Church History

Our History

Simonton Community Church has a rich history of God’s incredible faithfulness because of its dependence on the truth of God’s Word and the fact that this is truly a Church Family.  Back in the mid 1920’s a group of people in our community got together to form a church.  They worked diligently through dinners, bridge parties, bazaars, and other fund raisers to raise enough money to build the first church building.  This group became affectionately known as “The Willing Workers.”  They set the foundation that has definitely continued!  Many people from the community contributed with their finances, materials, and time.  So, as the work continued several worked on the design of the first little building, which we now know as the Chapel.  The church was organized and built in 1941 on land deeded by the J.B. Jamieson Estate and constructed by Frank LiBerda of Wallis, who had built a similar church building and was a local builder.  Rev. James Gleason, a Presbyterian, was hired as the first preacher, and they held Sunday School every week, but worship was held every other week.  It took 17 years to raise the money for the church building and in only 17 more years the attendance had dropped off so much that the decision was made to close the doors.  The only services held in the church were some Catholic catechism between 1958 and 1960.  The building remained full of God’s creatures, just not the human kind. 

Then, in 1968 several couples got together and expressed a need for organizing a church so that their families and those of the community could gather together for worship.  Each Sunday many of them went their separate ways and drove back into town just to go to church.  As they all joined together and the word spread, everyone from the community pitched in to clean up the old church and make it look as good as new with some paint, cleaning, new carpet, roofing, and a bell.  It didn’t matter what their church background was, the community all worked together.  On Sunday, June 6, 1968 Simonton Community Church opened for families to worship together.  They were so anxious to get started that they actually met for the first few weeks in the Community Center building next door, which at one time was the Mexican schoolhouse, while the whole community continued work on the church building to make it suitable for church services.  The first service held in the newly refurbished church building was on July 15, 1968.  They recognized right away one very big need in the middle of the summer – air conditioning, so two window units were added.   

Willard Anders, a retired Lutheran minister became the first pastor in 1969, and Harry Drennan, a Baptist pastor, became his co-pastor.  Very quickly, the ministry began to really grow with the dedication of the first Sunday School building in the summer of 1970 and Vacation Bible School started in 1971 with 30 children attending.  Ministry was taking place on a regular basis here as individuals and families were being affected by the work of God through this church.  In June of 1975 Randy Smith became the pastor, and in the summer of 1977 Kevin Smith replaced him as pastor.  Then, in 1978 church attendance had dropped off rather significantly as people got too busy with other things and church was getting left off their priority list.  So, in an emotional congregational meeting, members rededicated themselves to the Lord and to the church.  Charles George became the pastor in February of 1979, and the facilities grew to accommodate the needs of the Church.   

On September 15, 1983, Gerald Riddell, a retired Baptist missionary, became the pastor of the church just 10 days before the dedication of the Debbie Alexander Wing, which allowed the church more opportunities for ministry to the church family and our community.  Pastor Riddell worked diligently in the community witnessing and inviting people to come to church.  He would often ride his bike around and find people at home to witness to them.  It was not long before the need for more worship space became very evident, with the sanctuary busting at the seams during worship services.  So, on August 24, 1986 the existing sanctuary was expanded to more than double the seating for more people attend worship.  One of the things that Pastor Riddell emphasized, with his background in missions was for the church to give and be involved in missions, so this became a priority of the church, and is a reason for the blessings we enjoy today in ministry.

During 1991, Tom Golden was hired as Pastor to take the place of Gerald Riddell.  As the ministry of the church continued to grow there was an emphasis placed on youth and families of the community so the need for the Family Life Center was voiced back in 1988, and God, in His providence provided the Family Life Center, which was dedicated on June 7, 1992, and it has been a tremendous asset to the ministries of this church and community.  Through the years, attendance went up and down, but one thing remained the same – the Word of God was taught.  This church continued to meet the needs of people inside our community and outside the community.  Tom Golden brought a strong teaching of the Word of God to this church, and challenged many to study God’s Word, some for the first time in their lives.  In the mid 1990’s  a decision was made to start looking for ways to expand our facilities and build more Worship space to again meet a need.  So the church began looking for more land and praying for God’s direction.  After several years, God completely opened a door that had been shut and allowed us to purchase the 16 acres behind the church property.  That set God’s plan in motion and has allowed us to build the new Sanctuary that was opened in October of 2002, just 10 months after Steve Littlefield became the pastor.  The land also provided a cemetery for our church and community, and allowed for the opening of a new Youth Room and the new Education Wing which was dedicated on April 27, 2008.  There is no question that we have been blessed exceeding abundantly beyond what anyone had asked or thought in the beginning days of the church or even now, but it is not for our glory or boasting, it is instead about what God has done in and through us as Simonton Community Church.