(Please note that dates below may be subject to minor correction.)
It was May, 1945, when a group of about twenty college students from Pepperdine University came to Juneau in a six-week long gospel campaign. Three were baptized: Evelyn Hamlin, Anna Koontz, and Lucille (Getz) Weir.
The group included L.D. (and Bernice) Webb who was the meeting's evangelist, Bill Hatcher, Bob Rowland, and Boyd and Freda Field. The Fields stayed on to nurture the fledgling work through 1957.
Of those baptized the first year, Evelyn, and later, her husband Stan (Sr.) became leaders of the church, Stan being selected as bishop in 1978.
The church met in various halls, and built the first chapel in 1949. (It was built where the Augustus Brown Swimming Pool is presently.) By this point, Maurice and Angie Long (1949) had moved with the view to help establish the Lord's church in this community: Maurice became an elder (1979) and served in that capacity into 1995.
When the Fields left Juneau, college students from Harding University came summers to work with the church. Various members spoke in the absence of a salaried minister.
Jim Sherman (1958-1962) was the first preacher fully supported by the Juneau church. He was followed by Brother Frazier (1962), and H.W. McLish (1963-1965).
Nello and Bea Long moved to Juneau (1964) to help strengthen the church. Nello became an elder in 1968, serving to 1999.
Bob, and Gina, Waldron (1965-1970), just graduated from Pepperdine, came to preach, during which time the church moved its meeting place to its present location in the Valley. The new building was completed in 1967. Earlier that year, Fred (Sr.) and Kathie Schmitz were baptized into Christ. Fred became one of the Juneau elders in 1978, serving as such until 2009.
The church selected its first elders in 1968.
In the preceding, we speak of the Lord's church organized biblically and continuously to the best of our knowledge. We imply neither an absence of Christians heretofore, nor exclusivity in regard to the same.
Furthermore, these notes do no justice for the hundreds of men and women, unnamed above, who have been (and many of whom still are) the heart and soul of this congregation.
Were the full story told, time and space would not suffice. But wait until the age to come, and then learn what God has done!
Chronological Listing of Elders and Spouses
(The elders' spouses' names are in parentheses. The trailing year in parenthesis approximates a given elder's end of active service.)
- 1968: Nello Long (Bea; 1999), Bob Clark (Margaret; ~1975), Cosby Steen (~1972)
- 1975: Nello Long, Eldon Lewis (Evelyn; 1976)
- 1978: Nello Long, Stan Hamlin, Sr. (Evelyn; 1987), Fred Schmitz, Sr. (Kathie; 2009)
- 1979:Nello Long, Stan Hamlin, Sr., Fred Schmitz, Sr., Maurice Long (Angie; 1995)
- 1988: Nello Long, Fred Schmitz, Sr., Maurice Long, Dan Amundson (Jill; 1991)
- 1993: Nello Long, Fred Schmitz, Sr., Maurice Long, Russ McDowell (Dorothy; 1997), Stan Hamlin, Jr. (Betty; 1997)
- 1997: Nello Long, Fred Schmitz, Sr., Jon Paden (Jeannie; 2002)
- 1999: Fred Schmitz, Sr., Jon Paden, Greg Barnes (Lynn; 2001), Mike Clemens (Kathryn; 2002), Pepper McCallon (Cindy; 2009), Dave Williams (Karen; 2007)
- 2009: Vernon Marshall (Ann), Tom Mize (Joan; 2016), Jon Paden (Jeannie)
- 2017: Lee Cole (Sheryl), Vernon Marshall (Ann), Tom Mize (Joan), Jon Paden (Jeannie)
Chronological Listing of Ministers and Spouses
- Boyd and Freda Field (1945-1957, with brief breaks in service)
- Jim Sherman (1958-1962)
- Brother Frazier (1962)
- H.W. McLish (1963-1965)
- Bob and Gina Waldron (1965-1970)
- David and Shirley Foulke (1970-1972)
- Wayne and Nita Beddingfield (1973-1974)
- Eldon and Evelyn Lewis (1974-1976)
- Mac and Barbara Culver (1977)
- Jon and Jeannie Paden (1978-1999)
- Steve and Leslie Kenney (1987-1989)
- Rob and Sandi Taverner (1999-2002)
- Bruce and Amanda Baird (2003-2008)
- Bill and Amanda Williams (2008-2013)
- Eddie and Luz Gallardo (2010-present)
- Gordon and Courtney Johnson (2014 - present)
Notes On Churches of Christ in Alaska
Ketchikan, Sitka, Juneau, Fairbanks, North Pole (Eielson), Delta Junction, Wasilla, Eagle River, Anchorage, Seward, Kenai, Soldotna, Nikiski, Anchor Point, Homer, Kodiak -- each of these communities has at least one congregation meeting regularly, and some have several congregations. In other towns and villages, Christians meet in homes or in rented facilities.
There are about 1,500 people in the state who are active members of, or who affiliate themselves with, Churches of Christ.
Transportation is the most problematic aspect of outreach due to limited road access throughout most of the state. Flying is quick, but expensive; taking the ferry is at a reasonable cost, but may require days for the same round-trip as flying an hour.
Alaska's total population is about 650,000. Juneau's population is about 35,000 making the third largest city after Anchorage (250,000) and Fairbanks (45,000).
The Church's Message
Here is our essential message: Jesus Christ and his crucifixion. 1 Corinthians 2:2. Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, he was buried, and he rose again on the third day in fulfillment of the scriptures. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.
His death, burial, and resurrection are more than a history lesson -- this Good News, or gospel, is the very means that God has to bring human beings out of death and into salvation. Romans 1:16.
For this reason, we see the message not only as a group of factual events, but as something dynamic which compels us to become followers of Christ.
In becoming followers, we seek to follow him alone as Lord not only of our individual lives, but as Lord of his church.
Consequently, we place no value in extra-biblical regulations concerning membership in his church, in its organization, and in its work.
But, we place a very high value on the New Testament's instructions and practices and goals for Christ's community. We believe the Spirit of God preserves these very ideals in the New Testament as normative for the church.
A theory of faith and practice, further in-depth information, is available regarding this congregation of Christ.