First United Methodist Church




Evelyn Valentine was born in Ketchikan in the early 1900's.

She completed this history in 1996 and it was published in 1997.

While many of the names mentioned have now passed on, join us for a charming stroll through the early years of the church.

The Evolution of a Church

by Evelyn Sampson Valentine

The 1900's

On September 27, 1900 there came to the little fishing and mining village of Ketchikan two Methodist ministers, J. J. Walters, superintendent of Methodist missions in Alaska, and V. Roy Bennett, our first pastor. This was a little before my time, but I can attest that 12 years later, when I was brought here by my parents, Ketchikan was little more than a primitive frontier settlement, with wooden plank streets and sidewalks. The central part of town was flanked by two outlying sections, one to the north and one to the south, called Newtown and Indian town, respectively. The planks for the streets and buildings, as they were constructed, were supplied by the Ketchikan Power Company, owned by J. J. Daly, and the forerunner of the Ketchikan Spruce Mills

Services of the church were first held in Redmen's Hall, still standing. The land on which now stands our present building was purchased on July 31, 1901; it already had a three-room house. The purchase price was $325; what a ridiculously small sum that seems to us today!

On January 20, 1901, even before we had a church building, a Sunday School was organized, with J. W. Young as superintendent. He was the brother of S. Hall Young, the pioneering Presbyterian minister who organized churches all over Alaska and was the author of several books about his experiences.

Our second pastor was William J. Rule, who came in September 1901. A church was erected at a cost of $1,300, the first church building in Ketchikan. The third pastor was Joseph A. Chapman who came in December 1903 and remained for five years.

Both the Rev. Chapman and his wife were greatly beloved by the community, and substantial improvements were made to the church and adjoining parsonage.

The next two pastorates were short; R. V. Fisher was here in 1908 and 1909, followed by H. F. Atkinson, who also stayed two years. During these years the Board of Trustees consisted of Joseph Emmett Ryus, Willis A. Bryant, Frank H. Bold, Dr. Joseph L. Myers, William Conners, H. Roy Thompson, and James Millar. The latter was the father of Mrs. Bryant and also of Craig Millar, for whom the town of Craig was named. Some of these names will sound familiar even to some of us today.

Here is an excerpt from the second session of Alaska Methodist Episcopal Missions: "Ketchikan has had a year of victory! One year ago the church was unfinished and the parsonage small. Now the church is finished and the parsonage commodious. These improvements have cost $1,800, of which the board of Church Extensions gave $700. This makes in all over $2,500 raised in Ketchikan for building purposes, which, considering the small membership, is splendid giving. Substantial help has been rendered by the Ladies Aid in furnishing the parsonage. The Sunday School is prosperous, and the Gospel has a good hearing."

The 1910's

To continue our saga of our church in Ketchikan, we are now coming into an era that is well within the memory of your reporter. During the years from 1911 to 1916, our residing minister was the Rev. H. W. Michener. He and his wife were the parents of five children; they were all extremely towheaded.

How well I remember the little Michener girl who sat in front of me in first or second grade. I immersed the end of her blond pigtail in my inkwell and was severely reprimanded by Miss Harriet Rossiter, our teacher! Rev. Michener reportedly loved the water and the out-of-doors. According to Bertha Hunt, an early historian, he had some "interesting programs while here, made many improvements to the property, worked hard and conscientiously, and left many permanent friends behind him."

An interesting sidelight on Bertha Hunt, the daughter of Forest J. and Harriet Hunt, early pioneers of Ketchikan, is that she was the grandmother of Chuck Cloudy, of this city

Another item of interest from Mrs. Wells' account is that the Rev. George Beck, a Presbyterian missionary from Kake, Alaska, preached at our church on September 29, 1914. Rev. Beck was the father of the late George Beck, of our congregation. Mrs. Wells also noted that the Sunday School attendance on April 16, 1916 was 169 -- more kids than church members! I have gathered that church attendance at that time was about 90. We must remember that in these early days there were very few churches in Ketchikan.

