THE HISTORY OF KETTLE FALLS COMMUNITY CHURCH
“This is the history of our inheritance of a little Baptist Church, which God blessed…and would not let it be destroyed. Although it was destined to be tried by fire, the Great Depression, and lastly flooding of the town and community of old Kettle Falls by the back waters of Coulee Dam, it could not be destroyed and we are happy that we can serve God in that Church here today” (Jellison, 1978). These are the opening words of Mr. Leslie Jellison, the oldest living member of the church on March 12, 1978.
On March 22, 1908 some Baptists were meeting in the Presbyterian Church of the old Kettle Falls down on the Columbia River. Five days later the organization of the first Baptist church of Kettle falls was completed at the meeting in Fish’s Hall. F. H. Holcomb was elected Sunday School Superintendent and services were held in Fish’s Hall for a while. Later they met in a store building rented from the Atwood Brothers. Soon they decided to construct a church building. Little did they know it would become a landmark for centuries beyond the disappearance of the town.
In 1909 “some of the Brethren of the Church cut tall trees on Mingo Mountain, skidded by horse team to a saw mill where they were cut into rafters and studs for the Church building. During the construction of the Kettle Falls Church work Bees were held. Some men came from as far as 15 miles to help with the work. Ladies of the Church served dinner on each work Bee day. As it was written in older times, ‘People had a mind to work.’”
The building of the Marcus Church was also overseen by the pastor and dedicated the same year, in 1910. The Kettle Falls Church cost a grand total of $2,800.00. “Special meetings began January 1, 1911 with Rev. Pettit preaching. A splendid revival followed. On Sunday January 29, 2011, fourteen candidates were baptised and one received by letter. Miss Ruth Hitchcox was the first…” There was a great turnover of pastors during World War I. Some left “to become Chaplains in the armed forces; some YMCA missionaries” in France and around the world.
The Church was destined to be tried by fire. “About 1:30 am, November 25, 1929, the Church and all its contents was lost by fire of known origin. The Church building was insured for $3,000.00…” Faith was not shaken. Two days after the fire a meeting at the home of Mrs. Root established plans to rebuild. It was to be larger and built of brick and cement to fire-proof it. Little did they know it would soon be tried by flood.
The community came together and rebuilt the church. “On February 11th  there were eleven teams and thirty five men working. The chicken dinner at noon was in the form of a community affair, with after dinner speeches by representatives of nine different organizations. Even the City got into the act, volunteering to finish the corners and places not easily accessible with teams by hiring men who were formerly unemployed.” They acquired pews from the Colville Baptist Church which were used for about 65 years.
“May 17, 1931 this Church was dedicated for the assembling of rich and poor for the worship of God in song and prayer; for the ministry of the Word in it’s fullness; for the celebration of the Holy Ordinances; for proclaiming forgiveness and Salvation from sin through our Lord Jesus Christ. Then came the dreadful depression. Banks and businesses failed, and all Banks were closed. No money was available to hire a minister, but the Church doors were never closed…”
Shortly after the depression came the flooding of the Columbia River for everything under the 1913 elevation line. The church sold their property in 1937 to the government for $6,232.95 and moved the building to Meyers Falls which we now know as Kettle Falls in 1939. The Beardsmore Trans. Co. moved the church building in May and held their “first Sunday school after moving to the new town July 23, 1939.”
Through the longstanding ministry of the church in “Greater Kettle Falls” many evangelistic meetings were held and many souls were brought to Christ. People were continually being admitted into the Church “by experience.” “On July 7, 1942 the baptistery was completed.” A 26’ x 50’ building was constructed to keep up with growing Sunday school needs in 1957.
The church became a member of the American Baptist Convention, but “on April 14, 1970 the Church voted to withdraw from the American Baptist Convention and for the first time became an Independent Baptist Church. In 1976 the Church voted to call on Village Missions for leadership, and Rev. Tom Douglass became our pastor.” This marks the transition from a denominational to community focus. The church soon went from a revolving door of pastors to one committed man and his family. In 1978 Mr. Jellison records a list of all the pastors that served to 1978 and Nathan Mudd added Village Missions years through 2015:
Pastor Date Called
- Rev. C. S. Treadwell Mar. 27, 1908
- Rev. J. M. Hupp Dec. 01, 1909
- Rev. G. C. H. Moore __________
- Rev. Amos House Oct. 10, 1915
- Rev. Alborn Jan. __, 1919
- Rev. Conrad Owens Nov. 20, 1920
- Rev. W. H. Gibson Dec. 28, 1921
- Rev. Mulvany Nov. 07, 1923
- Rev. C. S. Treadwell Apr. 06, 1927
- Rev. Mathis Oct. 01, 1929
- (DEPRESSION YEARS, NO REGISTERED PASTOR)
- Rev. J. M. Hupp Aug. 12, 1933
- Rev. A. B. C. Nelson Aug. 14, 1940
- Rev. C. E. Hanes May 25, 1941
- Rev. Percy Stout May 05, 1942
- Rev. John Fee Aug. 22, 1944
- Rev. Vincent Cox Mar. 17, 1946
- Rev. Carl Lundstrom Sept. 14, 1948
- Rev. R. H. Burke _______ 1953
- Rev. Faye Harder May ___ 1954
- Rev. Dan Cudworth Aug. ___ 1957
- Rev. Al Lustie May 21, 1961
- Rev. Asa Argo Nov. ___ 1968
- Rev. Don Greenwood _______ 1970
- Rev. Preston Cody _______ 1975
- (JOINED VILLAGE MISSIONS)
- Pastor Tom Douglass Oct. 02, 1975
- Pastor Larry Goin Aug. 19, 1985
- Tony Pinkham July 17, 1990
“This history would not be complete without giving due praise to the ladies. They say if you want something done, get the ladies involved and then watch it grow. There could be volumes written of the great work they have done in the past…” Similar words could be said of all the leaders–Sunday school teachers, elders, preschool teachers, deacons, janitors, etc.–of Kettle Falls Community Church over the decades.
“Let us thank God for His blessings, and for those who had the faith and courage to build and rebuild, that we may enjoy the fruits of their labor.” This church provided hope and blessing in the Great Depression. It was literally tested by fire, and escaped the flooding back waters of the Coulee Dam. Today it stands as a beacon of Christ to the community.
Let’s be thankful for the history of Kettle Falls Community Church.
Italics and quotation marks show text taken directly from the 1978 typewriter record by Mr. Leslie Jellison. This record was compiled by Nathan Mudd on July 4, 2015. We celebrate what God did through the pastors from 1908 to 1990. At this point in history we thank the Lord for the Pinkham family’s faithfulness and pray for God the Father to be glorified through this church until His Son returns to gather His Church.