other special events during Ken’s ministry include Homecoming Sundays and 100% Sundays. Video has also been introduced in our ministry through the gifts of a video cassette recorder and monitor as memorials.

They will be used to improve our education pro­gram and to record future events including our Centennial Celebration held April 30 and May 1, 1983.

Since 1978, our auditorium has received a “face-lift” with a new ceiling and textured walls. Several classrooms and hallways have also received “face-lifts”. New roofs were put on the educational unit and the parsonage in 1982. The “Old Blue Bus” was sold and replaced by a brown van which was named “The Heavenly Hauler” by elder Charles Olsen.

Debbie Davis left us in 1979 and returned to Texas. Janice Olsen was hired to take over the secretarial duties.

Mark Johanson came to us from Broken Bow, Nebraska in August, 1980. Mark was hired as our Associate Minister and he is mainly working with the young people of the church.

As of May 1, 1983, during Ken & Mark’s ministries here, 105 have been added to the church either by baptism or transfer.

Throughout our first 100 years, organized groups of Christians have played major roles in the growth and sustaining of the Church in Missouri Valley.

In the summer of 1920, a group of young married women, all members of the LOYAL WOMEN’S class met and organized the PROGRESSIVE CLASS. They chose the name, wrote the by-laws, elected officers and selected the benediction, which is Philippians 4:7. Mae Martens was the first of many teachers they have had during these sixty odd years.

They have always met in the choir room and have kept it in good condition. They bought the carpet, the ceiling light, the drapes, the electric fan and heater. They paid for the paint for the walls and for the wood for the bookcase which Ray Hardy built in the west wall after the addition was completed. They contribute regularly to the Kiamichi Mountain Christian Mission, and until recently they purchased the fruit for the Bingo games at the Longview Home every month. Money was received for Dorothy Christiansen’s memorial and it was used to buy a new door leading to the hallway. The small antique table in the room was a gift from Ella Inship. We hope it will always be treasured.

Social meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month. One of the most pleasant memories is of the December meetings when they had a noon lunch and their husbands would come from their work and the children would come from school. (It was before the days of school lunches). These meetings were held in Dollie Neitzsch’s home until her death in 1959. In April, 1974, 17 ladies enjoyed a trip by the church bus to Norfolk to visit the Nebraska Christian College and had lunch with Blanche Barrett. After Mary Hadin moved to Scranton in 1975, they spent a day with her, had lunch at the church and then went to her home to visit. After Peggy Weeks moved to Fort Calhoun, they accepted an invitation to have an afternoon meeting with her which was enjoyed by all.

Bertha Hardy is the only charter member still living. She is in her 90’s and is in Longview Home, as is Nellie Olsen. Other members in Nursing homes are Blanche Brown, Mary Roberts and her sister Alice Davis. There are others also who, although they are not in homes, are unable to come because of health problems.

We have all passed the threescore and ten years (Psalms 90:10) and wonder how long it will be until there will be no Progressive Class. As we remember the men and women of the “Teens & the twenties” we pray that you will remember us.

Blanche Barrett, teacher in 1983

It was during Brother Dow Crewdson’s ministry that the “LOYAL” classes were organ­ized. According to the 1933 History, the LOYAL MEN’S class started with 12 members. A picture, taken in 1925, shows 80 present. Most of the time, the ministers taught the class but they had plenty of capable,  devout men who would substitute when it was necessary.

The attendance was good for several decades but the years took their toll and by 1980 there were only a few men left. Karl Aronson was the teacher and when his health failed, they disbanded.

No record is available of the membership of the LOYAL WOMEN’S class when it was organized. It must have been more than the LOYAL MEN’S for by 1920 it had grown so much that it was divid­ed and the PROGRESSIVE CLASS formed. In spite of that loss a picture taken on the west side of the church building five or six years later shows 55 ladies. They had many different teachers and much was accomplished until about 1969 or 1970 when it was discontinued. The Live Wire class accepted those who were still living and moved from their meeting place in the balcony to the south side of the audi­torium. Some of these ladies were Myrtle Harris, Hettie Dickenson, Alice Frazier, Anna Brundige, and Anna LaFarge.