We now come to the pastorate that ranks first in number of years, 1916 - 1926, but also in other ways as well. Let me quote from "Our Church Up-to-Date, 1900 - 1937," compiled in later years by Rev. Isaacson. "The name of Rev. C. C. Van Marter is written into the hearts of the people of this city, as well as in the glass of our memorial window.

Ten years is a long time for a Methodist minister to stay put. Brother Van Marter walked the streets of the city, sailed the waters of our inland seas, and left wherever he went a memory that time has failed to make dim. While serving as minister, Brother Van often donned the garb of a carpenter or painter, as the need arose. Great improvements were made by him and Ben Libe, the latter building the wing on the northeast side of the church."

Your reporter was by this time in high school, and I particularly remember Rev. Van Marter as a fiery orator. He took upon himself the task of closing up the brothels on Creek Street and preached many an impassioned sermon on this subject. This made quite an impression on my young mind.

During the terrible Spanish influenza epidemic of 1918 our church was used as an emergency hospital to take care of the overflow of patients from the Arthur Yates Memorial Hospital (this building now houses the Seamen's Center operated by St. John's Church) [ed. The Seamen's Center has closed since this was written]. Rev. Van Marter was appointed by the city to supervise and coordinate all emergency activity. There were as many as nine patients being cared for at one time in the basement of our church. Doctors here at that time were Dr. Ben Myers, Dr. Mustard and the Drs. George and Beatrice Dickinson. This influenza epidemic was nationwide, and resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths from pneumonia, as it was of course before the advent of antibiotics.

The 1920's

After the departure of the beloved Brother Van, Rev. Sanders came to replace him in 1926. The next spring he broke his leg while climbing Deer Mountain. Nothing daunted, the next day following the accident being Sunday, the Rev. Sanders was helped to the pulpit where he preached his sermon sitting down. During these years the church was growing and progressing, and Sunday School enrollment reached 264! Ray G. Hall, father of Jim Hall of this city, was superintendent. The Rev. Sanders reduced the church indebtedness by $340, leaving a balance of $700. The membership was increased by 16, bringing the total to 93. World Service (a preliminary to Mission?) was sent a contribution of $120 in one year, an increase of 20%. The Ladies' Aid raised $992 during the years 1926 - 1927, not bad for those times. Rev. Sanders might have taken for his motto, "The church is going ahead if I have to break a leg to make it." What spirit; it might truly inspire us in our present day efforts.

The 1930's

Rev. Walker, with wife and two children, replaced Rev. Sanders in 1928 and remained until 1933. More new members were added during his pastorate than in any other. One notable event that took place during Clyde Walker's regime was the marriage of Evelyn Mae Sampson to John Paul Valentine on November 9, 1930, the beginning of the Great Depression! But that is another story. I might add that my mother forever after bemoaned the fact that the marriage rook place with the candles remaining unlit. This was before the days of candle lighters. During these years the North End Sunday School was started through Rev. Walker's efforts. It was later housed in the North End Chapel, closed these many years, though the building remains on First Avenue. The superintendent of Alaska missions, Dr. Torbet, praised him for his excellent work and fine community spirit. Rev. Walker was active in the Red Cross and introduced the Girl Scout movement here. It is recorded also that our mayor of the time, P. J. Gilmore, praised him highly for his community activities. I think you will note throughout this series that our church has entered into the life of the town to a great extent.

Rev. Fred Isacksen, with wife and child, replaced Clyde Walker in 1933 and was the first of our ministers to put the church on a self-supporting basis; we were no longer a mission. He introduced the pledge card concept, and "was a good businessman," according to Bertha Wells' account. Mrs. Isacksen was very active in the "Junior League," Sunday School, and Ladies' Aid. This is what Rev. Isacksen says of his wife; "Too much credit cannot be given her these four hard years of uphill work against fierce and unrelenting competition for the interests of young and old." Quite a tribute. Rev. Isacksen goes on to say, "The church has gone ahead, and the congregation deserves great credit for some rather fine achievements. There is a spiritual earnestness apparent which promises well for the future.

The Van Marter memorial window remakes the atmosphere of the church. You have purchased 100 new Methodist hymnals. A conservative estimate of the improvements and new construction, plus the liquidation of the old debt, brings the grand total of extra expenditures the past four years to above $5,000. And with that, you have met a local expense budget in full each year and given in addition an increasing amount to World Service. You are the only one of our churches in Alaska that is self-supporting."

