621 4th Avenue Littlefork, Minnesota (218) 278-6695 Pastor Greg McClellan

621 4th Avenue Littlefork, Minnesota (218) 278-6695 Pastor Greg McClellan

621 4th Avenue Littlefork, Minnesota (218) 278-6695 Pastor Greg McClellan621 4th Avenue Littlefork, Minnesota (218) 278-6695 Pastor Greg McClellan621 4th Avenue Littlefork, Minnesota (218) 278-6695 Pastor Greg McClellan

History of Littlefork Baptist Church

1904

The first Sunday School was begin by Mr D.A. Colpitts around 1904.  The meetings were held in the small building that served as the original village hall, which at that time stood on the corner of Main Street and Avenue; either on the spot occupied by the large Olson Building or just to the north of it.  When the Olson Building was put up around 1915, the church building was moved to a new location on the south side of 3rd Avenue between Birch and Cedar Streets, just north of Bob Merkling's welding shop.


The building now sits just to the south of the church's parsonage.  It is thought ot have been moved there about 1948.  At that time it was owned by the Rebecca Lodge.  The Baptist Church purchased it in the 1960's to use as a clubhouse for the AWANA Boy's Club.


Over the years, the building has been used for the first Sunday School, Jameson Town Hall, Methodist Church meeting place, the village school, Rebecca Lodge meeting place, AWANA clubhouse and finally a storage building for the church.  It is assumed to be the oldest building still being used in Littlefork, and has been designated as a historical site.  Mrs Charlotte Von Alman worked to get it registered.  Some in the community would like to see it restored to its original condition and kept as a historical site in Littlefork.

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1907

A number of people who had been holding services

met to organize a Baptist church in the community.  The minutes of that meeting read as follows:  "Littlefork January 3rd, 1907.  After preaching service this evening, a meeting of those interested in the organization of a Baptist church was held and there were present:  Rev. Fuller, John Shaw, Mrs E. Riker, Mr & Mrs DA Colpitts - members of church and Mrs WR Detiker & Florence Colpitts, non-members.  A motion was made by Mrs Riker, seconded by Mrs Colpitts, and carried, that a Baptist church be organized in Littlefork.  Rev. Fuller promised to proceed with the organizing of the same.  John Saw, clerk for the meeting."


A building was begun on the site of the present church sometime in 1907, but the interior was somewhat unfinished as late as 1909.  The Reverend Fuller was pastor in International Falls but served on a part-time basis at the new Littlefork Church in 1907.  In 1908, and probably for several years after, Pastor E.R. McKinney, also from International Falls, served as pastor of the Littlefork Church.


In 1912, Reverend A.E. Early came as a student pastor from Rochester, NY, for the summer and was then called to be the full-time pastor of the church.  In one photo of the church, taken around 1912, there appears a small tent to the west side of the church building.  That tent might be called the first parsonage as Reverend Early lived in it over the summer.  After his call as full-time pastor, he constructed a two-story, four-room addition to the back of the church as the first real parsonage.  After he ceased being the pastor of the church, after 1916, Reverend Early remained as a member of the church for many years.


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1916-1919

The church was pastored by Reverend J.H Davis

Father of Wallace Davis of Cross River.  After his pastorate, there is a gap in the church record regarding pastors.  Either the church was without a pastor much of the time during this time period, or the records are incomplete.  It is strongly presumed to be the former since we still have all the minute books of the church covering that period.  Reverend Biddeson commuted from Canada for about a year during this period.

 

In 1924 Reverend Fernland served from April 1 to November 1.  From 1924 to 1925 Reverend Earl D. Sims was pastor, then Reverend Magnusan served from June to October of 1925.  Following these men, Reverend True served until June 1, 1926.  He was from the state headquarters of the Regular Baptist work in Minnesota.


From 1926 to 1929 Reverend J.H. Flemming served as pastor.  It was during his time that quarterly business meetings were established and the church was first insured.  Reverend L.A. Smith served from 1929 until 1931, and a house was moved onto the property near the alley for the first parsonage not attached to the church. 