At the same time the LOYAL MEN and WOMEN’S classes were organized, the LOYAL SONS and LOYAL DAUGHTERS came into being. They were young people of High school age and had member­ships of 20-25. There were no radios and no TVs to keep people at home and services were held every Sunday evening summer and winter. The choir prepared a special anthem and the minister preached another sermon. It was very uncomfortable in the summer time. The building was extremely hot and the mosquitoes were extremely busy. The young people rebelled. They solicited both men and women, men for cash and women for food. They had a big food sale and raised enough money to buy two ceiling fans and screens for all the windows in the sanctuary. They were used until 1948 when the building was remodeled.

This same group comprised the CHRISTIAN ENDEAVOR which was active for many years. (It is called the Youth group now). At that time there were very few automobiles, but the trains ran often and the fare was cheap. Woodbine, Logan, Missouri Valley, and Council Bluffs had a marvelous leader, a young man named Guy Leavitt. He and his lovely wife met with us and were a great inspiration. Later he went to Cincinnati to work for the Standard Publishing Co. He became editor of the Lookout and held that position until his death in 1971.

When Dow Crewdson left here in 1917, he went to Cherokee. Sometime that fall some of the young people decided to visit there. Nine Loyal Daughters and eleven Loyal Sons, with Dan & Nora Reel to chaperone them, left at 4:00 a.m. on Sunday morning expecting to arrive at Cherokee in time for the morning service. There were no paved highways in those days and they had all sorts of car troubles. They reach­ed the Crewdson’s at 3:00 p.m. They stayed for Christian Endeavor and left at 8:30 p.m. and had more car troubles than the morning trip. They arrived home at 8:00 a.m. Ask Fletcher, Hilda or Blanche if you want more details.

The LIVE WIRE CLASS was organized on February 9, 1930 with Mildred Gowens Watson serving as teacher. The class was made up of young married couples and some single people in that age group.

Some of the charter members of the Live Wire class were Mildred & Cy Watson and Howard and Jeanette Jones.

After Mrs. Watson’s death in 1933, Howard Jones took over as teacher of the class. During Mr. Jones’ time as teacher the class grew and was very active.

The next teacher of the class was Victor Kakac followed by Mrs. Nora Reel. During the time that Mrs. Reel taught, some of the class members were Betty Hall, Bill & Peggy Weeks, Joe & Hazel Fox, Roy Greene, Hazel Logan, Hazel Scebolt, George & Wanda Evans, Arbie Russell, and Roy & Ellen Spires.

Roy Spires was the next teacher of the class. Albert Delbridge taught over 50 in class and now LaVerne Rodewald is teaching.

Since 1930, the class has always had month­ly meetings. They were to have pot luck din­ners at various homes or else picnics at the park. Roy Greene and Everett Epperson would use Roy’s truck to take the class and their families on outings to a lake and once to a park in Omaha.

THE LONGVIEW SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS was start­ed in the spring of 1974. Glenn Day, elder, led the lesson portion of the class and is con­tinuing to do so at this writing. Each Sunday the class is opened with songs of praise. Bob & Jan Marshall were the original song leader and pianist until 1976. Ken & Margaret Terrell are currently leading these exercises. Communion is served each Sunday by Elders and deacons of the church. The average attendance is 20.

THE NEW HORIZONS class began in 1979 made up mainly of college age people. The teacher of the class is James Doty. The class recently began supporting various missions and is now sending funds monthly to the Shiloh Christian Children's Ranch in Shelbina, MO.

THE CIA CLASS (Christians In Action) was started in 1976 as the “Lower Lights” class with Dennis Richards as the first teacher. It later merged with the “Kum Join Us” class to become the “CIA” Class. Following Dennis were Vicki Cooper and Ken Cooper as teachers.

