Where to begin the story of Quilcene Assembly? It really began in the heart of God moving upon the heart of men and women. I guess we need to begin our story in the summer of 1982. Ellen, Leah and I had just finished one year at Stanfield Assembly of God in Oregon. The pastor was resigning so we were looking for a new place to minister. Ellen’s sister, Luanne, attended Sequim Assembly of God at the time, and she told us that their Youth Pastor had just resigned. So without any formal introduction I wrote to the Pastor of Sequim Assembly, John Morgan, and I asked for an interview. He replied that they were not even sure they were going to fill the position of Youth Pastor but that he would be glad to meet with me.
Something else was in the works during this time that I was not aware of. Pastor Morgan was the Presbyter of the Olympic Section (AG), and had received two letters from people in the Quilcene area requesting that a new Assembly of God church be started in Quilcene. One was from Veda Wilson and the other from Bill and Barbara Copeland. Pastor Morgan had brought many men down to see the community, but none felt God speaking to their heart to start this new work.
During the early summer of 1982 Ellen, Leah and I moved to Sequim to be the Associate/Youth Pastor of Sequim Assembly. During the first six months we got acquainted with the people and the community.
In October, Ellen and I went with the Morgans to Ministers and Wives Seminar in Yakima. As we traveled down highway 101 toward Quilcene, Pastor Morgan said in an offhand, joking manner; “Wouldn’t it be something if we had you get the Church going in Quilcene?” We all laughed and the subject was dropped.
Around mid-November, Pastor Morgan came to me with a more serious plan. He asked me if I would be willing to go down to Quilcene on Sunday evenings and get the church started. If the people were gathered together in a building and it showed some progress, it might become more appealing to some minister. And all the while we would be praying that God would send the right man to Quilcene. I thought it was a wonderful plan, and was glad to be a part of it. I had just left my first ministerial job at $400.00 per month, and was now involved in my second, at $1000.00 per month, and we enjoyed the work in Sequim, having no desire to leave. Together, we were going to get this church in Quilcene going until we could find the right man for the job.
On January 23, 1983 we held the first Sunday evening service of Quilcene Assembly of God in the front room of Bill and Barbara Copeland’s mobile home. The place was packed, with nineteen people; There were three men, nine women, two youth and five children present, and the offering was $47.00. One who sticks out in my mind was Dan Ward who sat in the back with his wife Dana. with this unsure, questioning look on his face. It wasn’t many weeks until he received Jesus as his savior while operating a loader.
Things went well at Quilcene, and as time passed I found myself putting more and more effort into the church. In mid-March Pastor Morgan came to me and asked me, “Steve, where is your burden at? If it is here, we need to find someone else for Quilcene. If it is Quilcene, we need to find someone else for Sequim. I’m not trying to force you out, we would love to have you stay. I just need you to tell me what God is saying to you.” I asked him to give me some time to pray. I already knew that my heart was in Quilcene, but I did not want to go until I knew God was saying “GO!”. For I believe that if God says “GO!”, he will make a way for you. After a week of many hours of prayer the answer came. Late one night as I knelt before the Lord in my living room, the Lord said “GO!”. It was a funny thing, I had been seeking his direction, but when it came I started saying, “But, Lord, how will our needs be met’? How will we live? What will we do?” But all the Lord spoke to my heart was “GO!”. When I went in to bed, I woke Ellen and told her, “Well, it looks like we’re going to step out of the boat again!” She laughed and said, “Have we ever been in it?” The next day I told Pastor Morgan, and he promptly burned all my bridges behind me. He called a special meeting of the board and they agreed to support us at $500.00 per month for the first six months, and then to review it from there. They ended up giving us that amount for the first year.
Easter morning, early April 1983, we held our first Sunday Morning worship service. By this time we had moved into the “little brown house”, as it was known, right on the corner of Highway 101 and Cemetery Road. The Theme for our church became “There’s new life on Cemetery Road”. We packed the house out with forty-seven that Easter. There were fifteen men, fifteen women, five youth and twelve children, with a morning offering of $154.20 and an evening offering of $40.25.
On June 24th we held our first baptismal service. The following seven people were baptized: Veda Wilson, Carol Schafer, Carole Copeland, Traci Benoff, Daniel Ward, Laurie Copeland and David Temple -- First fruits of Quilcene Assembly. On November 27th, 1983 we held our second baptismal service. The following three people were baptized: Dorothy (Tracy) Dupuis and Randy & Linda Houle.
