John Alfred Erickson
John Alfred Erickson was born February 7,
1875, at Sunnansjo, Nordmaling, Vasterbotten, Sweden. He was
converted on January 28, 1892 in Nordmaling, and baptized there July 31,
1892. John Erickson graduated from Bethel (Morgan Park) in 1900 and was
ordained December 8, 1900 in Concordia, Kansas. He married Ida Elizabeth
Welin and they had two children; Ruth Elizabeth and John Robert. He served
as a missionary in Kansas and Missouri and was a pastor in several churches
before coming to Temple Baptist in1924. He served until 1932. Pastor
Erickson retired in Oakland, California and died June 30, 1938.
This account of Pastor Erickson was copied from "Seventy Five Years" - Bethel Theological Seminary.
On April 1. 1924, the church welcomed
Pastor John Erickson from Duluth, Minnesota, to begin the longest pastorate so
far in the history of the church, covering eight and one-half years, during
which time 156 members were received, 68 by baptism, 44 by letter and 44 on
confession of faith in Christ as Savior.
The outstanding achievement of Pastor Erickson's ministry was the erection of the building now occupied by the church. The property on Interstate Avenue originally purchased for the new building was sold, and a new location secured on Clackamas Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. Plans were adopted in April, 1926, for a building to cost $50,000, but in June $40,000 was subscribed in a campaign conducted by Dr. W. H. Rogers, then of Wichita, Kansas, afterwards pastor of the Hinson Memorial Baptist Church of this city. Rev. J. O. Hammarberg also helped. These results doubtless encouraged the undertaking of an even larger program than was first intended, giving us the present structure so splendidly equipped. The new building was dedicated on June 12, 1927, with impressive ceremonies in which a great number of people participated.
The problems of the building program resulted, however, in disagreements and dissatisfactions that threatened to disrupt the church, but we thank God that in answer to prayer He has brought us forward together. The financial obligations assumed in prosperous times became tremendous burdens in these worsening times, that seemed like millstones around our necks, but God in His grace sent us help when the days were darkest. In the spring of 1932 an evangelist arranged for could not come, but another, namely, Dr Ray E.York, was secured instead. While with us, he learned of our financial distress and proved to be the man God had sent to help us. By a trip to St. Louis he secured new terms from the mortgage holders, spreading the unpaid church debt over a period of fifteen years instead of five, greatly relieving the strain. An every member canvass that followed brought splendid results and the sacrificial giving of a loyal membership has with God's blessing carried the load. Some members even mortgaged their homes to help secure the church building.
Other evangelists who held meetings with us during Pastor Erickson's ministry were Morris Peterson (twice), David Anderson (twice), Missionary Olson from Siberia, A. J. Freeman, for the third time, T. G. Sjolander, Anton Sjolund, Miss Martha Pohnert from China, Miss Stockton, and Miss Gould. Others have helped also. Bible conferences were also held. The Gideon's sent Dr. Pace of the Sunday School Times, the Union Gospel Mission used our church for a Victorious Life Conference with the Rev. L. L. Legters as speaker.
In 1930 the Oregon Swedish Baptist Conference was merged with that of Washington to become the Columbia Conference. It has met once in our church by this writing. By far the greatest gathering we have entertained was the annual meeting of the Swedish Baptist General Conference of America which was held here in 1929. Pastor Erickson was chosen Moderator of the Conference for the year that followed.
The language question has been a problem with us as with others and gradually more and more English has been used. First in Pastor Sjolander's ministry, one English preaching service a month, then during Pastor Erickson's time twice a month, later once each Sunday, alternating Sunday morning with Sunday evening. Then it was arranged to have an English service each Sunday evening with a Swedish service each Sunday morning and a separate service at the same time in English for those who did not understand Swedish. This continued for several years. For a couple of years the Sunday School session closed with a short English sermon, after which a short Swedish service was held. A short Swedish service was conducted and broadcasted by radio during the class period of the Sunday School.
The church in those days thought their first responsibility was to give the gospel to those of Swedish birth and their children, have come more and more to realize their responsibility for those who live in the neighborhood of the church. They already had several members not of Swedish parentage and others were coming. Pastor Erickson closed his work with us on September 30, 1932, with bad health. He spent some time in evangelistic work, and as interim pastor in several places. He was a man of faith and prayer and possessed of vision, patience and persistence. Pastor Erickson went to be with the Lord on July 1, 1938.
The above account was copied from the book "Sixtieth Anniversary of Temple Baptist Church."
"And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I
will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they
shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not
Numbers 11:17 KJV