Much fellowship has been found in the CIA class and its intent is not only to educate our members, but to reach others through our actions. We have become regular supporters of Nebraska Christian College and have also sup­ported Shiloh Christian Children’s Ranch in Clarence, Missouri.

We have attempted to promote fellowship be­tween the adult classes so that we can know each other better and be a united congregation.

Our teaching emphasis has been toward basic Bible knowledge for the purpose of strengthen­ing our faith and becoming better witnesses.

THE  ALPHAS  CLASS  was  started March 3, 1979,  with  the  purpose  of  teaching  new Christians  the basics of the New Testament Faith.   Robert and Marcita Brown are leading the lessons.

Romans 12:1—8 and 1 Corinthians 12:12—31 are theme scriptures for THE REACH OUT CLASS. This class was begun Easter Sunday, April 10, 1983 with the purpose to reach out to those in the church family who were not presently attending the Bible School classes.

The long-range goal is to have Bible based lessons which will help people discover who they are and what their service is within the church family.

As we study and learn God’s Word, we hope to grow spiritually, enabling us to reach out to others thus completing the intent and purpose cycle. Don Bertelsen, elder, is lead­ing the lessons.

In addition to these Bible School classes, three other groups have served our congregation and community faithfully.

In the early days of the Mo. Valley church, the Missionary society was called the Christian Women’s Board of Missions. It was a National organization of Churches of Christ and Christian Churches with headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. Meetings were held in the ladies’ homes and dues of 15 cents a month collected and forwarded to the St. Louis office. In re­turn we received material for programs and information about the missions to which we contributed.

When Brother Price came to us from Council Bluffs in 1916, he told the Church Board that he had learned that the C.W.B.M. was merging with the World Council of Churches and that many of the missions we were helping support would be canceled. Brother Victor Johnson came in 1923 and he gave us a complete explanation of the affair. We withdrew and became independent.

For many years, the Society selected the mission to receive our voluntary contributions and the treasurer would send the money directly. The next month we would have the thank you letters and reports of the work for our programs. Hearing directly from the missionaries helped keep our interest and many visited us during their furloughs. Mary Roberts deserves much credit for the many years she served as treasurer and correspondent.

Sometime during the 1950’s the church board decided to send a percentage of each month’s collection to missions. A committee was appointed to select twelve missions, one for each month, and the voluntary donations from the Society were added to it.

In the late 1960’s or early 1970’s we merged with the Ladies Aid and were called the “Ladies Missionary Fellowship”. The ladies have special missions that they continue to support and also help with some special needs of others. At our monthly meetings, a special collection is taken.

Our attendance is from 8—16, depending upon the weather and other circumstances. We do not have a membership roll. Every woman is welcome and urged to attend. It is a good way for women of all ages to meet together for study of missions and fellowship.

At the turn of the century Missouri Valley was blessed with many excellent musicians, both vocal and instrumental. We hired Mrs. N. B. Spafard to direct our choir. Miss Myrtle Harris played the organ. Other members of the choir were Mr. & Mrs. D. C. Reel, Mr.  & Mrs. Lou Longman, Mrs. Luella Martin, Mrs. Dollie Hardy, Edna Johnson, Alice Frazier, Cecil Faith, Edna Nordeen, Mr. A. E. Bessire, and D. N. Hardy.

When we moved into the new building in 1913, the old organ was placed in the basement for the children’s Sunday School to use, and a new one was purchased for the adult classes and worship services. It was used only a few years for Mrs. Spafard resigned and Mrs. Guy Smith was hired and a piano was purchased. She play­ed and directed for several more years. During those years a beautiful Easter Cantata was pre­sented. Nellie Carpenter, a gifted violinist played with us for a long time. Sometime in the late 1930’s or early 1940’s a small elec­tric organ was purchased. It had a single key­board and no bass. We used it at least 10 years. When Mrs. Inskip died in November, 1952 the church was remembered in her will. She left us enough to purchase the Hammond which we are still using.

