You are the owner of this page.
A1 A1
Local
Historic Calapooia church still serves the community after more than a century

Historic Calapooia Church still serves the community after more than a century {child_byline}DAN BAIN The News-Review {/child_byline} SUTHERLIN — Even though the Calapooia Free Methodist Church is celebrating 100 years in existence, the historic building located west of Sutherlin, that housed the congregation until 1965 has an even longer and colorful history. The quaint little white church, of typical early 1900s architecture, is still in use on Scott Henry Road about 4 miles west of Sutherlin off Fort McKay Road. Just not as a church any longer. The church was actually built in 1906 as the Southern Episcopal Methodist Church. The Free Methodists organized in July 1919, moved into the historic church in 1932 after meeting in homes, an old schoolhouse and in orchards for about 13 years. They purchased the church that year for $100. The congregation continued to meet there until 1965 when the new church was built on Church Road west of Sutherlin. The services have been held in that location for the last 54 years. But the historic old building has been renovated and maintained by Charlene Nichols who, along with her sister, bought it in 1970 from the congregation. The fact that their great-grandmother was a member of the first congregation piqued their interest in the property and Nichols now rents it out for weddings, receptions and other events. There have been about 250 weddings since the sisters bought it, but they had some work to do to get it ready for weddings. “It was in pretty bad repair when we got it, so we didn’t even start weddings until the mid-70s,” Nichols said. Longtime members Dick and Bev Baird were married in the church in 1957 and that was the last wedding until after Nichols bought it. “It sat empty for more than 20 years and Charlene and I went and got some of the old pews out of the chicken house by her mom’s place and cleaned them up and got everything presentable for our daughter’s wedding,” said Bev Baird, who serves at the historian for the church and has been a member for 66 years. Dick Baird was only 8 days old when he attended the church for the first time, and he was proud that his daughter took her vows in that same spot. “We were the last ones to be married in the church as a church, and our daughter Debbie Robertson-Shaw was married there 22 years later in 1979,” Dick Baird said. The Bairds have been attending the church for a long time, but they’re not even close to matching the longest-attending member of the congregation, Martha Lee. She’s attended for all 97 years of her life. Her parents took her to the old church as a newborn and she has continued with the congregation ever since. Lee loved the old church on Scott Henry Road and when the new one was built in 1966, she definitely missed the old one. She has many memories from the early days. “My folks were members there when I was born, and at that time, many had buggies and went horseback and walked. People that had cars, like my dad, would drive the kids to church and then go into town and pick up other kids,” Lee said. “When I grew up there we had lots of children and young people all the time I was attending, and it was a fun time.” The Depression years in the 30s were tough on everybody but especially the pastor of the church. “It sure was, and the poor pastor didn’t get much except for something to eat. A lot of his payment was just food that we grew because we all had big gardens,” Lee said. Lee began teaching Sunday school when she was 13 and has taught classes for almost 85 years. She originally had her class in the basement of the parsonage in the historic church. Sometimes during heavy rains the nearby creek overflowed its banks and water poured into the basement. “I couldn’t do anything because my table would be floating around,” she said. “And it always flooded, every year.” One day she recalled, a farm animal walked in during a Sunday sermon. “A big old billy goat with great big old horns came walking in, we had the doors open and it was a warm day,” she said. “It was in the doorway and stood there and looked around and of course the older men got up and chased him back out, but he was just kind of a nuisance.” Pastor Stewart Fowler, who has been at the new church for the past 27 years, said the congregation has been tremendously loyal over the years, and several parishioners who were there when the group was still meeting at the Scott Henry Road location are still attending at the Church Road site. “I think one of the greatest things about this congregation is that they’re very humble, hard-working people, very generous,” Fowler said. Fowler never had the opportunity to deliver sermons in the historic church but he’s done several weddings there and he feels it has a major historical value to the community. “Oh, I do,” he said. “It would be devastating if it were never kept up or ever torn down, that would be terrible.” {child_tagline} Reporter Dan Bain can be reached at 541-957-4221 or e-mail at dbain@nrtoday.com. {/child_tagline}

SUTHERLIN — Even though the Calapooia Free Methodist Church is celebrating 100 years in existence, the historic building located west of Sutherlin, that housed the congregation until 1965 has an even longer and colorful history.