From 1931 until 1933, Reverend Clough, a retired minister from West Duluth, served as interim pastor.  From 1933 to 1936 Reverend Nelson came from Brekenridge, Minnesota, to pastor.  1937 to 1941 Reverend Harold Olson from Winnipeg, served.  The baptistery was build in the front of the sanctuary and certain non-members (Associates) were allowed to vote on church business.


Reverend Ralph Purdy served from 1941 until his resignation in August of 1943.  Reverend Christianson served from November 1944 to February 1945.  1945 to 1947 saw Reverend H.L. Nelson serve as pastor.  At this time a church constitution is drawn up and Reverend Nelson was ordained in November 1946.  1948 Reverend J. Krueger served from February to December 1948.  Reverend Thibdeau served a short time in the summer of 1949.


In 1950 Reverend Paul Lemke assumed the pastorate and served until 1653.  Diane Plautz was baptized and became a member during his ministry.  She will later go out as a missionary under New Tribes Mission and will serve in Venezuela.  Several gas furnaces were installed for heating the church, wood had been used prior to this.  The church is officially incorporated.  A new parsonage was considered and the church joined the Conservative Baptist Convention.

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1953 tO 1957

Reverend Leon Decker served as pastor from December 1953 until 1957

During this time, the church formally opposed smoking on the church property.  The pastor strongly opposed using a fair booth as a method of fundraising.  It was ruing this time that a number of members left the church because of disagreement over whether "Associate Members" would be allowed the same voting privileges as full members.  Some joined the Evangelical Free Church and others went to other area churches, this took place in October 1954.


1958 to 1962 were the years when Reverend Schyler Butler served as pastor.  During this time the new parsonage, across the alley west of the church was completed.  The church joins the Baptist General Conference, to which is is still associated in 2019.  An airplane was purchased by the church to allow Dr Richard Rowe, a church member, to develop a medical mission work with the Indians of Lac La Croix in Canada.  Reverend Wally Olson from Nett Lake usually accompanied Dr Rowe and attended to the preaching services with the ministry while Dr Rowe tended to the medical needs of the native people.  It was also during this time that the morning worship services were tape recorded and later broadcast over the radio station, CFOB (now Psalm 99.5) in International Falls.


In 10963 the pastorate was taken by John Redmond who had been serving as interim pastor.  He had been working at Oak Hills Bible College in Bemidji and had been sent out by the college to help the church fill the pulpit while searching for a new pastor.  John and his wife, Nancy, were with the church until January 1969.  During this time the church built an addition onto the west side of the church to provide more classroom space for Sunday School and youth activities.  The addition was completed in 1966.

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1969

In the spring of 1969, Wesley Thompson became pastor

Wes loved horses and kept several at a farm out of town.  He and Stanley Lindvall used the animals to provide a new activity for VBS and boys and girls club members.  Thompsons left in 1973 and church members asked the interim pastor if he would take the job full-time.


Pastor Rick Moore did not have a Baptist background but was of a Free Church persuasion.  He remained as pastor longer than any of the prior pastors, serving approximately 12 years, leaving in 1985 or 1986.  


Burt Heep was recommended to the church by one of the men who served as interim after Pastor Moore left.  The congregation asked him to accept the position of full-time pastor, he accepted in 1987.  During Pastor Heep's pastorate, the bell tower was largely removed to stop a persistent and unlocatable leak that had persisted for years.  A new piano was purchase to replace an old one.

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History to date

Pastor Greg McClellan took over the pastorate in 1997

With his construction skills, the church embarked on several major renovations and additions to the church.

  • total sanctuary renovation including rewiring, insulating, sheetrocking, ceiling fan installation, varnished tongue and groove ash ceiling
  • two former balcony rooms converted to overflow area with stepped risers to improve the view
  • new sound system installed with in-the-wall wiring for 5 microphones and 2 hook-ups for a keyboard
  • new keyboard added in place of old electric organ
  • 2003 building addition by removing 2/3 of the west wall and extending both the basement and first floor westward to create a new large meeting room with kitchenette and handicapped bathroom facilities as well as a new handicapped ramp entering the building from the parking are west of the church
  • new bathroom added to the basement area, with shower stall
  • renovated two older bathrooms which became part of the basement youth complex
  • lower auditorium and kitchen facilities become the Youth Room

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