During the early 196O’s the adult choir members sang with the Billy Graham choir at the Ak-Sar-Ben field in Omaha during one of the Billy Graham Crusades.

In later years several Cantatas have been performed by the adult choir. We have sung Cantatas for both Christmas and Easter special services. The choir has received new choir robes to replace the black ones they used to wear and in recent years we have found our­selves sitting in new, soft chairs.

Other pianists and organists who have serv­ed us are Dollie Hardy Neitzsch, Florence John­son Nordeen, Blanch Hardy Barrett, Doris Lincoln Clark, Nadja Smith Greene, Louise Gochenour, Phyllis Delbridge Brown, James W. Doty, Jay Spilker, Ellen Waterhouse, Donna Bertelsen Lawver, and Patti Bertelsen.

Other choir directors have been Dollie Neitzsch, Thelma Hardy Baldwin, Edna Nordeen Sales, Rex Turner, Jerry Murphy, Elaine Misner, and Bob Brown.

The Sonshine Gang, which is a children’s choir, was formed by Jan Gunderson in June of 1980. The purpose was to involve children, ages 5—13 in a musical ministry. The first musical presented was “The Music Machine”. Mark Johanson took over the direction in November of 1980 and traveled with the group presenting the message of “The Music Machine”. In 1981, “The Birthday Party” was presented at Christmastime. In 1982 & 1983, Ken Cooper began directing it and they began singing specials for church and prepared for the Centennial Celebration.

The Ladies evening fellowship was started in 1971. This group meets once a month for a lesson given by one of the members and to pre­pare tray favors for either the hospital pa­tients or for residents of the nursing home. Lunch is then served to the group and to the board members by a member of the fellowship.

One of the outstanding ministries of the Missouri Valley Church of Christ has been her encouraging the young people to attend Bible College. Often the church financially supported the students with scholarships. The following is a list of our Bible College stu­dents through the years:

Mrs. Harold Hossom (Margaret Coonradt)

Mrs. Owen Crouch (Lucille Coonradt)

Mrs. M. L. Baily (Genevieve Axtell)

LeRoy Boldon – Moody Bible Institute

Thelma Boldon

Louise Boldon

Virginia Coonradt – C.B.S.

LeRoy Sample – M.B.C.

LeRoy Clark – M.B.C.

J. R. McElroy – C.B.S. graduated 1939

L.W.  Bertelsen – C.B.S. graduated 1939

Everett Epperson – C.B.S. graduated 1941

B. L. McElroy – C.B.S. graduated 1941

Leo Epperson – C.B.S. graduated 1946

Gene McElroy

George McElroy

Edward Dean Dickinson

Carroll Kakac

Jim McElroy

Gary Brown – N.C.C., O.B.C.

Randy Spilker – N.C.C.

Kim Nelson – N.C.C.

Claudia Olsen – N.C.C, I.C.C.

Roberta Hough – N.C.C.

Kathy Murphy Stichler – N.C.C.

Phyllis Delbridge Brown – N.C.C.

Connie Allmon Crane – N.C.C.

Nancy Delbridge Wallis – N.C.C.

Carolyn Hough – N.C.C.

Jay Spilker – N.C.C.

Pam Bertelsen Gochenour – N.C.C.

Patti Bertelson – N.C.C.

Pam Mentzer – N.C.C.

David Bertelsen – N.C.C.

Rodney Wilson – N.C.C,

Karen Allmon Weigelt – N.C.C.

Michelle Langenberger Weber – N.C.C.

Neil Knauss – N.C.C.

Ruth Olsen Masterson – N.C.C.

Joy Robinson – N.C.C.

Dottie Barrett – N.C.C.

Kay Nelson Hicks – N.C.C.

Sandi Wilson – N.C.C.

Dennis Wilson – N.C.C.