During the coarse of the next two years the church went through many ups and downs. We went up to fifty and down to thirty-five. The house was just to small to encourage growth. I remember one Sunday morning when it was Julie Newman’s turn for the nursery. She had twenty-five toddlers in a ten by ten room. When the service was finished, so was she. By the time I got to her house she said, “I repent, I’ll be back”. But I didn’t blame her, it was difficult in those early days with out a building. The men would take turns on Saturday nights coming down and re-stoking the wood stove so would be warm in the building for the services. Our family grew by one on December 7, 1983, when Joshua was born to us. Praise the Lord!
I taught the people that we must continually reach out to people no matter how many times we get burned. Little did I know that my teaching would be put to the test during those first two years. We let two men stay in the church who’s car was broken down, one Saturday night. We asked them to keep the wood stove stoked to give our men a break. We came in the next morning to find that they were gone and that they had a beer party that night and the house smelled of beer. They had also cleaned some salmon in the bathtub, and had left the cleanings there. But the people took it in stride. The real test came when we let a young man stay in the church who was having hard time. He robbed the local bank while staying in the church. That week we had the F.B.I. going through the church along with police dogs. But we were able to help others, and the people kept reaching out to hurting people.
One of the great victories that came during the first two years was found in a young “lady” named Kathy. She had been an “Old Lady” with the Hell’s Angels. She lived up in the hills without running water or electricity. She came to church in torn blue jeans and her black leather jacket. Her language always made things interesting. But, as we all just loved Kathy and accepted her, God did a great work in her heart. One day she came to me and said “Pastor, God has revealed to me that my leather jacket is a symbol of my rebellion against my mother. I’m going to call her today, will you pray with me?” That was a turning point in Kathy’s life, I didn’t do it, but God did it as he spoke to her heart. She and her mother were reunited. The next Sunday we were all in for the biggest shock of our lives. Kathy came to church wearing the most colorful flower print full-length dress you have ever seen. We weren’t use to seeing Kathy in a dress and she wasn’t use to wearing them either. Kathy has called us on occasion over the years and God is still working his will in he life.
On May 20th, 1984 we held our third baptismal service. Steve Hoffman was baptized that day.
It became very clear to me that we were not going to be able to grow above fifty unless we had more room. I contacted the District office and talked with them concerning acquiring a mobile building to add to our existing rented structure. On a Thursday, October 25, 1984 a single wide mobile arrived and was installed next to the brown house. We converted it into the sanctuary, it was like preaching down a tunnel, and the little brown house became the Sunday School and children’s church class rooms.
But in God’s sovereign way, the entrance of the mobile building was going to also be the catalyst to bigger and greater things. The Sunday after the mobile arrived the Lord spoke to my heart during the worship service. A passage of Scripture kept coming to mind, and finely I shared it with the people: “I am going to do something in your day that even if you were told of it you would not believe it.” After the service I looked up that passage and found that God was sending the children of Israel into captivity for their rebellion. I decided to hold onto the part the Lord had given me. But we did go into a captivity of sorts before the victory came. On Friday, November 2, 1984 the Health Department put a stop work order on the mobile. They said that the building was not set up for a public meeting place and that they were going to shut us down. We had been at this location now for two and a half years, with a eight foot by four foot sign out front with Quilcene Assembly of God printed in big letters! How did they miss us until now? Divine blindness? I was angry, with a Godly anger, or so I thought. “How dare they work against God’s church.” That day both my father-in-law and myself called our congressmen and anyone else who would listen. The break through came late that night during my personal devotions. I was reading the portion of scripture where Jesus was standing before Pontius Pilot and Pilot said to him, “Don’t you know that I have authority to crucify you or set you free, are you not going to speak to me?” Jesus answer to this government official is what the Holy Spirit took and drove deep in my heart, as if he was saying, “I’m in this, don’t rain on my parade.” Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it had been given to you from above.” This changed my whole attitude. I went and spoke with the county commissioners and they said that they could give us a variance of the county ordnance, but only if we were in the process of building our own building.
