Evangelical Community Chapel Molalla, Oregon Area Church in the Community of Liberal > About > Historical Highlights
Who we are and why we do it.
Our church was founded and built by Reverend Jakob K. Elmer on the east corner of Vick Road in 1900. For the first five years, Reverend Elmer, of Swiss descent, presented the Word of God in German to the local German-American community.
In 1913, the Mother’s Club of Liberal, which met once a week, saw the need for a Sunday School in the community.
Sunday School was held in the old Liberal Schoolhouse on Market Road (now South Molalla Avenue) under the leadership of G. W. Plumer, an evangelical conference missionary. The church building on Vick Road was moved to the present location in 1914. Special services were held by Reverend G. F. Liening with many saved.
Skipping forward to 1946, the church was incorporated under the name of the Liberal Evangelical Church. Because of the union of the Evangelical Church with the Church of the United Brethren in 1946, supplementary Articles of Incorporation were issued on April 10, 1947. The resulting new name for our congregation was the Liberal Evangelical United Brethren Church.
On June 18th, 1950, the church celebrated its 50th anniversary during the pastoral ministry of Austin Chamberlain. During the Easter Season of that year, the Lord touched the hearts of the members to give towards a new church building. Pastor Walter Sauer took the proposal before the board and within two weeks, a total of $4,585 was pledged for the project. The official ground-breaking ceremony was held April 29, 1951.
As a result of faith, prayer, and hard work, the congregation was able to move into the new church building on April 4, 1953 and held the first services on Easter Sunday – April 5th. The building was dedicated, fiscally debt free, but deeply indebted to God.
On February 5, 1957 at a special congregational meeting, plans for a new parsonage were approved. The old parsonage was sold and moved to another lot behind the church. Pastor McGavin and his family moved into the new parsonage in August of 1958 thanks to the dedicated work and donations made by many people.
When the union of the Evangelical United Brethren denomination and the Methodist denomination took place, our congregation voted to keep with our conservative roots and become part of the newly formed denomination of the Evangelical Church of North America (ECNA). On March 25, 1968, we became incorporated as such.
In 2007, we chose to separate from the ECNA denomination and again become an independent church. This became official on September 1, 2008. Although we are independent, we do adhere to our conservative, evangelical roots.
Thirty-one pastors have served this church to date. Many people have been saved and grown in faith of our Lord Jesus Christ through the ministry of the church in this community.
We are a small but dedicated congregation praying for revitalization. To this day, we are the only church building for miles. We are easy to find and if you are from the surrounding area, you probably travel past our facility daily. If you are in search of a church home, desire to hear the Word of God brought to life, and don’t feel comfortable in modern “mega-churches,” maybe you will feel at home with us. We look forward to your visit!
Jakob K. Elmer was born on April 4, 1860 and died on June 8, 1941. Elmer family information can be found at www.ElmerFamily.org. Click here for a picture of the Evangelical Church that the family attended in Elm, Switzerland for generations. It is roots of our church.
Rev. G. W. Plumer served in many churches in the area. In doing a web search, references placed him in Canby, Portland, Salem as well as here in Liberal.
Rev. Austin Chamberlain serve in several churches in Washington and Oregon, retiring from Happy Valley Evangelical Church. He married Winifred Hope Norcross in 1941 who served with him in various capacities. He passed away in 1987 and she in 2008.