SUNNYSLOPE CHURCH
(1903-     )

 

This Photo was taken around 1907

                       

WENATCHEE CONGREGATION

March 27, 1909    

Who can look upon the oak with its sturdy boughs and heavy foliage without a thought of the acorn?  Who can behold the field of waving grain, now ready to change its hue of unvarying green to that of the golden harvest and not have a thought of the sowing time--the preparation of the seed bed: --the clearing away of natureís wild raiment in preparation of the casting of the kernel of life.  Who can behold a field of Godís precious church and have no thought of its planting, its culture, its trials, its failing, its successes and present standing? 

   The congregation of the Church of the Brethren as represented at Wenatchee, Washington, is not what it is as a result of a causeless incident wholly, though in a sense may be so viewed. 

    While we have yet the last year of this present decade to meet with its uncertainties, the first one was well if not wholly spent before any sign, and possibly any thought of a well organized church in this immediate territory was had by any of its present membership.  Yet what is snow a glowing reality is but the fruits of causes slowly but steadily working in the years past, and in many different parts of the country. 

     During the early 90ís of last century, a strong tide of emigration carried with it a working nucleus of the Brethren into the state of North Dakota.  Gathered there from many different states, though principally from Indiana, was a strong body of workers.  After some years of successes and failures in a temporal sense; and because of long and severs winters, some of these Brethren began to think of a location where these periods of storm and their attendant discomforts would not necessarily be experienced. 

   Far to the West, in the state of Washington, a new and undeveloped scope of territory began to show its possibilities as a home land in a temporal way as good or better than the plains of North Dakota. 

       In the fall of 1900, Elder A. B. Peters, who for a decade past had been a leader in the development of the church and state in Dakota, made a trip with rather the twofold mission of visiting an afflicted daughter and examining the claims of the arid West: --passing through California, Oregon, Idaho and Washington, and among the many points visited was this Wenatchee Valley.  After a careful consideration of its merits, and a second visit, he began the feel that it, in truth, did offer rare opportunities for success in many ways.  So in the autumn of 1902, he in company with other Brethren, among whom might be mentioned Elder Jesse Peters, Bro. L. E. Miller, John R. Peters and others came to see and select home sites on what was then but a broad expanse of sagebrush, rocks and arid wilds.   But selection was not settlement, at that particular time, there were, so far as is now known, but two Brethren in the county, namely, Emmet Hastings and L. E. Ulrich, the former having come to the valley in February of that year, the latter in October.  While Bro. Hastings has resided here continuously since that time he did not remove his family and make it his permanent home until the early part of 1903, did not take up permanent residence until about two years later. 

    On November 2nd, 1902, Bro. A. D. Bowman with his family removed from Muncie, Indiana, and took up permanent residence near Wenatchee, thus becoming with his wife the first brother and sister to make their home in the present bounds of the Wenatchee congregation.  But they were not long the only family, for within but a few weeks, Bros. Jesse Peters, B. C. Holland, O. A. Gordon, William Baughman and others with their families followed in rapid succession.  In April of the following spring Elder A. B. Peters came with his family, as did also Bros. John K. Sharp, Samuel Neher, M. S. Peters and others.

   As the snows of the previous winter began to disappear and the bright sunny days so characteristic of the valley began to appear, all these above mentioned were busy building houses, clearing away the sage, turning the virgin soil and planting trees and various corps from which they looked forward to reaping a reasonable harvest.  And in most cased their anticipationís were verified, while in some as is always true. There was disappointment. 

   While all were busy in temporal affairs they were not slack in more important labors of the consecrated Christian, and on May 10th, they met a the Little Beacon Hill school house for the purpose of Divine worship, this being the first church service conducted by the Brethren in Chelan county.  The services on that occasion were conducted by Elder A. B. Peters, assisted by Bro. Jesse Peters.  But very few services were held until it was decided to organize a Sunday School.  So in accordance with this arrangement, about all the members then in the valley, with a goodly number of neighbors and friends met at this same little school house and organized a Union Sunday School.  Bro. Samuel Neher was elected Superintendent.  In this work all members present took a commendably active part and a good and profitable school was made.  The life and interest has never waned and from this small beginning the church now has well attended Sunday School with Bro. John R. Peters as Superintendent. 

