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Here we will tell the story of the beginnings of our church and how we became what we are today.

Original church building
oldjcc.jpg
until 1958

In 1920 the community near Juanita Bay on Lake Washington was rural, sparsely populated and without an evangelical witness.  That year the American Sunday School Union (now American Missionary Fellowship) organized a Sunday School under the direction of a local missionary, Mr. Reber.  Mr. Reber came once a month to supervise the work while local women provided most of the week-by-week teaching ministry.  Preaching services were held only occasionally.

 

This ministry was faithfully carried on for fifteen years before the first regular preaching services were begun in 1935.  In April of 1937, Franklin Roosevelt was three months into his second term as President of the United States, German Chancellor Adolf Hitler was sending Jews in Europe to concentration camps, the “Great Purge” was underway in Joseph Stalin’s Russia, and Juanita Community Church was officially organized and incorporated in the State of Washington.

 

While the dark clouds of world war inched ever closer, the new church board met on May 6 for its first official meeting since the church was incorporated.  The minutes from that meeting show that the lot and original building were purchased for $500.  Plans were suggested for raising the money needed, and a committee was appointed to consider what changes needed to be made in the building to prepare it for corporate worship in addition to Sunday School.  Members wanted to redesign the front of the building, add a cross to the steeple, put on new shingles, and buy some used pews.

 

The first Juanita Community Church building (pictured) was originally a lodge hall owned by the Modern Woodmen of America.  This is where the community Sunday School organized by Mr. Reber met.  The building was so close to the corner that one night a doctor making an emergency run took the corner too closely and wiped out the stairs!  This building burned to the ground in a spectacular fire in December 1958.

 

James R. Keyes was called as the first pastor in 1937, followed by G.D. Martin (1944-48), Joseph Greene (1949), Kenneth Miles (1949-50), Frederick Bronkema (1953), Charles Nelson, Albert Greene, Jr. (1959-70 and 1972-76), Fred Rice (1970-72), and Bruce Ray (1976 to present).  Don Lindblad served as co-pastor with Pastor Ray (1986-92), and Steve Harris became an elder in 1993 and has served full-time with Pastor Ray since 1997.

 

The Greene brothers, Joe and Al, started what became Bellevue Christian School in the basement of the old building.  Under the influence of these two men, the church underwent a slow spiritual and doctrinal reformation through the 1950s and in 1967 adopted a new Form of Faith and Government consistent with the London Baptist Confession of 1689.

 

Today Juanita is a member of FIRE, the Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals.