A HISTORY AND BACKGROUND OF TWIN PEAKS COMMUNITY CHURCH AS RECALLED BY EDNA NYQUIST AT AGE 85
First called “Strawberry Flats Sunday school”, and later called “Strawberry Flats Church”, and changed to match the name of the Post Office to “Twin Peaks Community Church”, our Church find records dating back to 1913.
Campers in the Government Strawberry Flats Campgrounds (which were popular and free) gathered for Sunday school every summer out where the Old Logging Wagon stands. In memory, we old timers still hear the chimes of the beloved bell, our first, given to us by the Riverside Railroad. It hung suspended from the largest limb of the huge oak tree. The platform holding the piano and pulpit stood beneath the same oak tree. How we loved the great outdoors for Sunday school.
In 1922 the Sunday school was organized. Rev. Loofburrow was “Camp Pastor”; Mrs. L.A. Young was Superintendent of the Sunday school, and Mrs. Mabel Dexter served as Secretary and Treasurer. Mrs. Sarah Switzer stored the songbooks and arranged for the renting of a piano. Switzer's Store also had the Post Office, so they were in a position to help locate visiting ministers, Sunday school teachers, and song leaders. During the summer months, attendance often reached 125. Forest Rangers allowed fires, and our big benches given by Mr. Gregory held over 100 people. Songbooks and willing directors made the mountains ring with the singing. What joy! What getting together! What testimonies! God is so good. Hallelujah!
Until these last years Gilberte Kemp was usually the primary teacher. How the tots loved her. Her class joined us for closing hymns, saying memorized Bible verses and singing choruses, during which the children were always wanting to hold their teacher’s hand.
When the schools opened in September, all vacationers moved back to the Valley, leaving the Kemps, the Dexters, the Switzers and the Nyquists to carry on with God’s help. Most all business places closed. Mail came twice weekly except in snowstorms. Roads were not blacktopped, so chuck holes were numerous and treacherous. Sunday school was held in the homes of the Dexters, Kemps and the Nyquists.
In 1928 a committee was appointed to lease a Government lot for a Church building. The officers at the time were: Rev. Loofburrow, Camp Pastor; Edna Nyquist, Superintendent; Gilberte Kemp, Song Leader: and Mable Dexter, Sec. & Treas. (Her signature is on the lease).
Now a House of Worship! W.P.A. came to the mountains to give men work in the winter of 1934-1935. The supervisor told me that when they would build a community building of some sort. God was with me when I said, Lumer for the church came from John Dexter;s saw mill. On July 7, 1935 our Church was dedicated to the Service of the Lord in this Community by Rev. David Loofburrow.
The Brysons came to us and Frank was chosen as Sunday school superintendent with his wife, Merle, the adult class teacher. A Young People’s Club was formed. The kids took turns as President, Zua Kaylor was Secretary; William Sharp was Treasurer; June Nyquist was Pianist; Doris Kemp was Song leader; and Helmer Nyquist was in charge of games and keeping order. The whole Mountain Top loved and demanded outdoor Church services, weather permitting.
The Gnagys filled out Sunday school needs, coming after World War II. John became Sunday school superintendent and Ethelyn, pianist and teacher. In September of 1951, they returned to their Valley home to stay. Dr. And Mrs. Wiebe came to us at that time, and he filled our pulpit from that point, staying for more than 8 years. What a blessing they were to the entire mountain top, worshipping God, friends to all, and preaching the gospel both in Church and in their lives. The Church building was extended towards the street and made into 3 stories under the leadership of Dr. Wiebe. Katie Wiebe, his daughter, hauled up most of the articles in the basement Sunday school room. The Worth While Club gave the gas stove and built the stair steps. Fred Dowd excavated for the basement and restrooms. W.C. Lea donated all the window frames. Evelyn Strunk, our Sunday school superintendent was given an electric organ for the Church - the one Ruby Boose still plays today. The Underwoods who brought lovely solos to our Services. On weekends when the Fultons looked forward to the Sunday evening Songfests which she led. The Roy Dowds were such a blessing. The Sunday school kids went wild when they saw him coming over to lead our “loud” singing as they called it, and to give us truly joyous Sunday school lessons.
