Our history begins with the incorporation of the Cottonwood Methodist Episcopal Church on November 6, 1893 (the original church building stood where the parking lot is now).
Things where quite a bit different back then; seven wood stoves provided heat and there was no indoor plumbing, or any of the other conveniences we take for granted today. The church did have a bell, however, to call people to worship. The bell was purchased in Colton Washington in early 1900 by John Jungert and installed that same year. The original church building stood until around 1949 when it was torn down to make way for a new structure. The wood from the original building was given to the Indians at Kamiah, Idaho and used to build their church.
In those days the parsonage was a small cabin located in the area that is now the parsonage front yard. It was originally built in 1914 with many additions made to it over the years. In August 1985 the old parsonage was torn down and burned. In 1989, the Catholic diocese sold their parsonage at Greencreek; it was moved to Cottonwood and set in place on the Community Church lot in June of the year.
During the years 1948 to 1949, pledges of money were taken and a new church building started going up. An architect from Billings Montana named H.C. Mecklenburg designed the building. Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Rhodes gave the church the lot for the new church, which allowed the ground formally occupied by the church building to be used for parking. Trees from John Baer's ranch were cut and hauled to Poxleitner's saw mill. The Jungert families hauled the milled boards to Standard Lumber Company for planing and back to the church building site. Then, on January 19, 1953, the Cottonwood Methodist Episcopal Church was incorporated as the Community Methodist Church; on May 31 of that year the church building was dedicated (with approximately 500 people in attendance). The minister at that time was Pastor Ludwig Eskeldsen who originally came from Denmark in 1952. Finally, on September 17, 1981, the church name was changed to Cottonwood Community Church.
Disaster struck on December 26, 1991 when the church building burned to the ground. It seemed to be the culmination of several years of difficult times. However, the church rallied and plans where immediately made to construct a new building on the site of the old. Morrie Arnzen Construction was hired to build the new church. The new sanctuary was constructed along the lines of the 1949 edifice with several changes and improvements in the design. The rebuilt church building was dedicated on November 8 1992.
Our current Pastor, Eric Williams, began his ministry with us on the first Sunday of September in 2005. His family was moved into the parsonage by the end of October that same year. Pastor Williams brings a much needed emphasis on preaching the Word of God and a call to personal holiness according to the objective standard of Scripture. We are looking forward to many years of ministry with Pastor Eric in the pulpit.
Cottonwood Community Church has seen a lot of change in the past 119 years. We've been through hard times and good. But no matter what the future may bring, we remain committed to our Lord Jesus Christ and the work of His kingdom. We hope that you will choose to join us.
History and photos of the Cottonwood Community Church are provided courtesy of Marlene Jungert.