The quaint little white church, of typical early 1900s architecture, is still in use on Scott Henry Road about 4 miles west of Sutherlin off Fort McKay Road.

Just not as a church any longer.

The church was actually built in 1906 as the Southern Episcopal Methodist Church.

The Free Methodists organized in July 1919, moved into the historic church in 1932 after meeting in homes, an old schoolhouse and in orchards for about 13 years. They purchased the church that year for $100.

The congregation continued to meet there until 1965 when the new church was built on Church Road west of Sutherlin. The services have been held in that location for the last 54 years.

But the historic old building has been renovated and maintained by Charlene Nichols who, along with her sister, bought it in 1970 from the congregation.

The fact that their great-grandmother was a member of the first congregation piqued their interest in the property and Nichols now rents it out for weddings, receptions and other events. There have been about 250 weddings since the sisters bought it, but they had some work to do to get it ready for weddings.

“It was in pretty bad repair when we got it, so we didn’t even start weddings until the mid-70s,” Nichols said.

Longtime members Dick and Bev Baird were married in the church in 1957 and that was the last wedding until after Nichols bought it.

“It sat empty for more than 20 years and Charlene and I went and got some of the old pews out of the chicken house by her mom’s place and cleaned them up and got everything presentable for our daughter’s wedding,” said Bev Baird, who serves at the historian for the church and has been a member for 66 years.

Dick Baird was only 8 days old when he attended the church for the first time, and he was proud that his daughter took her vows in that same spot.

“We were the last ones to be married in the church as a church, and our daughter Debbie Robertson-Shaw was married there 22 years later in 1979,” Dick Baird said.

The Bairds have been attending the church for a long time, but they’re not even close to matching the longest-attending member of the congregation, Martha Lee. She’s attended for all 97 years of her life. Her parents took her to the old church as a newborn and she has continued with the congregation ever since.

Lee loved the old church on Scott Henry Road and when the new one was built in 1966, she definitely missed the old one. She has many memories from the early days.

“My folks were members there when I was born, and at that time, many had buggies and went horseback and walked. People that had cars, like my dad, would drive the kids to church and then go into town and pick up other kids,” Lee said. “When I grew up there we had lots of children and young people all the time I was attending, and it was a fun time.”

The Great Depression years in the 30s were tough on everybody but especially the pastor of the church.

“It sure was, and the poor pastor didn’t get much except for something to eat. A lot of his payment was just food that we grew because we all had big gardens,” Lee said.

Lee began teaching Sunday school when she was 13 and has taught classes for almost 85 years. She originally had her class in the basement of the parsonage in the historic church. Sometimes during heavy rains the nearby creek overflowed its banks and water poured into the basement.

“I couldn’t do anything because my table would be floating around,” she said. “And it always flooded, every year.”

One day she recalled, a farm animal walked in during a Sunday sermon.

“A big old billy goat with great big old horns came walking in, we had the doors open and it was a warm day,” she said. “It was in the doorway and stood there and looked around and of course the older men got up and chased him back out, but he was just kind of a nuisance.”

Pastor Stewart Fowler, who has been at the new church for the past 27 years, said the congregation has been tremendously loyal over the years, and several parishioners who were there when the group was still meeting at the Scott Henry Road location are still attending at the Church Road site.

“I think one of the greatest things about this congregation is that they’re very humble, hard-working people, very generous,” Fowler said.

Fowler never had the opportunity to deliver sermons in the historic church but he’s done several weddings there and he feels it has a major historical value to the community.

“Oh, I do,” he said. “It would be devastating if it were never kept up or ever torn down, that would be terrible.”


Roseburg
Elks Lodge gives 30 local kids $200 for back to school shopping spree

Kurtis Cosner, a 9-year-old from Sunnyslope Elementary School, walked through the aisles of the Roseburg Fred Meyer in search of one thing: light-up sneakers.

He said he’s always wanted a pair, but he was never was able to get them. His wish came true at the 18th annual John Little Shopping Spree at Fred Meyer on Saturday morning.

The event, hosted by Roseburg Elks Lodge, invited 30 kids within the community to shop for new clothes within a $200 budget.

