Forest Center History

Work of  W. H. Tigner since 1914
By T. E. Willey 

In the early part of June 1914 a Baptist Calporter coming through the country heard that a few families were interested in Sunday school work.  He wrote to Mrs. T. E. Willey setting a date that he could meet, preach and help organize a Sunday school.

The meeting was held and Mrs. V. S. Reed was chosen Supt. Mrs. T. E Willey asst., T E Willey teacher of the bible class, Mrs. Willey the young people and Mrs. Wishon the primary class, Miss Blanche Ellis Sec. Treasure.  There was no one in the school but what had drifted so far that they did not feel able to offer a public prayer.

Bro. Tigner being a man that wanted his light to shine and coming mainly to serve this master the Lord Jesus and not for worldly gain.  Soon had different preaching appointments one at the school house two and one half miles distance, and another at the Empy school nearly six miles from his home.  In Sept. of this same year he opened an appointment at Forest Center this was ten and one half miles north east from his home and a very rough and hilly road through the forest, he preached here regularly until Nov. 1914 when he opened a series of meetings.  Before the opening of the 1st sermon he was called by phone to attend his fathers bed side he being very low he preached the first sermon then went to Spokane where he was with his parent till his death, after this he continued the meeting closing them in Feb. 1915.  He drove back and forth from his home every night to hold these meetings. Bitter cold, once loosing his way, but neither discouraged or daunted he kept on.  As a result of this meeting 14 were baptized and one reclaimed.

Forest Center was now made a mission point by the Mt. Hope church & a regular appoint of every other Sunday was kept up by Bro. Tigner holding the appointment and keeping up the other two.

During the summer of 1915 two more were baptized and Bro. and Sister Snider moved into congregation.

The first Sunday in Jan. 1916 Bro. Tigner opened a series of meeting in Springdale Wash.  The weather turned very cold the thermometer registered 30 below zero, never the less the attendance and attention were good and eleven more were baptized into the church.

After this meeting Bro. Tigner dropped his appointment at Empy school and Camas Prairie school and preached every Sunday morning at Forest Center and in the evening at Springdale.

During the fall of 1915 the members of the Forest Center congregation met and decided to build a church. Ground was procured and in the spring of 1916 a temporary building was erected.

The District meeting of 1916 was petitioned and a division granted from Mt. Hope church.  On Sept. 30, 1916 the Mt. Hope and Forest Center congregations met at Forest Center church and the division completed.

Bro. Tigner was advanced to the Eldership on the same day, Bro. A. B. Peters and G. A. Shamberger officiating at both meeting.  The new church elected Bro. Tigner its elder, Bro. Snider clerk, Bro. Reece and Bro. Willy trustees.

Plans were considered and after much planning and prayer, a building 28 by 36 feet was decided upon.  This building was to have a full basement, and an annex. 8 by 14 feet for the pulpit.  Leaving the whole of the main floor for seating. A peculiar feature of the building was to be the high arch ceiling.  It being nearly 20 feet high in the center, this makes one of the best rooms for a speaker to speak in that can be built for this size. This was a large undertaking for such a week congregation especially as all of them were poor. Bro. Tigner and family moved into the neighborhood in Oct.  Renting a house to be near the work.  In Nov. 3 more were baptized. In Dec. Brother D. E. Eby held a series of meetings which help many of the new members and strengthened the work.  In 1917 there were five more baptized. In 1918 there were four.  There were accessions that came from the regular services.  In later part of Jan. 1920, Bro. Tigner assisted by brother George Parch of Sunny Side, Wash. as chorister held a two weeks meeting.  There were 9 accessions to the church, in the spring 2 more making 11 for the year.  The new church building was now near enough completed for dedication.  The congregation having used the basement for one and half years.  Brother G. A. Shamberger preached the dedication sermon Easter Sunday 1920.  The building is easily worth $3,000 and was nearly all clear of debt at this time.  There was no more meeting until June 1921, when brother George Carl assisted by Bro. George Parch as a chorister held a two weeks meeting when Bro. Carl was called home by the serious illness of his wife. But after his meetings 3 more were baptized.  The church is unique in at least two of its principle points. First it is a church of new members and second it is the results of the efforts of one man.  That the work was done at all.  The sacrifices of Bro. Tigner will never be paid on this earth.  The long cold drives with a tired work team are experience few would have the courage to face.  Besides his work at Forest Center, Bro. Tigner held meeting at Mt. Hope, Springdale, Wash., Moscow, Idaho, North Spokane, First Spokane on west side, in those meetings he was the means of bringing between 25 and 30 souls to seek their Lord.   

Bro. Tigner was brought up in a frontier country far from public schools reaching only the third grade and was not converted until 22 years of age.  Those things were a great disadvantage to be over come.  If Bro. Tigner could do the work he has done here under the disadvantages he has had to over come how much more could others that have had the blessings of an education and Christian environment do.  If they would only put forth the effort he has done in the master cause.  It is with regret that many of our members have moved away, but we earnestly pray that they are letting there light shine in the fields in which they have chosen.  About 50 have been baptized here at Forest Center.

T. E. Willey  Valley, Wash.  

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