I had to go to the district with the ultimatum of either close down the work at Quilcene or go into a building program. They chose the latter, and we obtained a variance from the county. During the next three months we located seven acres of land owned by the Worthington family, this was to become the site for the first building of Quilcene Assembly of God. On March 14. 1985 men from our district office were here to scope out the land and begin planning for the building. I had in mind a log A-frame type structure, but God’s vision was bigger than that. I remember one woman in town going around when we were in the building process saying “Where is that crazy Pastor going to get all the people to fill that big church.” When I heard of it I told the people, “I don’t know either, but God does.” The Minute Man program of the Northwest District came to our aid and gave us $10,000.00 toward the purchase of the land!
So here is how it went: Wednesday, April 10, 1985 we started clearing two acres of land. Monday, May 6, 1985 we drilled the well; sixty feet at a total cost of $1,590.05. Tuesday, May 21, 1985 we applied for the building permit; Permit fee = $460.50, Plan Check = $299.33, New Address = $10.00, Public Works Road Access Permit = $10.00, Health Department Sewage Disposal Permit = $115.00, and we thought we were on our way; but by the time all the red tape and hoops had been jumped through, we received our building permit on Tuesday, October 22,1985. We had lost all the good weather of summer to build.
But during that summer we had received many spiritual blessings. We had Children’s Evangelists Karen and Arne Dixon in the mobile for a children’s crusade starting June 17th through the 21st. We were amazed at the number of kids that came out. On June 30, 1985, we held our fourth baptismal service. The following four people were baptized; Melinda Finley, Shanna Vandenberg, Mickey & Rebecca Durham.
The entire building was up in one week; we spent the next two years finishing it. We amazed the town with the construction of the building, one Sunday it wasn’t there, the next Sunday it was. On Monday, October 28 we started building the forms for the foundation. On Wednesday, October 30, at 10 am, the first cement truck arrived to pour the foundation. On Thursday, we cleared the forms and cleared the ground inside the foundation. On Friday, November 1st, twenty men from First Assembly of God in Tacoma, Pastored by Fulton Buntain, arrived and most of the deck went down that day. Saturday, ten more men arrived from Tacoma. Two volunteer contractors and thirty men went to work. It sounded like the fourth of July with thirty hammers going at once. They completed all the exterior and interior walls and part of the roof that day. Over the next two Saturdays they came back and finished the roof and all framing. After Saturday, November 16, 1985 we were ready to begin the long task of finishing the building. I remember Ginny Frank saying, “At this rate we’ll be in the church by Christmas.” We were, two years later. First Assembly gave $5,000.00 toward all the exterior plywood, doors and windows and they finished up the installation of the windows on December 7th.
Thursday through Sunday, November 28 - December 1, 1985, Operation Turkey from Northwest College: Young people came to help us on the building during their Thanksgiving holiday. Ellen and I moved five times during the five years in Quilcene, because they kept selling the houses out from under us. At this time we were in a five bedroom A-frame which was perfect for the occasion of having all the young people staying with us. Those who came were: Mike & Terri Jeisma, Dave Kennedy, Margaret Frye, Butch Decker, Connie Grekoff, Mike Wasliborn, Tracy Jorome and Mike Kiefer.
We began the roofing of the building in December and finished in February of 1986. Perfect time for roofing. The sun never raised high enough to thaw out the northern side of the building. It was like a slanted skating rink. Men would come after work to help me on the roofing, but during the day I worked up there alone, except for the days that Ellen helped me. One day I had been up there working all day and the men came to help. It felt good to let someone else take the lead and for me to follow. I sorely switched from facing one way to facing the other, and Mr. Sexton said, “Is this what you call turning the other cheek.” On February 6th the roof was finished.
On January 11, 1986, men from Christ Memorial Church in Poulsbo (C.M.C.), arrived to begin the electrical work. They were not able to finish it, so the district hired an outside electrical contractor to complete the task. On February 1st teams came to work on the electrical and plumbing.
We were extremely blessed by two “older” but vibrant couples. Curtis and Dorothy Andrews, who fully decked out the church with cabinets and desks. On March 21st we first met Curtis and Dorothy, as they came to check out what cabinet needs we would have. On May 5th they came to build all the cabinets, desks and cribs of the church. He finished all the cabinet work on August 3rd. Dave and Nancy Burk worked on sheet rock and any other task that needed to be done. They moved in with their trailers and lived on site, for weeks on end, building and working with us. This is my tribute to their labor of love, God bless you.
