Our Church History

    The First Baptist Church of Grimes was organized on May 13, 1871 at Franklin School in Spring Valley, between Grimes and Arbuckle.

    There were seven charter members:  Issac and Deborah Howell, Daniel Lake, John Lake, C. Richey, Mary Richey, and Rev. J. Brooks, who was the first pastor.

    The young church met for worship at the old Franklin School house until March, 1875, when the present church building was completed at a cost of $4,000, on land granted by Cleaton Grimes.  Jacob Morris was the contractor and builder.  His autograph, and the date of the dedication of the new church home, May 12, 1875, are inscribed beneath the pulpit top.

    The Sunday School was organized on October 18, 1893.  Ida Moss Vann served as Superintendent for the next 24 years.

    In May, 1901, the Ladies Aid Society was organized and has supported the church school and maintained the buildings over the years.

    In 1910, a fire destroyed all the church records up to that time.  We continue to keep our records in the clerk’s book, dating from May 1911, when Kate Howell was clerk.  These memories have been gathered from those records.

    In 1913, Ray Mahan was appointed to dispose of the old original church bell, and it was sold to a junk man for forty cents a hundred.  In that year, the parsonage (now the church school building) was rented for $6.00 a month, with one room reserved for the pastor when one was here, or $8.00 a month if there was no pastor.  The trustees were appointed to clean up the yard, and to the present day they keep the grounds trimmed, mowed, planted, and watered.  For many years, R.H. Lauppe ably served in this capacity.  At the present time, Cecil Feldpouch and Charles Malcolm fulfill the responsibilities.

    In 1914, the Baptist Young People’s Union presented the church family with a silver communion set, which is still displayed in the sanctuary.  In 1917, the church was closed for three months because of the Spanish Flu epidemic.  Later that year, Dr. W.E. Story organized a revival and proposed that the church reorganize as a Community Baptist Church, consisting of regular and associate members of other denominations.

    In 1920, Rev. Harry Story was called and served until 1922, when he resigned to enter the mission field.  During these years, a movie projector was purchased for $400.  Movies were shown in the church until some members objected to this plan.  After much discussion, Rev. Story resigned.  He was later reinstated.

    In 1923, the trustees were authorized to make a deed of the church property to the State Mission Board, with the understanding that title to the property would be returned to the church on request.  The American Baptist Churches of the West, in Oakland, still hold that deed.

    There are no entries in the records between 1924, when Elda Howell was clerk, until 1945, when Kate Howell again became clerk.

    In 1945, Rev. Kenneth H. Holmes was ordained on the 70th anniversary of the dedication of the church.  Rev. Holmes later became chairman of the Department of History at Oregon College of Education in Monmouth, Oregon.  At that time, the church officers were:  Albert Rathbun, Emmet Golden, Nellie Sullenberger, and Kathryn Howell.  The Trustees were: Elda Howell Roche, Fred Hawk, and Eva Chisholm.

    In 1959, the parsonage was remodeled to make it more suitable for church school classes.  Ceilings were lowered, wiring updated, new linoleum installed along with new curtains and light fixtures and painting.  All work was volunteered, and the Grimes Pheasant Association helped pay for these improvements.

    In 1962, the church began a yoked parish with Williams Baptist Church.  Rev. Ron Kuka served both churches, and later just Grimes, until 1966.  During these years, the church building was remodeled, walls were painted, and rich brown velvet drapes were jung at the front of the sanctuary.  Beverly Thayer refinished the pulpit.  The floor around the baptistry was repaired and covered by linoleum tiles by Rev. Kuka and Albert Rathbun.  Mrs. Lucille Morris had the exterior of the church painted.  She was often responsible for such help whenever she was needed.  The pews were also refinished.  They were originally from the church at Sycamore, date unknown.

    In 1963, Homer Thomas presented a Baldwin organ in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Cleatus Grimes.

    Elda Howell Roche presented the Communion table in memory of her sisters, Kathryn and Izella.  All three Howell sisters were responsible for keeping the Sunday School going for many, many ears and for sustaining interest in the church, until their deaths.  This community is grateful for their untiring devotion.

    Fifty new hymnals were purchased in 1964, as a memorial to Lucille Morris, whose faithful service was an inspiration to all who knew her.

    In 1965, a generous gift from Fritz Erdman made possible extensive repair and remodeling on the church,  Due to his generosity, the carpeting, drapes, wallpaper, outside brick work, black-topping, and sidewalks were completed, making the church an attractive, welcoming sight as one enters Grimes.  The excellent workmanship was done by Ed Carlson, who meticulously preserved each curlicue and piece of trim.

    In 1966-67, Rev. Bob Horn served both Grimes and Arbuckle Baptist Churches.  During his years here, the beautiful stained glass window was installed in memory of Sam Cecil, by his brother and sisters.  Joe Peart and his son-in-law, Bill Huttman, installed the lighted window.

    The steeple above the window was erected with money raised by the sale of the original Grimes Cookbook, for which Elmo Thomas was responsible.  In 1967, a lighted bulletin board was installed in front as a general memorial to former members and friends.  A painting was given in memory of Irene Beckley, who taught an adult class for many years.