We come now to the year 1937; the leaving of the Rev. Fred Isacksen and the coming of the Rev. Roy Mason to fill his place as pastor of our church. These are the words of an unknown historian of the time, "We have loved Roy Mason and his wife and hated to see them go, but the son became ill with rheumatic fever, and they asked for a transfer to Whittier, California."

The 1940's

The Rev. Archie Matson arrived with his wife and son, and they were here during the war. In a letter dated October 11, 1940, Ray Hall, chairman of the Board of Trustees, advised W. K. Spaulding, our insurance agent, that the name of our church had been changed to "Community Church, Methodist, of Ketchikan." There is nothing in the records to indicate the reason for the change, nor to indicate when the nomenclature resumed its original form. During the war U. S. Savings Bonds were purchased and placed in safe deposit at the bank; we performed our patriotic duty! In the fall of 1945 a Hammond organ was purchased for the church due to the generosity of H. G. Strong, who contributed $1,000 toward the purchase in memory of his wife Anna. Mr. Strong was a longtime businessman here, with substantial interest in, among other things, the Citizens Light, Power, and Water Company and the Ketchikan Cold Storage. The latter was situated where the Berth II dock now is, and Mr. Strong's house occupied the corner where the police station now stands. This is what Mr. Strong says in a letter to Mrs. W. C. Dibrell, evidently chairman of the organ fund purchase effort: "I have always felt it was better for the moral effect to have the membership participate and feel the responsibility." This in explanation of why he did not donate the entire purchase sum. Mr. Strong, in closing his letter, goes on to say, "Sunday mornings I used to watch Willis (Bryant) so faithfully going to church early to make sure everything was in readiness for the service. I greatly admire him."

During these years there were additions and alterations made to the church building amounting to about $6,500. It is also noted that there was a great influx of young people into the church.

Rev. William Arthur Cox filled the pulpit for two years after Matson. During his tenure our lovely stained glass window, "Christ in the Garden," was presented to the church in memory of Willis A. Bryant by his children, Margaret and Arthur Bryant. It was during this time that a new parsonage was purchased from Mr. and Mrs. Lyle Blodgett. The house was situated at the corner of Pine and Bawden, just across the street from your reporter's home at that time. The house was purchased for $10,000 -- at least that was the amount of the mortgage. And so it was, in late 1945 that Wyburn Skidmore came to fill the pulpit at our church and brought his wife Betty and two children, Lynette and Kimberly with him. He was here for eight years; during this time the church at Clover Pass was erected, and, though there was as yet no building at Mountain Point, there was an active and growing congregation there, which met regularly at the Guiding Light Home. Miss June Marks came about this time to be a parish worker.

Your reporter has warm personal memories of the Skidmores. Little three-year-old Kim was best friends of same age Peter Valentine, and they entered kindergarten together. I remember the morning when Rev. Skidmore came to see me, persuaded me to head up the Vacation Bible School that summer, and I did it! There is a picture somewhere of the whole school taken outside the church -- an impressive crowd!

The 1950's

The Mountain Point church was built in 1952. In September 1953 the Skidmore family left for Flagstaff, Arizona, as their son Kim needed a high dry climate. Before they left, some property adjacent to the church had been purchased for a parking lot.

Wyburn died in California of lung cancer at the age of 51. This is what he said when told he was suffering from terminal cancer, "The answer came like a voice from God. You have all the time to do the things you have to do, but not an hour to spare. Love the family, serve the church, and write the book." And so it was.

Let us back up a bit to observe the 50th anniversary of our church in 1951. This was commemorated in great style, the centerpiece of the celebration being a pageant written and produced by Leah Hattrick. She had come here to be a parish worker but married a local gentleman and remained for several years. The name of the pageant was "Trail of the Builders," and it was a very ambitious undertaking, with large cast and production crew. It was just about this rime that planning began for a new church building, though it would be just about ten years before the plans materialized.