Also I want to say hats off to the people of Quilcene Assembly, who worked almost every evening on the completion of the church. God bless you.
On March 29th, six men from South Park Assembly of God came to work on the Insulation. April 4th, men from Calvary Temple of Auburn came to work. May 10th, the Plumber and Electrical teams from C.M.C. were here. On May 22, Dave Pearson, from the District, and a local man, John Bobo, worked on assembling the septic system, which was approved on July 17, 1986, with the electrical approval coming shortly behind, on July 31st.
One of the great learning experiences for all of us was building the concrete block pump house. I even got a sermon out of it -- Jesus being the corner stone, took on greater meaning. August 19-21, we built the pump house, and on September 20th, we installed the well house equipment.
October 4th was a big day for the church, we moved the mobile to the property behind the sanctuary and began having services on the property. October 19 was the first service on the new property, and for the next four months we would hold services in the mobile.
October 23, 1986, final inspection of electrical, plumbing and insulation was made and approved. We were OK’ed for cover and could now start the sheet rocking. It was at this time that another incident happened that sticks out vividly in my mind. We almost lost Leah in a sheet rocking accident. Ellen was working, and I was watching the kids and working on the church. Leah was five and Josh was three. We had the phone installed into the church at this time. I was working with the scaffolding up on the platform of the sanctuary when the phone rang. I told Leah and Josh to stay away from the scaffolding. While I was on the phone I heard a gigantic crash. I ran out into the sanctuary to see my little girl pinned to the floor with the scaffolding over the top of her. I ran over to find that the scaffolding had folded like a box and that one leg had caught on the edge of the platform and had stopped that section from going to the floor and Leah lay with a bar across her back and neck and legs. I pulled her out to find there was not even a scratch on her. I believe that an angel protected her that day. The scaffolding hit so hard it put dents in the floor. They later told me Josh had climbed up on the scaffolding and Leah was trying to get him down when a leg of the scaffolding went over the side of the platform. God delivered my daughter and me that day. Thank you Jesus. I believe to this day, and so does my daughter, that God has a plan for her life, because he spared her that day.
November 15, 1986, Cutis Andrews brought men to work on the sheet rock from Christian Life Center of Port Orchard where Pastor Jed Minton was pastor. Also on this day Dave Pearson brought men to build the forms for the walkways and ramps.
On November 16, 1986 we held our fifth baptismal service. The following two people were baptized; Willard Brown and Irene Ceehorne. Seventeen people had been baptized to this point, praise God for the victory in the spiritual realm.
November 18th, Ellen’s dad, Don Hall, came to help and Al Bonsguard and his men came and put in a very full day on the sheet rock from 1Oam till mid-night. On the 20th Ed Morgan and Dave Campbell here from East Gate Assembly to sheet rock. On the 22nd Curtis Andrews brought men here to work on the sheet rock.
On December 5th, the work went outside of the Assemblies of God when Don Hall. My father-in-law, Dick Short, my brother-in-law, and the men from Joyce Bible Church, of the Christian Missionary Alliance, came down to pour the back walk ways and ramps. On the eight we poured the front walk ways and ramps. On the 22, 26 and 27 Ed Morgan was here to tape and Texture the sheet rock. And on December 29th Mark Ross came from C.M.C. (Christ Memorial Church) to paint the interior of the church with his professional spray equipment.
On January 1st, 1987 we held our sixth baptismal service. This one came as a bit of a surprise and one I’ll never forget. Early that morning Gregory Callahan came knocking at my door and wanted to be baptized that very instant. He had committed his life to Christ that new years eve and wanted to be baptized in the bay. There was snow on the ground, but I told him to call his family and I would call the church together and we would meet down at the bay. An hour later I stood in the freezing water baptizing a young man for the forgiveness of sins. I still shiver when I think of that Baptismal service, but praise God for the increase to the Kingdom.