When we heard Roy Dowd’s cabin was for sale, Mr.Nyquist said, “Buy it and buy it fast for the Church needs more land”. After many business meetings with Rev. Stricklin in charge and Roy making it possible financially, the cabin was purchased for our parsonage by the Church Board. I am thankful to have been a member of the Board at that time.
Rex Starback and “Musical” Meyers pastored our Church for short periods. Later Lee Homoki was chosen. He and his wife loved God and all the people. Lee was raised in an Indian Mission of Arizona. His missionary parents became traveling Evangelists. He had joined them for a year before coming to us. He served our Church for nearly 6 years in loves, dedication and concern, while at the same time earring support for the family with the various jobs in the mountains. Pastor Homoki build new rooms to the parsonage including a bathroom, entry area, kitchen and dining room. In the early sixties, Mildred Epperly and daughters volunteered to teach Daily Vocational Bible School. Our children loved it. Teachers were truly God-inspiried and loved giving Bibles for prizes. Beautiful crafts using barks, pinecones and logs with pictures of Christ sent meaningful items into the homes of the children. There were decisions for Christ too, which warmed the hearts of everyone involved. Some times after Pastor Homoki had left us to take a pastorate in Ohio, years of Sunday school records were lost - probably from an “over-cleaning” of the cupboards.
Ernie and Omi Stockton came to us with heart-filled love for our Lord. Our young people remember how they made Christmas so happy. Omi Lee made merriment & a beautiful Christmas tree with her lovely decorations. The Stocktons made sure the kids had plenty of treats. Their grandson surprised us all with his many memorized Bible verses - new ones every Sunday. Mel and Ruby Boose, through the years, have given their best, whatever the need. The Lord blessed them with music in their hearts which they share so generously. Mel put life and love into Galleons. Carl and Jeanne Roberts, faithful old time members, turned their home into a place of counseling. Many found Jesus by their fireplace.
Other good deeds that come to mind are: Bill & Viola Larson brought our pulpit and communion table from their Valley Church; Mr. & Mrs. Willingham gave use of their cabin many times for our church folks; Miss Peck gave the painting of the Good Shepard, which was painted by her 85-year-old uncle; the large Bible was give to Edna by Mrs. Fox, now our communion tables; Dowd’s Resort has housed many of our church guests in they cabins; Art Alquist snow-plowed the church road for many years; the first pews were built by George Clark, Pastor Mesarch, Ernie Stocktom, Bob Handly and Bill Norman; our Church sign with lights was dedicated to the Nyquist family, having been designed by Carson Grant, and erected by George Clark, the Church Board and Pastor; and the W.C. SMoths have been so very helpful through the years and continue to gifts to our Church missionaries. Twin Peaks Community Church has, through the years, helped support these missionaries” M.A.F. & the Parsons; the Reid Jepsons; the Dick Pattys; the Navigators, John & Blanche Marshall in Alaska; Roy & Katie Parsons in So. America & So. Africa; the James Stricklins in hospital and jail ministries; the John Dedricks, Translators to Mexico; the Ernie Rich’s in Columbia; the Hector Martinez’, the Irwin Fords-Christian Hacienda; the John Robinsons; and Martha Young (now with our Lord) has been “Mountain Top” Missionary.
I trust that in the history I do not convey the impression that all was victory, sunshine and roses. Our little church has had its ups and downs, made mistakes and failed in some endeavors. Through the frailties of men we have walked the valleys, but through the faithfulness of god we have conquered the peaks. I can honestly say that no man has ever stood in our pulpit who did not have both feet planted solidly on the Word of God, and therein has lain our strength.
When these chimes, given in the memory of Gilberte Kemp, begin to ring out through our mountain community of Twin Peaks - to some it will be only a reminder of the time of day, to some it will be a reminder to pray, to some it will bring joy of a familiar hymn, to others it will be a source of pride that we have a great new addition to out Church, but to me, it will bring back the memories of all the wonderful years that my dearest friend Gilberte and I spent as we together clasped hands in an effort to love, to serve, to pray, sacrifice, to give what God has entrusted to us - in the building of His Church for which Jesus died.