This is what "Skid," as he was fondly called, had to say about the second 50 years: "This church was built in the days when men came north for gold. Consecrated ministers and laymen turned many hearts from gold to God. Now, as we see visions and dream dreams, as we face the next 50 years, we feel indebted to those who have given us the heritage of this great church. But even more, we feel indebted to the generations yet unborn. We are not afraid, but we are humbled. We face the future with a prayer in our hearts, a plan in our minds, and a purpose in our activities. The Kingdom is calling for workers, and the city is calling for men, and our hearts are answering in these days of challenge, 'Lord we are able. Our spirits are Thine'."

In 1954 the Rev. Bob McMasters, with wife and children, came from Little Rock, Arkansas, to be our pastor, and the main force of his ministry was the beginning of plans for the new church and the institution of a fund raising drive. It was at this time, June 15, 1954, that the final payment was made on the parsonage on Bawden Street. A professional fundraiser, a former Methodist minister named J. Edwin Keith, was employed to come to Ketchikan to train local workers in this field. Preliminary plans called for demolishing the former parsonage, which had become "Friendship Hall," and erecting a structure of two stories there which would continue across the back of the parking lot. This would be the nucleus of the new building. This was the first of several plans to be abandoned later. The original building committee was comprised of Jim Hall, Roy Casils, Ernest Anderes, Jack Sherman, Leah Hattrick, Merrit Klepser and Fred Hipkins. Chairman of the financial drive was Duane Force, with Charles Hattrick as co-chairman.

Pledges by November 1954 had reached the sum of almost $29,000. Thus began an effort that was to last into the early '60s before the building was completed and the structure as we know it now came into being. An architectural drawing, submitted by Harold Foss, of Juneau, shows quite a building of impressive dimensions. Unfortunately, this plan had to be abandoned because of cost. During this period, there was extensive publicity given in the local press to the fund drive and the plans for building.

In 1956 the Rev. Reeves Havens, his wife and Alan and Lyndal, moved into the parsonage on Bawden Street. The building effort continued throughout his tenure. During these years it was also that the Mountain Point church and the North End Chapel were continued, as was the church at Clover Pass. The pulp mill, which was built here and completed in 1954, had resulted in quite an influx of people, bringing with them, of course, many more church denominations to our town. As a result, after a time, our church was found to be overextended, our efforts in these areas were discontinued, and the properties sold. During the two years the Rev. Havens was here there is evidence in the records of many differences of opinion regarding the building effort, sometimes bordering on dissension. However, as Rev. Havens says in his farewell letter, "Naturally, there are regrets when certain aims are frustrated, yet we cannot afford to look upon these as failures but rather as stepping stones to the ultimate fulfillment of God's purpose." Grace Weaver came here as an associate pastor during Rev. Havens regime. The Havens family while in Ketchikan adopted a third child, a little girl called Rana Lee. As I recall, she was of Eskimo or Aleut heritage. And so, on May 1, 1958, the Havens family sailed away.

The 1960's

The Rev. Bill Youngblood, with his wife and small children, came to our church, and it was under his leadership that the final plan for the new church building was agreed upon and the actual building began. Linn Forest, of Juneau, was the architect, and McGilvray Brothers, of Ketchikan, received the contract to build. Their bid of $169,500 was beyond the funds of the church, even though an intensive financial campaign had been conducted for several years. However, the Methodist Division of Missions gave a grant of $8,500 and also a loan of the same amount, and the work proceeded. There had been a previous loan of $50,000 from the Division of Missions. The final service was conducted in the old church on August 21, and a ground breaking ceremony was conducted by Rev. Youngblood on September 11, 1960. The ceremony took place a short distance from Main Street and just about in the middle of our present parking lot.

The final cost, after some items were removed from the building contract, was $170,484, which included material for electric and finishing work. This was done by volunteers. Lloyd Nault recalls that almost every evening about 7 o'clock he received a call from Bill Youngblood to come and work on the interior finishing and painting. All of the huge ceiling beams were sanded and finished by members and friends of the church. The record does not state but it is quite likely that Jack Tibbles contributed his talents with things electrical. And so the labor of love was finished.

The consecration service was held on May 6, 1961. One item of interest is that during the tenure of Bill Youngblood, he officiated at the marriage of Eva and Bill Palmer, well-known former members of our congregation.

