GOD DID IT!
It was in June 18, 1905 that a small group of believers banded together to organize the First Baptist Church of Hillyard, Washington. Rev. McAlpine assisted in getting the infant work under way, and on September 1, 1905 Miss E. H. Edwards arrived to guide the work as a missionary worker until a regular pastor could be called. Through a gift of one lot from the Hillyard Townsite Company and help as the American Baptist Home Missions Society in the procurement of a second lot, the church was in a position to erect a simple frame structure, which was completed and dedicated on January 7, 1906. The first Sunday School associated with the church was then organized.
The Rev. J.H. Webber became pastor on July 1, 1907, and a rapid growth in Sunday School and membership attended his faithful ministry. A building costing $6,000 was projected and by March of 1908 more than half the necessary amount had been raised by members and friends of the congregation. Construction was begun and under the leadership of Pastor Webber the new enlarged structure was completed early in 1909. War, economic panic and the Great Depression well nigh exhausted the resources of the church. Only heroic effort and sacrificial labors kept the doors open during those difficult years. Then World War ll broke upon a stunned nation. It was during those dark days that the Lord once again placed His hand definitely upon the work. In November, 1943 the Rev. Clate A Risley was called to the pastorate. The Sunday School began to thrive and the membership began to expand. In 1949 the Sunday School Annex was erected as an auxiliary building and plans for a long range building program were made. Some construction work was undertaken late in 1950 but plans were delayed, and the project seemed stymied. Pastor Risley led the congregation in a financing drive early in 1952 which inspired new hope for building. After eight and one-half years the Rev. Clate Risley resigned to became Executive Secretary of the National Sunday School Association.
In mid-September of 1952 Pastor Robert H. Gibbs and his family arrived in Spokane to begin his work. There was a definite need for the provision of anew parsonage and during the winter of 1952-1953 an attractive and comfortable ranch-type home was constructed on a piece of property previously acquired by the church for its expansion program. The new parsonage was dedicated with appropriate services on April 19, 1953. In the meanwhile some additional study had been given to the needs for building an entirely new church facility. Plans were redrawn, bids procured and preparations to build began to move steadily forward.
It was November 17, 1953 when quietly and without fanfare the new excavation was begun. While the excavator was busy our men armed with an assortment of tools began to set up batter boards and footing forms. By Thanksgiving Day a large group of men were at work setting up the first well forms. The weather was ideal and the entire foundation had been poured before Christmas. At the first of the New Year much of the steel was already in place and our men were hard at work framing the auditorium floor. The many intervening months have been times of testing and of proving the faithfulness of God.
We have never had large funds on hand. Actually our resources have been supplied as the building grew up before our eyes. Humanly speaking the project was next to impossible: but God...
To Him we give the glory and to Him we are especially thankful for what He has done in our midst. Soon we shall know the effectiveness of our new building in our community. We have built to provide additional and self-contained space for our growing Sunday School and church family. Here the Word of God will be ministered faithfully that souls may be saved and the saints built up in their most holy faith. The new structure and our new situation should serve to strengthen every member in our congregation. Its beauty should make us desire that the "beauty of the Lord our God" should be upon us. Crowded conditions will not keep any person away. Provision for many conveniences will make our service more effective.
The beauty of the place of worship should help produce the atmosphere and spirit we need in our services. The building has been well planned, and nothing of practical utilitarian value has been left out. In all of this we can only say, "GOD DID IT!"