First gathering for worship – All Saints Sunday, 1957
First gathering as a formal “church” – All Saints Sunday, 1958
November 5, 2023 (All Saints Sunday) will mark 66 years of worship and service as a church for the neighborhood!
For long centuries this place had been a year-round gathering and hunting grounds for the local Duwamish people – sitting, as it does, between several winter-villages (one at the mouth of Juanita Creek, another at the mouth of Denny Creek, and another at the mouth of the Sammamish River). It then became known for its turn-of-the-last-century immigrant community from Scandinavia (hence "Finn" Hill), including more than 50 Finnish and Estonian families in the years before World War 2.
In the 1940’s horses were still very common, and Piper Cubs flew out of the North Seattle Airpark where the QFC grocery store now stands. (The TLC Preschool on Juanita Drive meets in the last building left from the old Airpark facilities).
But by the mid-1950’s the small farms and timber were beginning to grow ramblers, and this small group of Christians was gripped by the vision of planting a new worshipping community that would be for this place. A Presbyterian church had launched in Bellevue, and in the Rose Hill neighborhood to our south – why not on Finn Hill too
The Presbytery of Seattle granted funds in early 1957 to help hire a pastor and look for land. The group first worshipped together at Arrowhead Elementary School on All Saints Sunday, November 3, 1957. And as they continued to pray, worship, and organize, the group officially chartered as Inglewood Presbyterian Church on All Saints Sunday, November 2, 1958. (The sermon title? "Everyday Saints"!)
We’ve had our ups and downs in the years since. In 1964 we welcomed 400 people for Christmas Eve worship. Ten years later when Pastor Henk Wapstra arrived for his first Sunday in November 1974, he remembers just 25 people in worship – and not all of them stayed around for the following Sundays. But as we again centered ourselves on Pastor Henk’s question “How will we now go about ministering in Jesus' name as a congregation, in the community”, by November 1979 the Elders reported serving communion to 252 adults and teens in Sunday worship. Bursting at the seams, a building campaign was launched, and construction began in 1983. We again struggled somewhat into the early 1990’s; then our worship attendance reached a high point again in 1999-2000 before declining once more.
But here we are. Once again, God has been faithful to pull us back to his original purpose for us – to be a church for the neighborhood, seeing the good news of Jesus transform us and our whole community.
So here’s to the next decades of fruitful work as a church together, unless our Lord comes first to make all things new.
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