In June of 1961 David Fison was appointed to Ketchikan. He and his wife Aleen came to Alaska from Chicago the year before and Rev. Fison served as co-pastor for First Church Anchorage. They moved into the parsonage on Bawden Street with Susan (13), Deborah (8) and Paul (3). They served our church for five years. Here are some of the events of those years.

In 1963 the Mountain Point and Clover Pass churches merged with the Ketchikan church and the parsonage on Baranof was purchased. Deaconess Donna Ferguson was appointed to help in our expanding program. She served for one and one-half years and left to be married.

In 1964, 50 of our youth and eight counselors attended three camp sessions in Juneau. The pastor served the three sessions and held Sunday worship during their travel. These services were announced on the public address system and many passengers joined the campers. The pastor accompanied the singing with his musical saw.

During these years draperies, carpeting and more pews were installed in the sanctuary. The stained glass window from the old church, "Christ Knocking at Heart's Door," which had been in storage, was placed in the balcony. The room was now used also as a small chapel. The basement ceiling was soundproofed, and heavy curtains made from discarded pulp mill felting partitioned the classrooms. Sunday school and church services could now be held at the same time.

In 1965 property next to the church was purchased and $50,000 was pledged toward providing additional Sunday School rooms. The parking lot was also completed, thus providing income from rental parking.

Rev. Fison volunteered to serve the Coast Guard light stations, since they had no chaplain. He learned to pilot a plane and through a flying club developed a ministry to the five light stations in the area. The Board of National Missions and some church members assisted financially. The church board allowed him one day a week for this ministry. Requests came from Port Alice and Whale Pass logging camps for Sunday Schools, and they were included in the ministry. In 1965 the Duncan Memorial Church of Metlakatla asked if we would allow our pastor to be their interim pastor, and the board approved. That summer, after preaching at our church he flew to Annette Island Sunday afternoons and preached at the Coast Guard chapel and in the evenings at the Duncan Memorial. On one Sunday afternoon he flew to Sitka and preached at our newly formed church fellowship there.

At Christmas time the church women baked cookies and the pastor took them to the five light stations along with large boxes of chocolates donated by Race Drug. He led the four men at each station in singing Christmas carols, accompanied by the musical saw. They shared the Christmas story, and he presented them with gifts from our church. Wind upset the plane once while Rev. Fison was taxiing to the tie-up; he was rescued by a passing boat, and the plane was salvaged. (In 1963 he was lost near White River for three days until he signaled a search plane. That time he was rescued by helicopter.)

Two children were born to the Fisons in Ketchikan, Jayne in 1961 and David in 1963. Aleen Fison participated in many activities, including the Women's Society for Christian Service. She taught Sunday School, helped in the church office, provided bed and meals for many visiting clergy and other church visitors to Ketchikan. On Sundays she always sought out visitors to make them feel welcome. She became the first graduate of Ketchikan Community College.

In 1966 David Fison was transferred to First Church, Fairbanks. He served there six years. While there, Aleen graduated from University of Alaska and began her seventeen-year teaching career. In 1972, Rev Fison was appointed to St. John Church in Anchorage and served there for six and one-half years. In 1979 he became the campus minister at the University of Alaska and chaplain at Alaska Methodist University, now Alaska Pacific University. He retired in 1988; they live in Anchorage and remain active in the Alaska Missionary Conference. Rev. Fison designed the banner and logo for the Conference and is the artist and author of "The Christmas Totem Pole," now displayed in our historical records. Inspiration for this came from his Ketchikan ministry.

The Carl Foss family sent us a large bell and $800 to construct a bell tower. As the cost to construct the tower would be much greater than the $800, it was suggested that the bell be placed on a platform (at no cost) and the money be used to purchase a set of handbells. This was the start of our handbell choir. (In the 1970s, aluminum cans were collected and sold to purchase an additional octave of bells.)

In later years the sale of the properties at First Avenue, Mountain Point, and Clover Pass went a long way in reducing, if not eliminating, the indebtedness of our church.