Doris Kobernik, shopping spree chair of the Roseburg Elks, has been involved with the event for the past four years, and the kids have so much fun picking out clothes.

“It was started by John Little who was a past Exalted Ruler there at Elks Lodge who had a heart for kids, who wanted to help build self esteem and confidence,” Kobernik said. “He thought that by helping kids get new clothes they could start school out in would be a good way to do that.”

Kathy Anderson, of Roseburg, has volunteered for the event for the past seven years.

“It helps families, and the kids don’t feel like they’re left out at school,” Anderson said.

Charlie Ketchem, 6, was shopping with volunteer Di Toleno. He was excited to shop for clothes with Minecraft characters on them because it’s his favorite video game.

“Charlie and I are having fun. We’ve got some really special shoes and socks. He loves the socks!” Toleno said.

After filing his cart with some new clothes and shoes, Charlie said the next thing he wanted to find was a pair of new shoes for his younger sister.

“He loves his sister,” said Tracy Stepp, Charlie’s mom. “I told him they’re going to be in the same school and he’s like, ‘Can we be in the same class?’”

Stepp said she was able to shop in a similar event when she was 10 at a Fred Meyer in Denver, Colorado. She said it was nice knowing her son would benefit from an event that helped her when she was younger.

“I just got the letter in the mail that said, be here on Saturday, and I was like ‘that is so awesome!’” Stepp said.

“It is a nice benefit because right now we’re a little bit low on income, so it’s a great help, especially for the new school year.”

Donny Thompson, a volunteer with the Elks, said Fred Meyer is a substantial partner for the event because they offer so many discounts for the kids.

“Fred Meyer participates in this pretty heavily with the discount. If it wasn’t for them it wouldn’t be possible,” Thompson said.

He said last year, he took a little girl to the register and her merchandise totaled to $400. After coupons and discounts were added, the total dropped to a little over $200.

Liz Collins, apparel assistant manager at Fred Meyer, said that since the kids have such a substantial budget, they can really buy what they want.

“It’s cool to help them pick out the things that they want and to be able to get everything that they have on their list,” Collins said.


Roseburg
Pine Grove Community Church turns 150

Pine Grove Community Church sits at the edge of town, surrounded by trees and rolling hills, nearly the same as it has for the past 150 years.

Though it has expanded, adding a belltower and outdoor amphitheater to the structure, the values and mindset of the church are rooted in the traditions that it was founded upon in 1869.

On Aug. 18, the church hosted an anniversary party, celebrating its past 150 years in the community. There, residents were able to hear from old pastors and members of the congregation.

Elizabeth Pyle, of Dixonville, said she doesn’t make it out to the church as often as she used to, and that the event was a nice way to reconnect.

“The 150th was a chance for many of my peers and I to reunite. It’s just a beautiful little church with an interesting history,” Pyle said.

Dennis Kreiss, pastor of the church, recently compiled the history of the church into a book called “The Long and Storied History — Pine Grove Community Church.” He added information from sources such as the Umpqua Trapper and other historical texts to the original history, written by Eileen Smith.

“It’s kind of humbling because when I look at these guys and I look at all the people in the book and their lives, I just feel like a part of history,” Kreiss said. “I feel like there’s a legacy I have to keep up.”

In 1853, the pioneer wagon trail made its way from Iowa into Oregon, bringing 85 missionaries from the United Brethren with them, according to the book.

They spread across the Umpqua and Willamette valleys and established churches.

A circuit of preachers would travel from church to church in the region. Most notably, Milton Wright, father of the Wright Brothers, would preach at Pine Grove.

“The father of the Wright Brothers! Who knew he was in Oregon?” Kreiss said.

Pine Grove Community Church was built in 1869 and aside from a 6-year-long hiatus during World War II, they have been holding service at the church ever since. Kreiss said the message they hope to send to the community is the same as it was 150 years ago.

“There are some really big issues that create a lot of conflict in society,” Kreiss said. “So then, people feel the need to change their beliefs in order to fit in with society.”

The church opened an outdoor amphitheater in 2005 to mimic the outdoor meetings the church held when it was first established.

“We’re just a little country church on the edge of town,” Kreiss said. “We’re a non-formal, friendly church and welcome to anybody in the community.”