Centralia Church

Photo taken about 1909


Centralia Church History

1909 History (author unknown)

The beginning of this congregation dates back to year 1897.  Sister Alice S Christlieb from Green Springs Pa. arrived in Seattle about that time and remained there two years.  Then moved to Centralia.

 For the next six years she did much seed sowing in the way of distributing Tracts and Gospel. Messengers.  By writing to Brethren in the east and also to General Mission Board an interest was finally manifest to the extent  that the General Board in answer to a letter for a minister, sent $200 to the Dist. Board directing it to send a minister to Centralia. The board sent Bro. G. C. Carl. 

Through the correspondence of Sister Christlieb, Elder Allan Ives of Burr Oak Kansas, with his wife located here in 1896 and for the next few years did much of the preaching.   After Bro. Carl left the field, Bro. Ives, thought 70 years old walked six miles to the Grand Mound and kept up the appointments a that place in connection with the other work.  This was heavy work for the old Brother, who at that time supported himself by day labor and nursed and care for a sick wife.  Though it all his zeal never abated.  

The Brethren Sunday School was organized in the summer of 1898 with sister Christlieb superintendent.  The school was not evergreen, but closed about September the first, the attendance for the summer was about 16 to 25. 

Efforts were continued to locate minister and lay members to form a nucleus of a congregation. 

In 1897 a council was held and the following forming the charter members of the Centralia church were present: Elder Ives and wife, G. C. Carl and wife, Alice Christlieb, Sister Denbow, H. Weaver and wife, Bro. Armstrong and wife.  The meter and bounds of the new congregation at that time was the Canada Boundary on the north and Oregon Boundary on the south, with Cascade mountains on the east and Pacific on the west.

 Bro. Ives, the only elder in the state at that time, was chosen as elder in charge of  the little congregation.

In Jan. 1898 Brother J.U.G. Stiverson came and held a series of meeting, and a love feast in February of the same year. This was a feast never to be forgotten.  What had long been prayed for had actually come to pass.  The Centralia church was really in existence and the was beginning to be felt as a moral for the North West. 

In year 1901, Mr. George Washington, a colored gentleman donated us a church building, the main audience room having seating capacity of 250.  Then the lots and for large Sunday school rooms were purchased for $600.  This gave us a good house centrality located in the city which is worth at present valuations at least $4000. 

In Oct. 1901, the Sunday School was started with Bro. C. B. Bohn superintendent.  It has proved to be an evergreen, with an average attendance of about 80 scholars. 

Bro. Oscar Methias of California, was the first minister to preach in the present church building. 

The Centralia Church was the first missionary point and the first organized church in the state of Washington. 

In Sept. of 1902 Eld Levi Whistler of Nampa Idaho, located here and served as presiding  Elder till Jan. 1907.  The few members residing here at that time rejoiced greatly at their coming. The cause had been suffering much for the lack of ministerial help and Brother Whistler did much of the preaching for four years.  The church as greatly strengthened and build up. 

Eld C. Wine of California also moved here about Sept. 1, 1902 and labored in the ministry till the spring.  The Brother Naff with his family located here Jan. 20, 1903,  He was minister in the 2nd degree.  He helped in the work for some time, but later moved away. 

Bro. I. L. Myers, a minister in the second degree, with his wife located here in the winter of 1903, and has labored faithfully in the ministry up to this time.  Brother Myers came from Illinois, a state noted for equipping and sending out brethren labeled “faithful and true”. 

Elder J. S. Secrist and Bro. Boone located at Olympia 25 miles from Centralia and Elder A. M. Dickery and C. H. Maust, located at Seattle, 96 miles away.  The territory being so large, it was thought best to divide the district and organize other congregations, and so the Olympia and Seattle congregations were organized.  Prior to these organization, we numbered about 100.  We now number 37.  Elder E. B. Eby was chosen presiding elder Jan. 1907, and is still the elder in charge. 

The Centralia church has enjoyed seven love feasts and one District Meeting.  There have been three ministers elected since the organization, namely Chas. A. Wagner, now residing at Olympia, C . H. Stutsman, now a resident of Tacoma and Frank A. Myers now in Wisconsin.  There have also been two deacons elected since the organization of the church  C. A. Ives and C. A. Whistler both of Centralia.

 Forty one have been made willing to renounce Satan and put on Christ in Christian baptism.

The Christian Workers were organized in the year 1904 and have been doing effective work ever since.  In this branch of work the young people have taken a great interest and responded promptly to whatever part was allotted them to do. The Sister’s Aid Society meets  weekly and is doing a good work.  The Sunday School teachers meet once each week to make a careful study of the lesson.

Our prayer meeting is held on each Thursday evening with good interest.  Much spiritual strength and power is derived from these meetings.

  In the summer of 1908 Eld. J. U. G. Stiverson and family located in Centralia for the year and are doing effectual  work. We are  receiving much assistance also from H.  M. Rothrock and wife.  Bro. Rothrock is a minister in the second degree.  At present there are four ministers and four deacons residing in the Centralia church.

Since our organization, nine of our members have been called to their reward by the angel of  death.

Praying for a successful mission of the little volume, this chapter is humbly dedicated. 

Ministers & Elders

Ives, Allen  1897 -        (Elder)

Whisler, Levi   (E) 1902-1907 (Elder) 

Wine, Christian 1902    (Elder) 

Myers, Isaac Luther 

Brother Naff     1903 

Eby, David B    1907- 1909 (Elder) 

Manasseh Fredrick Woods 1909-1915 (P-E) 

Fouts, David H – 1912-1917 
Bro. D. H. Fouts came to Centralia and was ordained to the eldership in 1914 or 16(?). 

Elder Fitze of Portland had charge of the church in 1916.

Fox, Ira  - 1916-1918 
Bro. Ira Fox came to Centralia in 1916 and assisted in the ministry for about 2 years.  

Whisler, Ezra Leroy      1917 to 1920.
Bro. E. L. Whisler was elected to the ministry in 1912, ordained 1913. Elder E. L. Whistler and family moved to Richland Valley in 1919 where he had begun mission work a few years before.  A church was built there in 1918, and in 1919 a new congregation was organized.

Eld. D. B. Eby took charge of the church from 1920-22, during which time the ministers from Olympia filled the appointments.  May of the members moved away, and only a few families were left.  However, these faithfully kept the Sunday school going. 

Weaver, Ervin – 1922 – 1925 
In October 1922 the Mission Board Located Eld. Ervin Weaver there,

Wanger, Charles Alonzo           Lived in Olympia 

Lehman, Wesley  C                  Lived in Olympia 

Stutzman, Charles Noble 

Myers, Frank Andrew 

Sutphin, Elmon 1910-11

Bro. Otho Woods was elected to the ministry 1914 (?).


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