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After 115 years of worship, North Bend Community Church’s legacy lives on | Photo gallery
Dave Olson proudly shows me around North Bend Community Church, the church he grew up in and worships at to this day. From the dining room, we proceed around to the sanctuary where, up above the nave, the little room sits where congregation members used to be baptized in a cold, hand-pumped metal tank.
The tank is still there, but today, church members are more likely to be baptized in the waters of Rattlesnake Lake on a summer day.
It’s true that some things have changed, but a lot has stayed the same at North Bend Community Church, which observes its 15th anniversary this year. This church has clung to its roots, and remains a gathering place for residents and good works, just as it was founded in 1897.
Old directories list this church, founded in 1897 as North Bend Baptist Church, as the “Little White Church with the Big Heart.” It’s North Bend’s first and oldest surviving place of worship.
As the Valley was settled, pioneer preachers came and went, but by the 1890s, North Bend residents began to feel the need for place to worship.
According to church histories, the future Community Church came about largely due to one man, Baptist preacher Rev. William Brown, who spent three weeks in the Valley in 1897. Brown held meetings and services in homes, and baptized 49 people in the South Fork of the Snoqualmie. Brown, a carpenter, led construction of the church on a lot donated by North Bend platter William Taylor, where today’s church still stands. The total cost was $1,200, construction took 200 days, and Brown did a lot of the work for free.
In the early years, the congregation faced the east side of the building, today’s fellowship hall. In 1900, the usual attendance was about 12 people. On Christmas, though, the church brought in big crowds and many children from around the Valley. In a 1960s church history, Charles Scheuchzer recalled that “A big Christmas tree was brought into the church and it stood in the same corner where we put our tree today.” The place was lit by kerosene lamps; music was provided by a rented organ.
In 1927, the congregation was renamed North Bend Community Church, to encourage more residents to attend. Over the next few decades, a new wing and parsonage was added.
According to Pastor Pete Battjes, pastors and congregation have stayed true to their founders vision, a firm emphasis on the tenants of the Christian Bible.
“Over the years, the leaders and people who have associated with the church have not compromised the essential doctrines of the Bible,” Battjes told the Record. “We continue to declare that God’s Word was inspired by the Holy Spirit and is inerrant.”
“North Bend Community Church has an incredible heritage! It has not only proclaimed the Gospel, but has served the community in many ways. Thousands of people have been touched by the ministry of the church over the years and have been changed by the impact it has had on their lives,” Battjes added.
The church offers basic courses on Christianity, marriage, and other topics. Every Wednesday, the Mount Si Food Bank operates out of one of the church buildings, sponsored by the Valley Ministerial Association. The church also hosts the Hot Meals ministry every Wednesday morning. Various other churches help in taking a turn to provide a meal. Vacation Bible School is held in the summer, and the church holds a “Worship at the Lake” at Rattlesnake Lake in July, with a big picnic.
Battjes has served as pastor since 2001, working with his wife, Vivian.
“This is a wonderful community with many great people, pastors and churches who want to glorify God,” he says.
Learn more about NBCC at http://northbendcommunitychurch.org/
The Rev. D.G. Delano, on horseback, led North Bend Baptist Church (Now Community Church) between 1914 and 1915. Known as the "saddlebag missionary," Delano stabled his horse in the backyard of the parsonage, on the site of today's Mount Si Food Bank.
Above, North Bend Community Church congregation member Dave Olson finds himself in a church photo directory of the 1970s. The younger Olson sported eyeglasses and long, flowing locks. Below, members Walt Korcz and sisters Katie and Jenn Glover flip through scrapbooks of family events at the church’s 115th birthday party on Feb. 26.