In 1946 several families moved to the area from scattered Oregon Mennonite congregations to start Western Mennonite School. They first started meeting on Sunday evenings in homes until the chapel on campus was finished. In 1948 the organization of the Western Mennonite Church occurred and it continues to worship on the Western Mennonite School campus.
Over the years a large portion of the congregation was made up of persons who worked or volunteered at the school. In the fall new faculty and families would join the congregation for a period of years until moving back to their previous homes in the east or Canada. In the 1970’s persons from the surrounding community started attending after being invited by friends and neighbors who were members. The church continues to seek ways to invite and include more persons from the surrounding community.
Western Church has always seen the school as a mission field. In the early years it supported the school by being a support to faculty, volunteers and weekend dorm students. Over the last number of years fewer faculty, staff and students came from out of state and from the Mennonite Church faith communities. This has brought with it many changes and identity questions, both within the school and the church.
These things are what make the Western Mennonite Church unique and also filled with challenge. Finding ways to reach out to others and make our presence known is an ongoing challenge and opportunity. Working alongside the local community, parents of students, business people and volunteers for auctions, events and building projects are some of the ways we continue to be recognized as a viable community of faith to which all are invited to be a part. In addition, during the summer, those who are able, get together to do service projects either locally or in other places.
We love and serve our great and mighty God; One who loves the whole world and has called, commissioned and commanded each of us who call Jesus Lord to do likewise. May we be faithful and fruitful in such an awesome purpose and mission. While time remains, may we continue to worship our God and lift high the name of Jesus as we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit until all of God’s children are gathered home.