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Community Bible Church of Lena Rotating Header Image

Church History

 Church History

 

In 1935, Roy Crozier and Carl Sellen were asked to leave the fellowship they had been attending. They were asked to leave because they had been listening to J. C. O’ Hair on the radio and were bringing the doctrine of right division they were learning into the fellowship. Shortly after leaving they began fellowshiping with Irv Cox, Fred Dinse, Gottlieb Daft, and others who believed the same doctrine they had just learned. The group had speakers that came from Milwaukee Bible Institute and met in various buildings in Oconto Falls.

A few years later the group purchased a building, which became known as Oconto Falls Bible Church. Shortly after 1940 they called their first pastor, Don Elifson, who came directly out of Milwaukee Bible Institute to join them. Pastor Elifson and his wife, Shirley, were there for 6-7 years.

The next pastor of Oconto Falls Bible Church was Gordon Gerbing. Eugene Yoder came to pastor the church in 1949 and left in 1951. Bob Roberts was the next pastor. The Roberts family had four children.

In March of 1953, Louis Menge became the pastor of the church. At the same time he was pastor of Union of Christian Friends in Oconto. In 1954 Pastor Menge heard of a piece of property on Berry Lake that was for sale. A decision was made to purchase the land for $11,500.00. In November of 1955 the camp was incorporated and called Northern Grace Youth Camp, which some of our young people still attend. Pastor Menge and the Oconto Falls Bible Church ran the camp for two years before Irv Cox took it over. Pastor Menge also had a radio ministry while in Oconto Falls. In 1957, the Menges moved to Shawano, and from there they went to Antigo, WI. where he preached at various churches and his wife, June, was Langlade County Supervisor while they both worked on their university degrees. Pastor Menge has since passed away, but his wife, June, is living in Florida. Her current address is 1025 Venetian Pkwy., Venice, FL. 34292. The Menges have four children, six grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren.

In September of 1957, Roy Teut came to pastor the church and was there until March of 1960.

On July 23, 1960, the church board voted to incorporate under the name Oconto Falls Bible Church and on October 28, 1960, it became the official name.

Clyde Blount was pastor of the church from October 1962 until June of 1964. Pastor Blount has written some poetry which he has shared with us. The Blounts went to Oshkkosh after leaving Oconto Falls. He and his wife, Charlotte, now live at 557 Diamond Drive, Lebanon, PA., 17042. They have two sons and three grandchildren.

Warren Keiper drove from Green Bay, where he lived and worked for the railroad, to pastor the church from December of 1966 until December of 1968. In August of 1969, Warren, his wife, Shirley, and their three youngest children, Connie, Carol, and Leo left for Brazil as missionaries. Warren and Shirley are still missionaries in Brazil, as are two of their children, Leo and Carol, along with their families. The Keipers have fifteen grandchildren, eight of them living in Brazil, and six great-grandchildren. Community Bible Church still supports them at this time.

William Holcomb came as the next pastor of the church. He was pastor from July of 1969 until 1971. From Oconto Falls he went to Kentucky.

The building that was known as Oconto Falls Bible Church was in need of repair and sold. In February of 1974 some of the members decided, because of distance, to attend a church in Marinette that was purchased by Alfred Sellen.

Emory Mollenhauer was the pastor in Marinette from June 1974 until July of 1976. During that time he would go to the church in Oconto Falls on Wednesday night. Pastor Mollenhauer was also pastor in Venetian Villas, IL. He and his wife, Jean, are currently retired and live at 303 Hillendale, St., Round Lake, IL.

Peter Weiring came to pastor the church in Marinette in 1976 and moved to pastor a church in Massillon, Ohio in August of 1981.

In February of 1976, a vote was taken by the two congregations to merge. Grace Bible Church in Marinette voted for the merge on Sunday, February 22 and Oconto Falls Bible Church voted for the merge on Sunday, February 29.

In April of 1976 those that were still attending in Oconto Falls decided to rent the Seventh Day Adventist Church building in Lena. In September of 1976, the Oconto Falls Bible Church was sold because it was in need of a lot of repair.

In February of 1977 the name of the church was changed to Community Bible Church.

The interim pastor from September of 1976 until June of 1979 was Bob Meyers. In May of 1978, the assembly bought the site of the present day church from E. Rosera for $1890.00. The land was surveyed by Joe Pillath for $219.00 and $100.00 was paid to the Town of Lena as a deposit on the septic system. The house/church was built by Eckstrom Realty & COnstruction, Inc. for $51,228.00 and was started in November of 1979. The first Sunday in the new church was in the spring of 1980.

Jim Harley became the pastor of the church in April of 1983 and stayed until January of 1995, when he accepted a position in Thornton, CO. During the time Harley’s were at the church, there were many camping trips, backyard children’s Bible clubs, and many activities that were oriented toward young people. Jim and his wife, Judy, presently live in Lena,WI.

Between 1995 and 2000, when the church was without a pastor, there were many students and speakers that came to fill the pulpit from Berean Bible Institute.

Kevin Mepstead was the pastor from March 2000 until June of 2002. Kevin owned and operated Tim’s Auto Repair in Lena until 2007 when he and his family moved to Rancho Cucamonga, CA.

In March of 2002 the building of the new sanctuary began. The building was done by Valley Framing from Oshkosh WI. The heating, plumbing, and drywall were hired done, but the congregation did all the finishing work.

The first Sunday in the new sanctuary was July 21, 2002. Pastor Jim Harley preached the last Sunday in the old building and the first Sunday in the new building.

Wes Barteck became the pastor of Community Bible Church in September of 2003 and moved to Florida in February of 2006. Wes is currently the pastor of Grace Bible Fellowship in Inverness, FL.

Stephen Hamilton came from Prattville, AL. to pastor the church in Lena in 2006. His first Sunday was September 10, 2006 and he is the pastor of Community Bible Church at this time.

Through the years there has been a remnant that has remained faithful to the preaching of the Word of God rightly divided. We are very thankful to those that presevered and paved the way for those of us who came behind them.

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Service Times & Directions

Weekend Masses in English

Saturday Morning: 8:00 am

Saturday Vigil: 4:30 pm

Sunday: 7:30 am, 9:00 am, 10:45 am,
12:30 pm, 5:30 pm

Weekend Masses In Español

Saturday Vigil: 6:15pm

Sunday: 9:00am, 7:15pm

Weekday Morning Masses

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 8:30 am

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6654 Main Street
Wonderland, AK 45202
(513) 555-7856