JoAnn Robinson – N.C.C.

Ellen Waterhouse Tjarks – M.C.C.

Dixie Woodcock Belbridge – M.C.C.

Rex Gochenour – M.C.C.

Donna Bertelsen Lawver – O.B.C.

Wanda Speake – I.C.C.

Kent Speake – I.C.C.

Randy Speake – I.C.C.

C.B.S. – Cincinnati Bible Seminary

N.C.C. – Nebraska Christian College

M.B.C. – Minnesota Bible College

M.C.C. – Manhattan Christian College

I.C.C. – Iowa Christian College

O.B.C. – Ozark Bible College

In the fall of 1973, 13 young people were enrolled in Bible College.


At a very young age, Robert C. Spires, son of Roy and Ellen Spires, gave the ladies of the congregation a thrill by taking a live lizard out of his pocket and letting it slither down the center aisle of the sanctuary. The ladies were quite upset, as you might suppose, but to some it was quite amusing.

submitted by Loretta Spires Bertelsen


In the process of remodeling the Baptistry, Deacon E. W. (Ed) Brown was removing the metal steps with a cutting torch when the walls of the baptistry caught fire.  It was quickly put out with a bucket of water. No damage was done but everyone had a good laugh about Ed setting the baptistry on fire.


A volunteer committee first met in July, 1982. Bob Brown was elected chairman. The committee worked very hard. A meeting was held each month at first and later meetings were held each week as the time for the cele­bration grew nearer.

Centennial plates were ordered with a pic­ture of the church on the front and a brief church history on the back. The plates were sold for $12.50. Lola Frazier was head of the plate committee.

Another project planned by the committee was to print cookbooks with favorite recipes of our church family. Many from the church were involved in collecting, typing, and organizing the recipes before being sent to the printers. The books were then assembled in the church basement. The cookbooks were sold for $6.00 each. Dale Ann Hoyt & Janice Olsen hearted this group.

Other members of the centennial committee were: Rose Ferris, Loretta Bertelsen, Patti Bertelsen, Sharon Boehler, Kim Boehler, James Doty, Blanch Barrett, Irma Spilker, Bob Brown, LaVerne Rodewald, Ken Cooper, Mark Johanson, Lola Frazier, Dale Ann Hoyt, Janice Olsen, and Del Skinner.


On Sunday morning, May 29th, 250 helium-filled balloons were released at 10:15. Each balloon had a string tag attached with the name, address & phone number of the person releasing it on the other side. At 5:00.p.m. the same day, a balloon was found in Southern Missouri. Other balloons were found in Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Utah.


Our celebration started on Saturday, April 30, 1983 with a pot-luck supper at the church building. Following the supper our first Centennial service was held. Our centennial theme song, “The Cornerstone” was sung in public for the first time by our adult choir. Many songs were sung and a few of our Timothies gave talks.  Everett Epperson, one of our Timothies, presented the message of the evening based on Ephesians 4:12—16.

On Sunday morning, coffee, juice, and rolls were served in the church basement at 9:00 a.m. Our Sunday morning service began at 10:00 a.m. with over 350 in attendance. Special music was provided by the adult choir and by the Sonshine Gang, which is made up of children in grades kindergarten through sixth grade. Two sermons that morning were preached by Albert Delbridge, a former minister, and by our present minister, Ken Cooper. Their messages were based on Ephesians 2:11—22 and 4:1—16.

The morning service was followed by a pot-luck dinner at noon at the Masonic Lodge. Many people attended this and many entertained family and friends in their homes.

An open house was held from 2:00—4:00 p.m. in the church building with a formal reception in the basement. This was also a time to look at our old and new photograph displays. We had Timothy displays in the basement and a Missions fair in the chapel. If this wasn’t enough, you could see a slide presentation, a puppet show put on by the Junior High youth, listen to taped messages and stories from for­mer ministers, or read the congratulatory messages from other churches on our 100th anniversary.