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Rivercrest Community Church

Drawing of the Rivercrest Church

Drawing of Rivercrest Community Church 

Rivercrest Community Church traces its history to the merger of the Zion Congregational and German Brethren Church, two churches rich with German heritage.  The merger of these churches was voted on by the members and approved in April 1966.  The first service of the newly merged Zion Brethren Church was held in July 1967. 

In October of 1967 Reverend Robert C. Klein was elected pastor of the Zion-Brethren Church and the former Brethren Church structure was sold for $35,000. [1]  

In January of 1969 a relocation committee was formed and during that same month Reverend Strobel and Reverend Sauer were named Minister Emeritus. [2]  

In January of 1970, the majority of the Zion-Brethren congregation felt it was time to move on to another community and build a new church.  A new church structure at NE 148th was proposed at a cost of $175,000 and in December of that year both the plan and location were approved. [3]  

In August of 1972 the church constitution was revised and the church became known as Rivercrest Community Church. [4]  

The first service in Rivercrest Community Church building (“Church on the Hill”) was held on January 21, 1973 [5] and the building was dedicated on February 11, 1973. [6]  

In February of 1978 Reverend Klein resigned as pastor and in July 1978 Reverend James F. Estes of Spokane was elected as the new pastor. [7]

With a growing congregation and space to expand a new church building began construction in May 1980 and was dedicated on April 15, 1984 with Senator Mark Hatfield as the guest of honor. [8] [9] During this time period (1982) Rivercrest withdrew from the United Church of Christ. [10]  

Pastor Estes retired in July 1987 and Chaplain Stelle became Interim Pastor until November 1987 when Peter D. Warner was ordained and installed becoming the first Minister to be ordained by the merged congregation. [11]  

Rivercrest continued many German traditions such as sausage dinners and noodle making.  About once a month both men and women worked together to make delicious noodles from scratch.  Profits from the noodle sales benefited the Women’s Guild, which in turn bought new equipment for the kitchen.  The Annual German Sausage Dinner was a successful event that drew about 600 hungry guests each spring. 

For many years, the Rivercrest Community Church was the meeting location for the Oregon Chapter of AHSGR.

Rivercrest Artwork

Rivercrest Community Church History Booklet


Pastors of the Rivercrest Community Church

Rev. Robert C. Klein

1962 - 1978

 

Reverend Klein served churches the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Endicott (1942-1946), the United Congregational Church in Odessa (1952-1957), and the Zion Church in Walla Walla (1941-1942), Washington prior to his pastorate at the Zion and Rivercrest churches in Portland. [12]

 

 

Rev. James F. Estes

1978 – 1987

Reverend Klein came from Spokane, Washington and oversaw the expansion of the church structure from 1980-1984.

Chaplain Ed Stell

1987 - 2001

Chaplain Stell served as interim pastor after the retirement of Rev. Estes and continued to serve as Associate Pastor with Rev. Warner.

 

Rev. Peter D. Warner

1987 – 2001

Rev. Peter D. Warner was ordained and installed in November 1987 becoming the first Minister to be ordained by the merged congregation.

 

Pastor Ron Laughlin

2001 - current

 

 

Endnotes:

[1] Rivercrest Community Church 75th Anniversary Celebration Book, (Portland, Oregon:  no publisher, April 1989), no pagination, 3rd page.

[2] Rivercrest Community Church 75th Anniversary Celebration Book, (Portland, Oregon:  no publisher, April 1989), no pagination, 3rd page.

[3] Rivercrest Community Church 75th Anniversary Celebration Book, (Portland, Oregon:  no publisher, April 1989), no pagination, 3rd page.

[4] Rivercrest Community Church 75th Anniversary Celebration Book, (Portland, Oregon:  no publisher, April 1989), no pagination, 3rd page.

[5] Churches Along The Oregon Trail, (Portland, Oregon:  Central Pacific Conference of the United Church of Christ, 1976), p. 68.

[6] Rivercrest Community Church Dedication Service Book, (Portland, Oregon:  no publisher, 1984), no pagination, 4th page.

[7] Rivercrest Community Church 75th Anniversary Celebration Book, (Portland, Oregon:  no publisher, April 1989), no pagination, 3rd page.

[8] Rivercrest Community Church Dedication Service Book, (Portland, Oregon:  no publisher, 1984), no pagination, 4th page.

[9] Rivercrest Community Church 75th Anniversary Celebration Book, (Portland, Oregon:  no publisher, April 1989), no pagination, 4th page.

[10] Rivercrest Community Church 75th Anniversary Celebration Book, (Portland, Oregon:  no publisher, April 1989), no pagination, 4th page.

[11] Rivercrest Community Church 75th Anniversary Celebration Book, (Portland, Oregon:  no publisher, April 1989), no pagination, 4th page.

[12] History of the Pacific Conference of Congregational Churches of Washington, Oregon and Idaho, p. 8.