Warren Baptist Church
The Warren Baptist
Church was organized on June 5, 1907. It is located in Warren, Oregon
along the Columbia River on Highway 30 . The town of Warren is on the
Portland side of the city of St. Helens.
There is a delightful tradition a Warren Baptist Church to have an annual strawberry festival, just like the Children of Israel had their Feast of Tabernacles in harvest time. Big, red, juicy, local strawberries. Hand picked, and hardly a calorie in them.
The Portlander's and other neighbors came to rejoice with Warren at the time of harvest and to lift an offering for the cause of Missions.
Warren is about 30 miles north of Portland on the Columbia River.
Missionary A.G. Sandblom, serving the Oregon Swedish Baptist Conference in 1907-12, writes that he was holding meetings in a tent that he carried along to communities that had no church. He mentions that he baptized two people at Warren in June, and that it was in this tent that the church in Warren was organized with seven members.
Mrs. J. Engstrom writes in her report that both Sandblom, and A. Olson, his successor, "did all they could" to help the little church, but that from 1913 until 1920 no regular services were held.
In 1920 Emanuel Bjorkquist became the Oregon Conference Missionary and made his home in Warren. We quote Temple Baptist Church's Pastor Gideon Sjolander, "Now the old friends were gathered and some new ones moved in; the church was reorganized and vigorous activity ensued--it was like a resurrection from the dead." An old church building was purchased and by 1924 there were 27 members and the building had been renovated. The church was remodeled again in 1946 and enlarged to meet new needs.
The Bjorkquists family in the third and fourth generations, the Hammerbeck's, the Engstrom's and the Johnson's are among those who have served faithfully and long.
Gust Anderson came to the church in 1947 as pastor and served for seven years. He was followed by L. C. Hersgard who served as pastor for ten years before entering semi retirement. Linden Magnuson was called as pastor in 1964. The church was meeting in the building it had purchased 40 years earlier and remodeled and enlarged several times to accommodate about 120 persons. The congregation had now grown to 135. Attention was given to constructing a new building. The ground breaking ceremony took place on September 24, 1967. On November 2, 1969, the church dedicated a 250-seat sanctuary, 16 classrooms, a spacious social hall, offices and library. Dedication was the culmination of two years of intensive volunteer construction work.
A key member of long standing was Bill Hammerbeck, Sr. He served as contractor who built the new church and directed the thousands of hours of volunteer work. Bill greatly enjoyed worshiping in the new church for 8 years before he went to be with the Lord in March of 1977. He helped with building at Lake Retreat, and served for many years on the Oregon Baptist Retirement Home Board. The membership grew to 189, and the Sunday school to 135 before the Magnuson's moved to Galilee Church in Circle Pines, Minnesota, in 1972.
Reginald and Barbara Melhorn came from an independent Baptist church in Everett, Washington, to be senior pastor at Warren in 1972. At that time the Melhorn's daughter, Melissa was 7 years old. In 1988 she was commissioned as a BGC missionary to Ivory Coast, Africa. Reginald served for four years before moving to Arizona to teach in a Bible College.
Elwood and Arlene Anderson were called to Warren from Burlington, Iowa, and began ministry on December 1, 1976. The Anderson's served for 3 years.
Robert and Delores Karn moved into the Warren parsonage when they began an interim ministry in early spring of 1980 and before summer the church called Bob as senior pastor. The Karn's son Jon came on as associate and served in the youth ministry as well as director of music in worship. Within a year the church was into a major building program including a multi-purpose gym and social hall with new offices and added classrooms.
Some of the members became unhappy and decided to start an independent church in the immediate vicinity. The major portion of the congregation remained and dug in for the long haul of completing the new facility. Five years after ground-breaking , the addition designed by Pat Mitchell was dedicated on April 20, 1986. Mr. John Hoeldtke was the speaker.
In less than a week after the dedication celebration Pastor Bob Karn went to be with the Lord. He died of a heart attack in the pastor's study in the church.
Gene and Christine Moniz, Carrie and Amy came to the Warren pastorate in March 1987. Gene is a graduate of Western Conservative Baptist Seminary.
The above account was taken from Gordon Carlson's book "75 Years History" and John Bergeson's "Fourth Quarter."
Panoramic picture taken at Warren Baptist Church of congregation and friends in front of original building, probably taken in the 20's. Picture was located in the archives of Temple Baptist Church.
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