Forty people started Willamette Church of Christ in the basement of the old West Linn Fire Hall back in 1957. These members had a vision to impact their community through authentic worship, biblical preaching and genuine community service.
As our church population grew, ministry needs did as well, and in 1961 we purchased and built the original church building off what is now the 10th Street exit in the Willamette District of West Linn. In 1973, the church added an additional wing to the building to accommodate educational needs.
In 1982, the church purchased a five-acre parcel of property in West Linn for $100,000. Originally, this property was bought with the intention of building our new church upon it, but it proved too expensive to build out as our church home. In 1995, we sold this property for $900,000.
In the early 80’s, we adopted the name Willamette Christian Church, and as membership continued to grow, we completed a full major remodel. Again, in 1996, we remodeled and added 80 seats. In the fall of 2000, we contracted with Rosemont Ridge Middle School to host our Sunday programs and eventually served over 800 people in two services each Sunday morning at Rosemont Ridge.
In December of 2006, we held a Big Event at the Monarch Hotel to officially kick off our Growing from the Heart Campaign – a three year capital campaign to purchase and construct our new church home. We received unanimous support from the 700 in attendance to embark upon the purchase of 34.7 acres at the corner of Brandywine and Salamo road. Through their vote, and the sacrificial commitment of over $2.55 million in pledges, we moved forward to purchase the property in the heart of West Linn. Outside the urban growth boundary, our property is under the jurisdiction of Clackamas County, and is directly situated on the West Linn city boundary. This location presented unique challenges in the design and approvals process, and we endeavored to work closely with our partners at the County and City Hall.
In January of 2007 we received Conditional Use Approval from Clackamas County and began defining our program and space needs, and in May of 2007, we closed on the property and started on our design. The architectural firm of Myhre Group was selected to design our new church home, and the general contracting firm of BNBuilders partnered with us to construct our church home. The plans include three phases, with Phase I including a multi-purpose worship and meeting space, administrative offices, nursery and children’s area, and parking to support over 200 cars.
In October 2007, we celebrated our 50th Anniversary and a Groundbreaking Ceremony entitled “Our place in HIStory”. Over 800 adults, youth and children enjoyed a Sunday service that included worship, special guests and members from the community, and a message from Lead Pastor Joel Dombrow. We honored former Lead Pastors Leo Woodruff, Terry Malsey, Don Johnson and Gary Snavely (pictured below left to right).
After the service, we enjoyed a special lunch together, displayed a pictorial history of our church, and paraded to the new property to dedicate the new land. Charter member George Perdue, and long term elder and building committee member Mark Foley, dug a ceremonial shovel of dirt to dedicate our new land and commence on the building process.
In December of 2007, we renovated the Tenth Street building once again to provide a youth lounge for our junior and senior high schoolers, and to support a Saturday night service to attract the youth and un-churched in the Southwest Metro area. Through the contributions of many of the church family, and the hard work of many hands, once again our Tenth Street building was enhanced to support the ministry needs of our community.
By God’s grace, we moved into our new facility in April of 2009! Since then we have completed Phase II of our construction which is a dedicated student center for middle school, high school, and grade school kids. This facility just provides us with another amazing meeting space to share the good news of Christ! We are now grateful and humbled to serve over 1200 people during our weekend services.
Since 1959, our emphasis has been on being a caring community that loves God, loves people, and serves the world. Today, we have over 30 ministries and missions that serve our church family, the community and our world.
Is God calling you to be a part of shaping history here at Willamette Christian Church? Check out our GET INVOLVED page to see how you can get involved!