Clatskanie Community Church History 1943 - 2015


1943 - 1968


In 1936, Ole Larson, a Swedish Baptist Conference Missionary made a visit to Clatskanie.  While visiting he saw a great need for our community to have a fundamental church.  So in 1942, he began weekly visits for Bible study and prayer, traveling weekly from Hoquiam, WA.    Sunday School and Worship services were conducted from March to June in 1943 in the rented Seventh Day Adventist Church, which was at the corner of SW 2nd Street and Bryant.


On January 5, 1944 the Patterson Building, now the present day State Farm Building, was purchased for $5000. The building contained 4 apartments. One apartment was used as a parsonage and two apartments provided rental income. The first Sunday service was held in the new church on January 16.  At that time the name given to the church was the Baptist Mission Center.

A service of dedication of the building was held on May 7 of that year.


On March 2, 1945 the debt against the church building was paid.  A servicemen’s center and Bible Book Store were opened as an outreach ministry.  And the first wedding in the church was the pastor’s daughter, Grace Larson to Robert Sturm on March 21.


Total membership in 1946 was 37. The first vacation Bible School was held in August of 1947.


In 1948 the name of the church was changed to Clatskanie Baptist Church.  Mrs. Loree Chapman and her son Curtis were the first to be baptized. Sunday School enrollment was 51 and the total budget for the year was $3208.


In 1949 the church hosted the Oregon District Youth Rally with 170 attending.


In 1950 the church choir was formed and a committee was appointed to write a constitution for the church.


1951 brought about the purchase of the property where the current church is located today.  A loan of $18,000 was granted in 1953 by US National Bank for the new church building.  On June 14, a crew began to uproot trees and excavate for the church basement. The last Sunday meeting in the Patterson Building concluded on July 19 and we once again rented the Seventh Day Adventist Church while the new church was being built.


By September 13, half of the walls of the church were constructed, trusses and joists were up in October, and by Thanksgiving the roof was tiled.


In 1954 (60 years ago) a fund for the church pews totaling $3000 was begun, bricklayers began working on the outside, and by December 19 the congregation met for the first time in the partially completed building.


In 1957 the church hosted a mid-year meeting of the conference with Governor Mark Hatfield as speaker. Membership increased to 106 with Sunday school attendance averaging around 122.


The first missionaries from our church were the Gene Parkins’, who served with Arctic Missions in Alaska. Mr. Parkins and his wife were known for their involvement with the youth and their delicious homemade raised donuts.


Final plans for the church parsonage were approved in 1959 with Pastor Engstrom and his family moving in on November 12, 1960. This year also brought about the purchase and dedication of choir robes prior to the Easter Cantata. In December, the community enjoyed the nightly outdoor living nativity production portraying the birth of Christ… and yes, with live animals!


In 1961 Vacation Bible School broke an all time record of an enrollment of 228.


By 1962, the annual budget for the church was $13,000.


In 1966, two families left for overseas ministries. Our pastor and his family, the Ted Petersons, went as evangelistic missionaries from the conference to Argentina. And the Roy Hieberts, local educators, went as educational missionaries through Good Shepherd School to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


A new Allen organ and a new Wurlitzer piano were purchased for the sanctuary in March 1967.


The Bethel College Women’s Choir presented a concert in February 1968.  Bethel is a Christian university, in St. Paul, Minnesota, sponsored in party by the churches of Converge Worldwide (previously known as the Baptist General Conference).  


On May 5 a mortgage burning celebration took place. An attractive hand carved wooden sign was installed in front of the church that year and was updated for years by Gene Groskopf.




1969 brought about the church voting to support our very own Connie Holmes (Kitchin) as a Campus Crusade Missionary.


In 1970 the Youth Gospel Team along with Pastor Miller and his wife earned their way to Mexico with a stop in San Diego for the Annual Baptist General Conference Convention. 


In 1971 a church Mission Board was formed to increase the church’s world missionary vision.  1972 saw fireplaces built in the parsonage living room and basement.


The church extended a call to Pastor Earl Johnson in 1974.  And that year you could find the women of the church diligently canning fruit and vegetables for the Native Institute of Canada.


Two choir cantatas were performed in 1975 at Easter and Christmas.  A dinner was served at the Grade School around Thanksgiving where Love Loaves were broken and counted by each family. 


In 1976, 29 people attended our conference camp at Lake Retreat in Ravensdale, WA.