In February of 1987 two miracles happened which finished off the building. First, a family of carpet layers moved into Quilcene for one month just when we needed the carpets laid. A coincidence? I think not. Secondly, we now had the carpet down and the building finished. But the money gone, and no musical instruments, no pews, what to do. Brother Born called me and said that the Tacoma mission had some pews they wanted to get rid of, would I be interested. I said I would go and look at them, but all the while wondering what kind of pews would come out of a mission on first street? But never the less I took the money to rent a U-Haul truck with and some men and we went that week to look at the pews. When we got there we could not believe our eyes. A man had hand made the pews for the mission some thirty years before out of solid oak. They were just the length we needed for the sanctuary. and over half of them had been refinished by the Tacoma Technical school as a project in wood refinishing. After we loaded up the pews, the director of the missions said “I’d like to show you something else. Here’s an electronic church organ and a black baby grand piano, could you use these also?” We went out and rented another U-Haul. The following Sunday, February 8, 1987, we started services in a beautiful new church with all the cabinets completed, with solid oak pews, and wonderful musical instruments. Praise God for his hand in the workings of men.
The church was dedicated on May 30 and 31 and the following was what was written in the Northwest Messenger, October 1987 (Vol. 48, No. 8, p.3);
“Dedication services were held on May 30 and 31 at the Quilcene Assembly of God. The building was completed with the help from many churches and the District Home Missions Department.”
“The dedicatory message was brought by B. A. Born, Assistant Superintendent. A number of visiting ministers were present from the section, along with many visitors from the community and various places. A video presentation was given showing the construction process.”
“A celebration service was conducted on Sunday at 10:00 am. Rev. Frank E. Cole, District Superintendent brought the message. The pastor of the Presbyterian church and a group of his people presented a plant and an offering, and were present for the first half of the service.”
“We congratulate Pastor and Mrs. Steve Mandeville for the fine effort they have given to this work.”
The following is a copy of what was found in the Dedication Bulletin:
Dedication of Quilcene Assembly
Saturday, May 30th 1987, 2p.m.
Opening Prayer and Greeting:
Offertory: Eugene Born.
Song: Mary Anne “More than Wonderful”.
Quilcene Assembly Presentation: Pastor Stephen Mandeville.
Dedication: Assistant Superintendent Eugene Born.
Special Thanks to our Congregation.
Closing Prayer: Pastor Dan Ward.
Refreshments & Fellowship.
In this Dedication Bulletin we give recognition to individuals and churches that gave in both labor and finances. But first recognition goes to the one who coordinated it all. He put it in people’s hearts to give, and helped them to catch a vision of what He wanted to do in Quilcene. We at Quilcene Assembly have an overpowering sense of God’s hand upon all that was done. We give first and greatest honor, recognition and praise to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. For we have truly seen God work a miracle among us.
Worship with us, for God has truly been gracious to His people!
THANK YOU LORD!
Ellen and I want to add an extra note of thanks to those Churches that have personally stood behind our family in pioneering Quilcene Assembly.
Sequim Assembly of God
Christ Memorial Church
Renton Assembly of God
Belfair Assembly of God
Port Townsend Assembly of God
And just as of late, Silverdale Assembly of God.
Thank you for your monthly support which enables us to do the work God has called us to. May Jesus Name be praised!
Pastor Stephen Mandeville
Quilcene Assembly of God
Iin the original copy of this Illustrated & Detailed History of Quilcene A/G, there were several more pages listing each person and church that helped in anyway with the building of this church, as well as articles and copies of letters that were written on behalf of/or to the church about this building project.]
On July 26, 1987 we held our seventh baptismal service, where Thomas Firestone was baptized. On September 20 we held our eighth baptismal service where Rebecca Cardwell was baptized for the remission of sins. Nineteen people in all were baptized during the five years we were in Quilcene.
In January of 1989 we submitted our resignation as Pastor of Quilcene Assembly. We had lived the last nine months in a twenty-seven foot travel trailer next to the church as there were no rentals available in the town. It was a standing joke among the church people that if we stayed long enough we would have lived in every house in town. We had moved five times in the five years we were in Quilcene. We look back at those years as hard ones but with many fond memories of God’s people and the work in Quilcene. Thank you all for letting me be a part of your lives and what God is doing in Quilcene.
As I conclude this five year history I want to point out one important fact. God worked many miracles in the founding of Quilcene Assembly but most of them were through human hands. The combined work of all these people did “something in our day that if we were told of it we would not have believed it before it happened.”
Written by Pastor Steven Mandeville