    In 1967, Kenneth Moore became our pastor and served faithfully until 1974.

    On Sunday, May 18, 1971, our church celebrated its 100th anniversary with a special service of worship followed by a potluck dinner on the church lawn.

    Rodney Walrath, a student at Berkeley’s American Baptist Seminary,  joined us as pastor in 1974.  He was ordained in the church in May, 1975, and left in August to become pastor in Salt Lake City, Utah.

    That September, Patricia Koskela, also a student from Berkeley, became our first female pastor until the following June.

     In September, 1976, Burk and Nancy Burk, both seminary students from Berkeley, came as a team ministry, another first for our church.  We yoked with Arbuckle Baptist Church in 1977.  In October, 1976, Joe Mazzini, English teacher at Pierce High School, helped us print the third edition of Grimes Cookbook, and we produced 1,000 copies.

    In May, 1979, we were forced to discontinue regular church services because of lack of support.  But in November, 1980, Pastor Harold Rogers and his wife, Ellen, came to us from Bellflower, California.  He served until January of 1990.  During this time, the fourth edition of the Grimes cookbook came out with 1,000 copies.

      July 4, 1993 was the last Sunday for Harold & Ellen Rogers.  They moved to Seal Beach, CA for health reasons.  They served from Nov. 1980 - July 1993.  The church then partnered with the Fellowship Nazarene group with new pastor, Don Frantz.  An ice cream social was held to welcome him.  There were 37 in attendance.

       Pastor Don Frantz resigned in 1996.  Some of our church members the pastoral duties by having a different member deliver the Sunday sermon each week.  In 1997, we obtained four pastors, one for each week to share as pastors.  They were Jean Nelson, Mike Colvin, Don Frantz, and Marvin Decker.

     In 2001, Marvin Decker’s son Marty, began to fill in for him as he began having some health problems.  Jean Nelson also had to resign because of health problems.  Don Frantz and Mike Colvin continued to served on the third and fourth Sundays.

       May 25, 2003 was Mike Colvin’s last Sunday, and Marty Decker became our full time Pastor.  In September, 2003, the church held its first “Pennies From Heaven” yard sale.  All donated items are sold for one penny each as an outreach to our community’s needs.  The “Pennies From Heaven” sale has continued every year since.

      In 2004, the church started a “Kids Karnival” on the church grounds featuring fun, food, and games for the kids of the community. This event is held every other year with the church’s float in the July 4th Grimes Parade.  This is celebrated as “Celebrate Grimes Day”.  Every year, the church holds an Easter Egg Hunt on the Saturday before Easter Sunday for all children of the community with prizes for the kids K-4th grades.

        In 2007, the church installed a big storage shed in the back of the church building to store all of the items that are donated to the yard sale.

      In 2009, the Sanctuary received a “facelift” by adding new sheetrock over the walls with new paint to follow.  Also, the old carpet was replaced along with the old light fixtures.  Ceiling fans were added to help move the air to provide a cooler environment  for worship.

        In 2010, a new heating and air conditioning unit was installed with automatic thermostats.  Jean will no longer have to run over to the church early in the morning and turn on the heat!!  Debbie Decker organized a “Christian Seder Supper” at Easter time to celebrate the Jewish tradition but with a “Christian” theme.  It was well received.

        In 2011, more improvements were done to the church.  A faulty gas line to the Sunday School building was detected and fixed.  The folding doors on the platform where repaired, repainted, and re-hung by Marty and Russell Decker.  The old speakers were replaced by new, larger speaker boxes which greatly improved the sound of the PA system.  Russell Decker, Worship leader, built an antenna for the FM broadcast band to be used by the FM micro transmitter in order to broadcast the church service to the Grimes community for those who can’t make it to the church service.  The micro transmitter has an effective range of about 1 mile which more than covers the entire town of Grimes!    On February 24, 2011,  the Grimes Community Church website was launched by Russell Decker, the webmaster.  The internet website address is:   http://grimeschurch.com   The purpose of the website is to provide information about our church, promote the church’s activities, and to glorify our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  More church improvement plans are slated for the future including the addition of automatic sprinklers/drip system for the lawns and flower beds.

          In March, 2014, Russell & Debbie Decker, brother and sister-in-law to Pastor Marty moved to Olympia, WA, after serving several years as worship leader and audio visual director of the church.  Russell continues to serve as webmaster to the church’s website.

            March 31, 2014 was the farewell church service for Russell & Debbie Decker as they prepare to head to Olympia, WA.  The church service, led by Russell’s brother, Pastor Marty, was one of all music.  Besides music from Jean and Russell, Marty and Russell played a trumpet/trombone duet; Randy DeGraw, Marty’s brother-in-law, played the piano and sang; Janet DeGraw, Russell and Marty’s sister, joined Randy and Marty in a trio.  Wendy Cooper also sang and played her keyboard.   After the church service, everyone had a wonderful Mexican food meal at the Scout Cabin to honor the Deckers.


(webmaster’s note)...This web page on the history of the Grimes Community Church is in the process of being updated.  If there are any corrections/additions, please email the webmaster.  Thank you.