The Little Country Church in Town
“Some Quakers were driving out [to Scotts Mills Friends Church] from nearby Silverton, and they started to speak to Charlotte and Dorothy about moving into town and starting a fresh work there. This was a very exciting notion to Charlotte and she started talking to the Superintendent [Dean Gregory] in Newberg about it. He liked the idea very much. They started going into Silverton on a weeknight and leading a Bible study. After prayer and consultation, Charlotte and Dorothy told the elders at Scotts Mills that they felt called to start a new church in Silverton. The elders were not very happy about this, but their official evangelistic orientation made it pretty hard to be against starting new churches.” –Peggy Senger Morrison, Silly Poor Gospel
Pastors Charlotte Macy and Dorothy Barratt (1956)
16 August 1957 – “A year ago it was reported that no new meetings had been set up for the preceding year. This year we are all happy to hear reports that three brand new Friends outposts have been established each now less than a year old. These new works are located at Tigard, Nehalem, and Newport, all three in the State of Oregon. At least one more new outpost will open soon after the close of these Yearly Meeting sessions at Silverton, Oregon, where already a new meeting house is taking shape.” –Dean Gregory, General Superintendent, Oregon Yearly Meeting of Friends
March 1958 – “The Board of Evangelism is heartily in favor of your continuing work there feeling that you have accomplished in a few months what has taken most outpost pastors years to do. We recognize that the price has not been low, but high, both for you and for your people. We are certainly sympathetic to your many problems. We hope and pray that all will turn to the Glory of God…. It seems to be somewhat of a record that your (work) has moved so rapidly and we do want to encourage you not to let the load settle so heavily upon you that it will impair your health or efficiency. We recognize your financial problems and admire your willingness to supplement your meager income by outside activities and work. May the Lord strengthen your hands to the service of God in Silverton.” –Dean Gregory, General Superintendent, Oregon Yearly Meeting of Friends
4 May 1958 – dedication of the new chapel by Clare Willcuts, president of the Board of Evangelism for Oregon Yearly Meeting, who commended Silverton’s “dedicated and capable lady pastors, Miss Charlotte Macy and Miss Dorothy Barratt.”
“Silverton Friends Church prospered. The finished design for the church won a national architecture award for ‘Best mission church design seating less than 400.’ Mr Lindgren, the architect, was 35 years old at the time. The announcement of the award in Christian Life Magazine includes the note ‘A lady, The Rev. Charlotte Macy is pastor.’” –Peggy Senger Morrison, Silly Poor Gospel
Average Sunday morning attendance in that first year was 29 people. Charlotte and Dorothy recorded 175 pastoral visits.
15 August 1958 – “All of us appreciate something new. The two new churches begun this year at Silverton, Oregon, and Lynwood in the Portland suburbs have created a great deal of interest throughout the Yearly Meeting. Silverton is closing its first year of operation with its new two-unit building already dedicated, and an encouraging spiritual life being manifested. Lynwood Friends hope to be in their new building by September 7, at which time the regular services of the church will start.” –Dean Gregory, General Superintendent, Oregon Yearly Meeting of Friends
18 August 1958 – “Nine hundred dollars was paid toward the support of Silverton. It is reported that $1156.21 was spent for projects other than Silverton on the home field. Forty-six unions contributed to the support of Silverton and this is an increase of seven over last year. Increase in amount was $311.33. We will support Silverton another year with $100 a month.” –Beatrice Benham, President of the Women’s Missionary Union, Oregon Yearly Meeting of Friends
19 August 1960 – “Three of our outposts, Silverton, Tigard and Hayden Lake, became preparative meetings this past year.” –Clynton Crisman, President, Board of Evangelism, Oregon Yearly Meeting of Friends
13 August 1963 – “Metolius has become a Monthly Meeting and Silverton is ready for transfer from Preparative to Monthly Meeting status this year.” –from a report by the Board of Evangelism of Oregon Yearly Meeting of Friends
“Charlotte joined the Chamber of Commerce and chaired the local ministerial association (as the only woman). Everyone remarked on her ability to speak to anyone with rapport. The banker, the farmer, the school teacher, the housewife, the teen. It was the 1960s, and the evangelical world was greatly affected by ‘modern’ sales techniques. Churches had slogans – Silverton’s was ‘The Little Country Church in Town.’ Sunday Schools and Vacation Bible Schools had contests and campaigns. Billy Graham was riding high with his ‘Crusades.’ This spirit shows up in one of Charlotte’s reports: ‘God’s Business is Big Business! – Eternal business – precious business – life and death business. It requires all we have to “stay in business,” for it cost God all He had to start this business of saving men’s souls!’” –Peggy Senger Morrison, Silly Poor Gospel
13 August 1964 – “A Sunday School attendance emphasis, ‘Sunday School Roundup,’ was enthusiastically supported by many of the churches. Rose Valley and Silverton Sunday Schools won the two divisions of the contest.” –Howard Harmon, President, Board of Christian Education, Oregon Yearly Meeting of Friends
18 August 1965 – “Two young women won scholarships from the board for the best letters on ‘Why I Would Like to Go to a Temperance Camp.’ They are Dorothy Ball of Silverton, who became an outstanding camper at the Oregon camp and received a grade of 100 percent on the final quiz, and Cathy Clites of Metolius Friends Church who was elected ‘Queen of Total Abstinence.’” –Myron Goldsmith, President, Board of Moral Action, Oregon Yearly Meeting of Friends
17 August 1966 – “Adding to their educational units are Silverton at an approximate cost of $36,000” –Charles Beals, President, Board of Evangelism, Oregon Yearly Meeting of Friends
Average Sunday morning attendance in 1968 was 91 people. Charlotte and Dorothy recorded 600 pastoral visits.