The church budget for 1977 was $33,000, but the annual income at the end of the year was $44,000.  In 1978, a Long-Range Planning Committee was appointed by the church with the fifth Sunday of the month designated for the Church Building Fund.


In 1979 thirteen members were added to the church with the average Sunday worship services totaling around 133. 


1980 brought about two identical worship services each Sunday with combined average attendance of 163.  New choir robes were purchased and dedicated in memory to two faithful members, Esther Karasti and Wilbert Wilson.


The Easter service in 1981 was held at Clatskanie High School with 268 attending.  To provide extra Sunday School classrooms, Pastor and Helen Johnson moved from the parsonage into their own home.  The parsonage became known as the church annex.  A Vacation Bible School float was entered into the annual Clatskanie July 4th Parade.


A Long-Range Plan was presented to the church in April of 1982.  A Capital Funds Campaign began in the fall with more than $90,000 committed over a three-year period.  A Portland architectural firm was engaged to help consider a new building site or retain the present site.  In 1982, our church was ranked number 23 of the top 25 Baptist General Conference churches in per capital giving to the Baptist General Conference United Missions.


1983 was an exciting year with the church purchasing six lots to the northeast of the present church site for additional parking space.  The congregation also voted on a plan and on funds to make the final drawings for the building project.  The church celebrated its 40th anniversary with former pastors Clifford Gustafson, Jacob Flaming, and Morris Engstrom speaking.


A gas heating system was purchased for the church building in 1984 with the theme of the new church wing being “Together a Work of Faith.”  Once again that year Love Loaves were counted with $1711 being sent to Ethiopia.


It was in 1985 that the conference purchased 87 acres in Montana for starting Camp Big Horn, the AWANA program began at Clatskanie Baptist, and there was an all-church camp out at Big Eddy State Park.


New hymnals “The Singing Church” were purchased for the church in 1986.


Ground breaking for the new CE Wing took place on May 31, 1987.  The new wing with 5,800 square feet would cost approximately $204,000.  The building fund balance was $92,000 and a loan was taken out for the balance of $112,000.  In October, a victory drive celebration was held honoring “Together a Work of Faith.”


In 1988, the CE wing was dedicated and the church constitution was revised thanks to Don Rice, Grant Olds, Marilyn Beckham, and Pastor Johnson.


A grand offering was taken in 1989 for the CE wing and $10,000 was raised.  Kirk Bennett was called to be Associate Pastor on July 23.  And that year also saw $2080 raised from the Love Loaf program with funds being sent to Mozambique.


The first pictorial directory of the families of the church was completed in 1990.  And the trustees challenged the church body to be “ Debt Free in ’93.” The church also hosted the Lower Columbia Area women’s conference with 90 women in attendance.


A new projector screen was purchased from the memorial fund in 1991 and a new roof was put on the parsonage that year.


On March 29, 1992, six years before it was due, the church burned the mortgage on the CE Wing, and the upper parking lot was paved.  On July 5, Lacy Falconer, Laurie Gill, Ben Montgomery, Nicole Ness, and Pastor Bennett went to Mexico as part of the SERV ’92 mission.  And 355 Bibles were sent to Russia from the Love Loaf Project.  Budget for the year was $110,842.


The church celebrated 50 years in June of 1993.  A combined service was held at the High School with a luncheon following.  Rick Sturm, Executive Minister of the conference and grandson of our founding Pastor Ole Larson, was guest speaker.  Anniversary committee members were Gene and Elva Groskopf, Chet and Cleo Jenks, Vern and Betty Palmrose, and Pastor Johnson.


1994 – 2015


1994 brought the final update to the parsonage after fire damaged the structure in 1993.  48 children attended Lake Retreat Bible Camp that summer and the church fiscal year changed by constitutional amendment.


SERV 95 to Mexico gave the youth an opportunity to work with children through Vacation Bible School and small house construction.  Those attending that year were Joy and Sheridan Craig, Chad Webb, Charlie Eichner, Dan Ewing, Michael and Kevin Crawford, Kristy Falconer, Molly Sears and Paige Stewart.  On the home front, this year also led to the remodeling of the auditorium platform.


On March 15, 1996, Pastor Earl and Helen Johnson closed their ministry time with the church and a church secretary was hired.  Our Love Loaf giving that fall went to support Vietnamese Children at Risk.


In 1997 a 15-passenger church van was purchased for the church and in June, Pastor Ron and Pat Jacobson began their ministry, which would last for the next eighteen years. This was also the beginning of Venture Club Children’s Ministry on Wednesday evenings.  The men of the church began a Saturday morning fellowship time.  Reviewing the vision and goals of our church also took place.


