Bridge Community Church met every Sunday in the Harstine Community Hall from November 1996 to September 2009. Each Sunday, chairs had to be set up in the main hall for worship service and then taken down again after service was over. Small groups met in homes for Bible Study and Prayer Services. In 2009, the current church building was completed which has greatly increased our ability to serve the community in various ministries and services held at the church. God has blessed our church richly and we give Him praise and glory for all he has done in our lives.
November 1996 -September 2009
In the 1940’s two couples on Harstine Island wanted to share their faith in God with the children. The Pearsons and the Pinards arranged for Mr. and Mrs. Knautz with American Sunday School Union to begin Sunday School in the school near the Harstine Community Hall. Willa Smith and Lena Tober and a Wingert girl attended that Sunday School and summer Bible camps.
Later, Pioneer Community Church led by Pastor Denny Tyas met in Pioneer School. They were associated with American Missionary Fellowship, the new name for American Sunday School Union.
In 1995 some meetings were held to discover what type of Christian ministry might be established on Harstine Island. By 1996, a group was meeting to plan and pray about establishing a Christian church in the area. The group included Willa Smith, Mel and Lyla Hadley, the Area Missionaries for American Missionary Fellowship, Don and Vi Burrows, who had participated in the Pioneer Church, David Allison, Jim and Sally Doherty, and Howard and Doris Spear. They searched for a suitable meeting place, and eventually secured the use of the Harstine Community Hall.
The first service was held in the Harstine Community Hall on November 10, 1996. Everyone wondered how many would come. Many friends far and near came until 89 people filled the Hall. Randy Endicott led the music, Orval and Doreen Heath of Manchester presented special music. Mel Hadley told how he came to trust in Christ and eventually came to serve with AMF. Howard Spear spoke about ‘The Thirsty Woman’ from John 4.
Sunday School was begun several months later. Many people have opened their homes for mid-week Bible studies and Men’s and Ladies’ Fellowship and other meetings.
There had never been a church building on Harstine Island. While Harstine Hall provided a place to worship, there was need for space for a nursery, class rooms and a building available for Christian meetings through the week. A building fund was established and grew over the years. A building committee was formed to plan a facility.
Property was donated, cleared and dedicated to the Lord on our 10th anniversary, November, 2006. With much discussion and prayer a plan was designed, a building permit secured, grading done, and construction begun.
It was our goal to build this church building debt free. Some wondered how long that would take. Would there be long delays waiting for the necessary funds? God has enabled and moved people near and far to contribute to this project. Over $700,000 has been contributed and there is no debt. There has been no delay in waiting for funds. It is a testimony to God’s gracious provision for His work. There has been sacrificial giving without fund raising.
Bernie Walton has given able leadership and many hours as building committee chairman. Others on the building committee included Dan Deffinbaugh, Gordon Foster, Kathy Funkhouser, Aleta Lewton, Willa Smith, and Norm Tober. Many individuals and contractors have donated their labor or given us exceptional deals to make this building a reality. Eugene and Ruth Stevenson lived on site in their trailer for several months and did plumbing and hundreds of other jobs.
A loving and cooperative spirit has been evident through the whole building process.
Our first worship service was held on September 6, 2009 with 170 people attending. We rejoice in our gracious God and celebrate His goodness in enabling us to have this building and use it for His glory. It is a wonderful place to fellowship and worship. We pray many more will come to know and love Jesus Christ and join the fellowship.