The Foursquare Church, now called New Life Christian Fellowship, celebrated 31 years of history in Madras, and its new location and partnership on Sunday, Sept. 9.
The Madras Foursquare Church was started in 1981 by Pastor Dick Turner and his wife Frances, who purchased the pioneer-era, white, steepled church at Eighth and D streets from the Conservative Baptist Church. Prior to that, the building had been used by the United Methodist congregation. When the Turners retired in 1988, the building was sold and they turned the ministry over to Pastor Warren Bowles, who served from 1988-2000.
Next came pastors Glen Mickel, 2000-2003; John Reagan, 2003-2006; Todd Holland 2007-2010; and current Pastor Darrell Sumner, who arrived in 2010.
Without a church building of its own, the Foursquare congregation met in several locations including the Metolius School, the United Methodist Church, the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, and the old Christian Science Church on 10th and A streets.
Sumner started out pastoring the renamed New Life Christian Fellowship Church in the A Street building, but as the congregation grew, they looked around for a larger meeting area.
In the meantime, Madras Gospel Mission had purchased the original white church on D Street to use as a community center for ministry and offered to partner with them.
New Life moved into the larger church in February. "We've come full circle. We're back in this building again and partnering with Madras Gospel Mission," Sumner said, noting the A Street church has been rented to Juniper Junction Relief Nursery.
For its side of the partnership, New Life members have been helping remodel the basement kitchen, which needed extensive work to address a past flooding problem.
"Charley Horn has done almost all of the remodel work for free, and Ben Mallory helped work on it, too," Sumner said.
At Sunday's celebration, past pastors, the Revs. Dick Turner, Warren Bowles, and Glen Mickel returned, to help dedicate the building and remodeling project to the service of God. The pastors were also presented with plaques recognizing their years of service to the Four Square Church.
The Madras Gospel Mission and its director Mark Harner were also honored. Harner received a plaque for his ministry, which was called a "work of service and labor of love to the people of Jefferson County."
"Mark Harner believes in bringing the community of faith together. He helped our church, and has opened the building up for free to other churches to offer classes," Sumner said.
Harner is promoting the idea that, "What we can do together is greater than what we can do apart," Sumner said.
With that idea, the Madras Gospel Mission Community Center will hold a kickoff, Sept. 16, for four classes, each being offered by a different church. The classes are open to the public.
At the kickoff, there will be a barbecue with hot dogs and root beer floats from 5-5:30 p.m., worship and program introductions from 5:30-6:15 p.m., and the first class at 6:30 p.m. The church is located at 164 S.E. D St., Madras.
"Restoration," Sept. 16, hosted by Madras Free Methodist Church, for those trying to forget hurts or failures of the past and rebuild a new foundation for life. Call 541-475-3518 for information.
"Financial Peace University," Sept. 18, hosted by Metolius Friends Church, teaches God's ways of handling money, and practical steps to get from where you are to where you've dreamed you could be. Call 541-546-4974 for details.
"Celebrate Recovery," Sept. 19, hosted by Living Hope Christian Center, an ongoing program to help those struggling with hurts, hangups, and habits. Call 541-475-2405 for information.
"Experiencing God," Sept. 20, hosted by New Life Christian Fellowship, encourages people to step out in faith and join God in His work -- with miraculous results. Call 541-475-2336 for more information.
"The churches are playing well together," Sumner commented, adding, "I've been in ministry for 20 years and dreamed of seeing something like this happen."