In 1998 a Mission trip to Mexico was taken by 19 of our youth. And who could forget the Rice Family and their annual September “Corn Feed” following a Sunday morning worship service?  1998 also brought about the Ambassadors ministry for our seniors and Pastor Ron led a group to Israel, Greece and Turkey.


Women enjoyed a retreat to Camp Emerald Forest in February of 1999.  And our very own Clatskanie Baptist hosted the annual youth rally on March 26 of that year.


In February 2000, many participated in Precepts Training and March brought Hal Lentz for vision-based budgeting.  Care meals were prepared at CMHS to be frozen and distributed as needed.


In 2001 you could find the men meeting on Saturday mornings at Fultano’s for Bible study and fellowship.  Easter services were held at CMHS and the SERV 2001 Team departed for Mexico.  An all-church campout was held in August at Fort Stevens.


In April 2002, many enjoyed mother/daughter and father/son weekends at Lake Retreat.  May brought about an overnight quilt retreat here at the church.  This was also the first year for Ambassadors Soccer Camp.


2003 began the first of many mission trips to Brazil. The women of the church enjoyed a retreat to Cannon Beach that year while the youth traveled to Mexico for SERV 2003.


In February 2004, a Couples Banquet was held at the Red Lion Inn in Kelso.  An all-church campout once again occurred at Nehalem Bay State Park.  This was also the kick off year to many home Bible studies as we began the 40 Days of the Purpose Driven Life.


In 2005 a Brazil Fundraiser was held with a dinner theater at the Legion Hall; and a ladies tea was held in October with “Mentoring” as its theme.


2006 brought Matt and Anna Hadley to Clatskanie.  The Christian Learning Center was beginning to open its doors and the Cornerstone Group announced a Rejuvenation Project for our sanctuary.  Services were held downstairs in the fellowship hall starting in March until completion of the project.  Turkey dinner was served at Fultano’s on Christmas Day as an outreach to our community.


“Relationship Building” was the theme for the women’s retreat at Cannon Beach in the spring of 2007.  Sermons were available on CD to listen to at home and the new “church mail” system was made available in the file cabinet outside the church office.  New carpet was installed in the church.


In February of 2008, our youth went on a “Snowblast” retreat to Mt. Hood and many participated in a Mexico ‘08 mission trip to Ensenada, Mexico.  September brought about a Financial Freedom Seminar by Crown Ministries.


Our Back Pack Program began in 2009 and in May many traveled to Jockey, Brazil on a mission.


“Singing in the Rain” was the theme for the women’s retreat at Cannon Beach in February 2010.  Another mission trip to Brazil took place May 13-24, and in September, a kitchen shower was held following a morning service for our newly completed kitchen.


With a passion to serve, another group left in August of 2011 to minister and serve to the people of Brazil.  The men enjoyed time away in Cannon Beach that year for a conference with Matt Hannan speaking.


After many years of faithful service to the Lord here in Clatskanie, in April of 2015, Pastor Ron and Pat Jacobson retired.  Roger Trautmann, from Multnomah was called to be our interim pastor during the search process.

In May of 2016, The Church called Pastor Kirk Bennett to return to Clatskanie and be their Senior Pastor.

Over the next several years, there was steady progress in re-tooling programs, events

and ministry opportunities.

Despite the global health crisis and other troubles that caused the world anxiety and fear, the believers within this Church kept their hope in Jesus and continued to care for the community.  Our commitment to the Bible as God's Word remains unchanged.  In keeping with the history of our Baptist formation and beliefs, the accompanying Missional emphasis has helped us clarify our vision during these times - 

and how we will continue sharing Jesus with Clatskanie and the surrounding area: 

We are now "Clatskanie Community Church"

A body of believers where Jesus Christ calls each of us to Follow Him in Obedience.  

Living as He lived - Serving as He served. 

Where has God placed you to serve to transform lives towards eternity?  It might be through... 

the Backpack Program, Ambassadors Soccer Camp, Restoration programs, Community Groups and  

Bible Studies, Refuge Student Programming, Sunday Worship,  Venture Club, Sunday School, VBS, 

Giving Tree, Handymen, Caring Cards, Missions, Church Leadership or... 

perhaps the Lord has given you a heart for a new expression of faith in Him?

We would be honored to be part of the exploration of His calling on your life!

God has brought us here at this time in history…let us Follow Jesus and Serve Others.