After Charlotte and Dorothy left Silverton for work on the Oregon Coast, the little country church in town was served by
- Pastor Harold Clark (1969)
- Pastor Paul W. Barnett (1970)
- Pastor Everett Clarkson (1971)
- Pastor Paul G. Meier (1973)
- Associate Pastor Bill Ellis joined Paul Meier in 1978
Average Sunday morning attendance in 1978 was 104 people. Paul Meier and Bill Ellis recorded 810 pastoral visits.
In February 1980, Silverton Friends advertised for personnel at a new school – “The Friends Church is now taking applications for positions in a Christian school. They have openings for an administrative principal and a certified teacher. Anyone interested in applying for these positions may contact the church by writing: Paul G. Meier, P. 0. Box 164, Silverton, Oregon 97381.”
28 July 1980 – “Jack Willcuts brought to our attention that some of our other churches
are considering starting schools. Silverton will open a school for kindergarten through sixth grade in September. Gene Mulkey is chairman of the board. Preregistration now totals more than 30.” –from the Minutes, Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church
- Pastor Earl H. Tycksen (1983) joined Associate Pastor Bill Ellis
- Bill Ellis became the lead pastor in 1986 and was joined on staff by Gene Mulkey
BILL ELLIS, pastor of Silverton, Oregon, Friends, was critically injured in an auto accident July 25 while returning home after the Yearly Meeting Friends Men banquet. He passed away August 5, and the memorial service was held August 9. (from Evangelical Friend, August 1987)
- After Bill’s death, Pastor Gene Mulkey was joined by Associate Pastor Paul Almquist (1987)
- Pastor Wendell Barnett (1988) joined Gene Mulkey and Paul Almquist
Average Sunday morning attendance in 1988 was 149 people.
- Pastor Ron Woodward (1992)
- Youth Pastor Chris Cody joined Ron Woodward in 1994
- Youth Pastor Erik Edmundson joined Ron Woodward in 1995
- Youth Pastor Jon Burgi joined Ron Woodward in 1998
Average Sunday morning attendance in 1998 was 134 people.
- Pastor Roger Knox joined Jon Burgi in 2000
- Pastor Roger Knox was joined by Cathy Knox, Deborah Climer, Barbara Muller, and Gene Mulkey in 2005
- Pastors Roger Knox, Cathy Knox, Deborah Climer, and Gene Mulkey were joined by Scott Cornwall in 2006
Average Sunday morning attendance in 2008 was 154 people.
- Pastors Roger Knox, Deborah Climer, and Gene Mulkey were joined by Betty Jo Steele and Elise Tittle in 2009
- Pastor Bob Henry joined Deborah Climer and Betty Jo Steele in 2011
October 2012 – “The Silverton Christian School on Eureka Avenue will soon be enlarged by four new classrooms in a 3,584 square-foot addition to the existing space…. The school, an outgrowth of the Silverton Friends Church, operates on a common core curriculum…. The new addition came about because of the need for improvements to the school facilities…. The chapel was torn down along with a giant fir to make space to build the new classrooms.” –Don Murtha for Our Town, New digs: Silverton Christian expands
22 July 2013 – “The Share Call ministry supported the completion of a new ministry wing for Silverton Friends.” –Betty Jo Steele, Board of Congregational Care, Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church
19 December 2016 – “Silverton Friends Church, a rural Oregon church in the Evangelical Friends tradition, found recently that it neither knew how to talk gracefully about human sexuality, nor how to love and care well for its LGBTQ neighbors. Silverton gained some notoriety when it became the first American town to elect an openly transgender mayor; since this election, there has been increased visibility for the town’s LGBTQ community. Silverton Friends spent almost a year reading and discussing books by evangelical authors that offered a broad range of perspectives on faith and sexuality. In addition to having a congregational reading group, they also coordinated a parallel neighborhood reading group that included members of a number of different local churches. These reading groups studied books like Andrew Marin’s Love is an Orientation, Tim Otto’s Oriented to Faith, and Deb Hirsch’s Redeeming Sex. As a result of their reading and reflection, Silverton Friends began to better understand its LGBTQ neighbors and to engage more compassionately with them, including envisioning a community center that would be a safe space for LBGTQ teens.” –C. Christopher Smith in Christianity Today, What Happens When Churches Read Together
2016 – “Silver Falls Christian School started as a ministry of Silverton Friends Church as Silverton Christian School. The school had been training students to be ambassadors of Christ successfully for 36 years. In 2016, the church decided that grades kindergarten through 8 would thrive as an independent school and that is how we continued our ministry.” –from Silver Falls Christian School
- After being without a pastor for two years, Silverton Friends extended a call to Pastor Eric Muhr in 2019