In June 1966 Walter Warner, his wife, and three children arrived from Idaho. In 1967, the Otto Schallerer estate property was purchased which is now part of our parking area. Rev. Warner flew charter planes to outlying logging camps and Indian villages to preach. He also conducted a radio program, "Uncle Walt's Story Time," to make friends of children and families in remote areas. He helped in the organization of a day care center in our church. He said, "Methodists are involved as a church and as individuals in many community programs and activities. The church is no less the church when scattered in the world than when gathered for worship." The Warners left here for Portland, Oregon in early 1970. He died in 1978 of cancer at the age of 71.

The 1970's

The Rev. Chuck Horner arrived with his wife and four "middle-aged" children and was our pastor for two or three years. He was a tall, imposing looking man and a good speaker. He was very interested in ecumenical affairs, and during his tenure a "Christians in Action" group was formed which introduced our summer hostel program and which is still most successfully conducted.

Though dates and signatures are so many times nonexistent in our historical records, it seems likely that he was the author of a very ambitious plan to include Prince of Wales communities in our ministry. The plan was to work with the Presbyterian Church in a joint effort. It never came to fruition, but the rapid growth of the Prince of Wales population in recent years has lent a great deal of credence to the plan. Chuck Horner left the ministry when he left our church and was employed by the State of Alaska as a park ranger.

Rev. Jim Fellers, his wife and two children, moved into the parsonage on Baranof in April 1970. Jim Fellers, a young man, was active in getting the unfinished areas of the church completed. These areas were the restrooms, upstairs rooms, and some classrooms. He detected a certain hopelessness among the congregation regarding the financial crisis resulting from carrying three mortgages, and it was he who first suggested the sale of our properties. On the positive side, he found our church to be a "doing" church and a moving force in areas of Christian concern and social action.

It was about 1975 when Max Cramer and his wife Gladys came to our church. He has been here during the last three years as interim pastor, so many of our congregation will remember him well. He and his wife are dedicated Christians, and Gladys was a tireless worker in our church, especially with United Methodist Women. The year 1977 marked the celebration of the 75th anniversary of our church in Ketchikan. The bell in our parking lot had been newly installed by Roland Stanton for the occasion and was rung by the Sunday School children. It had been donated by the late Carl Foss, a builder and contractor and member of this church. No one seems to know what happened to the original bell in the old church building. Bishop Jack M. Tuell, presiding bishop of the Portland area, preached at the morning service on January 23, 1977. His sermon was entitled "The Church That God Moved." Rev. Cramer and Gladys left here to serve in the Red Bird Mission in Kentucky for a number of years. They are now retired.

Strangely enough, there is no mention in the records of Oliver Auchenpaugh. He and his wife Betty were with us for only a short rime. Your reporter remembers that he had counseling before he came to Ketchikan to determine if he could withstand the rainy weather and dark days that are so characteristic of our country. Upon leaving here, he also left the ministry and returned to the company he had formerly worked for.

It is interesting to note that David Fison has remained in Alaska for all the years since he left here, and, except for a period of about two years, so has Jim Fellers.

The 1980's

Rev. William Trudeau, with wife Danita and son David, arrived in 1982. For part of his tenure we also had an associate pastor, Mel Vostry. Both Bill and Danita took a very active part in the life of our church, and Danita was especially admired for her skill in conducting a meeting and keeping us on the subject at hand. Bill conducted a clown ministry with the youth of the church, and in his role of "Sam the Clown" provoked many a chuckle from his young audience. The Fellowship of St. Andrew was instituted, with Barbara Chernikoff as lay leader, to reach out to those in need of friendship and counseling. During Bill's time with us, he tried the practice of changing the pews around so that they curved around the pulpit, which had been moved in front of the windows. It created a sort of "in the round" effect and an atmosphere of intimacy which was very pleasant. However, there were times when the pews had to be changed back to their regular position, creating a lot of backbreaking work.

After the departure of Mel Vostry, Karen Young came to us in the capacity of youth worker, and was with us for two or three years. It was during this time also, if memory serves me correctly, that the Blueberry Festival came into being. It is held the second Saturday in August in the parking space under the State office building and spilling over into our church parking lot. Some of the events were and are held in our building, resulting in the creation of "Ye Olde Sweet Shop and Bazaar" in the church basement and the selling of refreshments and craft items. This has proved to be a wonderful opportunity to raise money for various of our projects.

