History of the Spokane Valley Adventist Church
The pioneers in Washington’s Spokane Valley began God’s work with the opening of a church school at Orchard Avenue in 1906. This group soon developed into the Orchard Avenue Church. A second group began meeting in 1910 in members’ homes in the Veradale area, and later a school was built for the children of these families.
For the next 25 years, these two churches carried on busy programs of witnessing, education and evangelism. People of vision and faith laid a secure foundation on which our church has been built. During the late 1940s, it was felt that the work in the valley could be more effectively carried out if there was one central base from which to operate. So with encouragement of the local conference, the churches combined their assets and capabilities and merged into one group to be known as the Spokane Valley Church.
After much prayer and careful searching for a suitable location, the property on the corner of Mission and Pines was selected. The land was purchased, and construction of the sanctuary soon began. It was no small task since the membership of the two combined groups was still not large. The cost of the original building was about $57,000 which represented significant sacrifice on the part of the members.
Sabbath morning, Nov. 24, 1951, W.B. Riffle, pastor, and Peter Rudy, head elder, led out in the first service of the new church. Orchard Avenue and Veradale churches were at last united in one purpose — the sharing of the good news of Jesus and His love.
Less than six months after the organization of the new church, records show plans began to be laid for the establishing of a new school to be built on the church property. By fall of 1956, the new two-classroom building was ready for classes to begin. Over the years, additional classrooms, Johnson Hall and the gymnasium were added to the school facility. Improvements to the church over the years include the foyer addition and a pastor’s study as well as remodeling the platform and interior.
The church began with a charter membership of 174. A new congregation was formed in 1977 on the South Hill followed by another in Otis Orchards in 1983. Even with those church plants, the Spokane Valley membership stood about 500 in 1979, necessitating plans for building a larger facility.
Under the leadership of Gerald Haeger, a search committee was established to find a new church and school site. Prayers ascended for guidance prior to the church settling on purchasing 16 acres located on the corner of 16th and Sullivan for $260,000.
Charles Ferguson assumed the Spokane Valley Church pastorate in the fall of 1991. The members were challenged to retire the remaining debt on the property, and the mortgage papers were burned in January 1992.
The building committee forged ahead laying plans for off-site development. Coleman Stewardship Services of Fort Worth, Texas, organized fundraising with Bob and Janice Renck as local directors. By 1993 funds were available to proceed with the off-site work. A total of $410,000 was raised in the first capital stewardship program.
On Sept. 20, 1995, the church and school property on Mission Avenue was sold for $1,350,000. With this income, the resources from a second capital stewardship program, funds from the Upper Columbia Conference and financing by the North Pacific Union Conference, groundbreaking could commence. Two weeks later, on Oct. 1, 1995, groundbreaking ceremonies were held where the new church sanctuary would be built.
Much discussion took place regarding the accommodation of the Spokane Valley Adventist School. After much heart-searching and many prayer and business meetings, it was voted on March 9, 1996, that the school would be built using volunteer labor. As members worked side by side they became more acquainted with one another — a true blessing. The school officially opened for classes in October 1996. Also, the fellowship hall was roughed in at the time the sanctuary was built, and over the next several years church member volunteers completed it.
The tradeoff for building the school was no Sabbath School classrooms were attached to the church building. The building plans called for a six-room wing on the south side of the church. For the time being, Children’s Sabbath Schools were held in the school classrooms.
Mark Weir and church leaders realized we needed to finish the project we had started. The building committee poured over the original plans in 2012 and made some changes. Business meetings were held, and fundraising began in earnest. Groundbreaking was held in the spring of 2013. On the first Sabbath of January 2014, a ribbon-cutting ceremony officially opened the Sabbath School wing.
Through the years Spokane Valley Church has demonstrated its faith and vision in providing resources and facilities to meet the needs of our members and the surrounding valley communities.