Springfield Church History


  Springfield, OR, Church of the Brethren. The congregation had its origin in the arrival in neighboring Eugene of Forest and Della Groff in 1945. Together with the Parks, Faw, Clark, Bell, Dunning and Gans families, they organized a congregation in the Nicholias Gardens area on Oct. 26, 1945, with fourteen charter members. A converted military building was used as a chapel after 1946. With aid from the district and the denomination, extensive improvements were made to the building, completed in 1949. A new façade was constructed in 1969, but the building suffered extensive damage by a five in 1982. Forrest Groff and James Parks were the first port-time ministers; Leland Nelson arrived as the first full-time minister in 1947, serving until 1953. Under his leadership the congregation reached out to the community and called itself the Nicholas Gardens Community Church, by 1953 there were 112 members; by 1963 there were 244 members. The 1960’s marked by its rechartering as the Springfield Church of the Brethren. Some early members departed and the nature of the neighborhood changed. Leading to a crop in membership to 150 in 1967. Under the part-time pastorate of Lee Whipple, 1971-75, Springfield attempted to shift to an emphasis on lay ministry, and emphasis continue by the preset Pastor, Hall Sheller, 1976. In 1980 there were eighty-six members. 

History taken from The Brethren Encyclopedia Vol. 2 page 1215-16  (1983)

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