Our church in 1983 received an award as an outstanding nonprofit organization. There is no record of who presented the award, but it was most likely the Community Council. This is what the summation states: "This organization has been very community-minded. A few of the projects for the community have included the youth hostel, soup kitchen, and various other activities. They have allowed extensive use of their building for meetings of agencies, such as brown bag luncheons. Head Start, Parks and Recreation, and La Leche, to name just a few. The members of this organization are active when they see a need or are approached about a need. This year's nonprofit organization award is presented to the Methodist Church for their outstanding contributions to the community of Ketchikan."

Bill Trudeau left our church and also the ministry in 1987. He is now employed by the University of Alaska Southeast, Ketchikan campus.

Bob Bowers, wife Beverly, daughter Christine, and son David came to the ministry of our church in 1987. He was a former minister who had worked out of the church for several years in real estate and insurance in Anchorage. Bob is remembered especially for his faithfulness in visiting the members of his church and also residents of the Pioneers' Home. He was very active in getting a homeless shelter started in Ketchikan; it now occupies a permanent building here. He and Beverly worked very hard on the soup kitchen project, manning the kettles on Fridays at the Salvation Army Hall.

The Stephen Ministry was begun during this time, and several members of our congregation received training. The ministry's main thrust is to help those coping with grief.

Bob had an assistant for a time, David Marks. He worked with the youth and was very talented musically. A notable event was a concert in 1988 at Thanksgiving time in which David Marks worked with our choir and an instrumental group call "Barefoot."

After David Marks left. Patty Finegan was hired to head up our educational department and was with us for several years. Patty also is a talented musician.

The 1990's

Many of us will remember the 90th anniversary celebration of our church in the fall of 1990. A special service took place on October 7, 1990, with a reception and tea afterward.

We bade farewell to the Bowers in June 1993. They are currently with the Methodist Church, a mission, in Nome, Alaska. According to their newsletters they lead a busy life there, ministering to a group of about 40 mostly Eskimos. They say that the Nome area, though bleak, has its own special beauty.

Rev. Dan Tucker came to us with his family in July 1993. His wife, Mimi, served as music director for the church. They have four adorable small children: Rachel, Nathan, Adam, and Hannah. The Tuckers celebrated their tenth wedding anniversary in December 1994 with a renewal of their vows and a lovely reception at one of the local hotels. They left in May 1995 for Pennsylvania.

For the next year we had interim pastors. Ed and Blythe Stanton came from Washington State in June and helped us celebrate Christmas. While they were here we also observed our 95th anniversary in October. We all enjoyed them so much; Ed is retired and was at one time Superintendent for the Methodist Church in Alaska, with headquarters in Anchorage.

For the third time, to our church in January 1996 came Max and Gladys Cramer, who had been retired in Bloomington, Indiana. They stayed with us until June, and during their stay instigated the organization of the "Over 60's" group. This is a lively bunch of oldsters who meet for lunch once a month.

We do so appreciate these dear people, who are willing to leave home, hearth, retirement and family to fill the vacant pastorate for us.

June 1996 saw the arrival of Quinton and Sandra Kimbrow, together with their sons Anthony, age 9, and J. P., age 3. They are ordained ministers and came from Texas, the second largest state, to the largest state in the Union, Alaska. They have been with our congregation just a short while as this is written, but we already feel at home with them, and we hope, they with us.

It was during the summer of 1996 that we installed a pitched roof on the church and a very modified "steeple" for the bell. Doug Ensley masterminded this endeavor, aided by two work parties from North Carolina and one from South Carolina. Doug is to be greatly commended for the service he has rendered to our church; the way he gets things done that need to be done, and cajoles, pleads and threatens others to help him.

The summer of 1996 also saw another successful hostel season. Jim and Barbara Hodgman have been hard workers in this project; it is very helpful to the travelers who take advantage of an inexpensive and well run place for an overnight stay.

Who will deny that history is being made by the minute as on we go, almost into the 21st century and our second hundred years!