    With the increasing number so members it was soon seen advisable to become an organized body, so in accordance with previous arrangements on August 15th, 1903, a meeting was held for that purpose with Elder A. B. Peters and wife, Jesse Peters (minister) and wife, John K. Sharp (deacon) and wife, B. C.  Holland (deacon) and wife, M. S. Peters and wife, D. J. Coffin and wife, William Landis and wife, Samuel Neher and wife, Ethel Sharp, Roy Sharp, William Baughman (deacon), Rosa and Mary Baughman, Jesse, Daniel and Elsie Neher, Mary and Marvin Peters, and Dayton McMillin. 

   Bro. A. B. Peters was chosen Elder in charge, D. J. Coffin as clerk, J. K. Sharp treasurer, Samuel Neher messenger, correspondent and agent, Sister Mary Peters missionary solicitor, Brethren B. C. Holland, William Baughman and Jno. K. Sharp assuming the duties of deacons of the new organization by virtue of former election and service. 

   From this body of organized laborers the Church has been constantly growing by emigration and confession and baptism.  By emigration the church has acquired all its present official force exempt in the case of Bro. L. E. Ulrich.  On October 15th, 1905, by special service, he was elected and duly installed into the ministry and Bro. Jesse Peters was ordained to the Eldership.  One by one the following named ministers came to us, namely, -- L. E. Miller, John L Teeter, Albert Gaus, William Tigner, Walter Brunton, Elder J. Harman Miller, the last named having removed from North Carolina was permitted to be with us only about one and a half years when the Angel of Death claimed him for his own. 

   In the spring of 1904, Bro. Albert Crites on North Dakota joined the number of ministers but upon his urgent request the church relieved him of official duties. 

   Upon request presented by the congregation at Muncie, Indiana, on September 22, 1906, Bro. A. D. Bowman was installed into the ministry, having been called to that position in July, 1902. 

  For a time the following named ministers, now members of the E. Wenatchee congregation, were active workers of this body; viz., J. J. Filburn, S. H. H. Schechter, George Buntain and Warren W. Slabaugh. 

In addition to the free charter deacon brethren the following named are now active in that office: -- Jacob McMillin, Amiziah Frantz, Jacob Densmore, Alfred Long, Samuel Gochley, John Grabill, William Leavell, J. F. Penrod, J. F. Sharp and L. C. Wise. 

  While not as active, perhaps, as has been the duty of the church, no year has been permitted to pass without some effort to win souls for the Master by a special services of meetings.  The first effort in this line was conducted by Bro. J. E. Smith of North Dakota at which time six were received by baptism and one reclaimed.  The last effort was conducted by Bro. J. U. G. Stiverson of the Centralia, Washington, when the same number was added to the church.  During the week following our Love Feast of May 9th, 1908, four were received by baptism and two reclaimed. 

   While these dates signify seasons of joy and gladness the church as a body has had its seasons of sorrow occasioned by the calls of the Angel of Death.  Of this number may be mentioned Bro. Daniel Gensinger, Sisters Laura Miles, Mary Eikenberry, Carrie and Caroline Bowman. 

   While the boundary lines of the church have never been definitely fixed, the understanding on organization was to include Chelan and Douglas counties.  At the regular quarterly council of September 26, 1908, the members of Douglas county presented a petition asking for separate organization.  The request was granted; since then Wenatchee congregation is confined to Chelan county. 

   Besides regular services each Lordís day, at the main church house, built in the fall of 1905, four and one half miles northwest of the city of Wenatchee, of Sunday School, preaching and Christian Workers Meeting, regular services of Sunday School, and preaching are conducted in the City of Wenatchee.  Also BI-weekly service are held in Squllchuch Canyon School house and Gains Schoolhouse in Entiat Valley.  Regular appointments at various other points are contemplated. 

While no record has been kept of the total number of members gained or lost the number as the church stands at this date, March 27, 1909, is about one hundred twenty. 

A. D. Bowman

Signed by Fred Cripe 1953 on good evidence that Bowman was the author. 

 


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