For former worshippers, North End church’s history is part of their own past

Summertime is the time of the year when all kinds of reunions, like families or high school classes, take place, when people are called together to reflect on a common bond between them. This week, our church building has been the site of a very special reunion as former members of Baptist Temple Church came from all over the country to reflect on the days when they worshipped together at 26th and Heron in Boise. About 90 of them came from Iowa, Oklahoma, Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Idaho to revisit their spiritual roots.

For many years, our church building was the home of Baptist Temple Church until they moved to 36th Street, where they were known as Parkview Baptist Church in 1974. Many of these people who gathered were children who grew up in the various activities of the church in Sunday School classes, youth groups, and choirs. The leaders of this reunion, Bruce and Connie Smith, were the last couple to be married in the 26th and Heron Street building in 1974, so this return was very special to them.

While some “alumni” of the church may not have known one another because they attended at various times, others had not seen their church friends for 40-50 years! So everyone needed a name tag, whether stranger or old friend. Multitudes of old pictures were on display, recalling events and people of their common past. They remembered pastors, parents and elders who were part of their formative years.

They marveled at the changes the building had undergone, but saw the unique and familiar characteristics of this historic site that was part of their history. Much of the time was spent telling stories about how they walked to church, and attended Sunday School classes in the surrounding homes. How did they all fit on those old hard wooden pews and crowd into the small spaces that served as classes? There was also time to reflect on the sacred moments they spent together, that special place in the building where they surrendered their lives to Christ. They dusted off the old hymn books and sang the songs that were part of their worship in the 1950s. Voices that had blended together in their youth joined in song once again!

This was more than just a sentimental trip down memory lane. It was a celebration of a sustaining faith that had been instilled in these retirees as children! Although they have been scattered geographically and worship in different environments, this was a time to commemorate the foundation of their lives and honor those who were a part of their past.

Our church family felt honored to open the building because we feel there is a special bond in preserving a house of worship on this corner of the North End. The two lots that were purchased in 1912 to build the “Katherine Mission” as a Sunday School outreach of First Baptist Church still is home to a congregation of Christians 107 years later! New Life Fellowship has occupied this building since 1990, but we feel the history of Baptist Temple Church is also a part of our own!

Loren A. Yadon is pastor of New Life Fellowship of Boise.

The Idaho Statesman’s weekly faith column features a rotation of writers from many different faiths and perspectives.