First UMC Coos Bay
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Making Disciples; Transforming the World!
We have a long history of ministry in the Coos Bay area, and we are quite proud of our history. In, 2007 we celebrated 150 years of ministry.
Our first call to worship under Methodist Ministries here in the Coos Bay area was probably Methodist circuit riders from either Scottsburg or Jacksonville.
On September 10, 1857, Rev. Christopher Alderson presided over a Methodist gathering in a meeting hall over Foley's Drug store in Empire City. He aided in organizing the Methodist Episcopal Church of Empire City. This was two years before Oregon became a state.
In 1871 when the Rev. S. H. Todd was pastor, W. W. Luce, owner of an Empire Sawmill, donated property to the congregation. This paved the way for the construction of the first church building in southwestern Oregon.
Marshfield emerged as a population center, so in 1893-94 another Methodist church building was started. The location was at Fifth and Central along an inlet. The church was built on pilings to keep it above the water and had a board walk around it.
In 1951 a committee was formed to investigate possible building sites for a new church. Building fund crusades were held in February 1953 and February 1955. The site of Central and Ocean Boulevard, Coos Bay, was approved by congregational vote in October 1953. Our building committee decided to act as contractor for the project and hired Myrne "Hap" Schutte as Superintendent of the works. Ground breaking ceremonies were held on February 26, 1956. After many thousands of hours of volunteer labor we worshiped in the mostly completed building on July 28, 1957. Bishop A. Raymond Grant consecrated the new building on Sunday, October 13, 1957. Rev. Warner was with the congregation during the entire period of fund raising, construction, and the first year of occupancy. All loans were paid off by January, 1969.
A Grand Reuter pipe organ was installed and later dedicated on May 12, 1974.
With a dedication of an elevator on October 2, 1994 our church become more accessible to persons with disabilities. Work was begun on the elevator tower on February 8, 1994 by a group of dedicated volunteers. Construction of the tower was supervised by Hap Schutte, the same person that had supervised the construction of our current building.
Rev. Walter R. Warner did much of the research of our church's early history utilizing the archives of the Oregon Conference. Walter Coover's contribution came from personal knowledge and official board minutes which he printed in 1984.