Celebrating a century
Medicine Rocks Church 100th Anniversary
August 24, 2018
Before World War I, there was no church building in the Medicine Rocks area. Sunday School and Sunday services we held at the Medicine Rocks Schoolhouse. In 1917, George Blake wrote to his friend, Rev. George McGovern, asking him to come or send a pastor to hold revival services.
In July of 1917, a tent was set up in the "Rocks" and Rev. J. C. and Mrs. McGovern (parents of former South Dakota senator George McGovern) began a revival meeting. It was during those services, that plans were made for the construction of a church.
Construction supplies were purchased, and hauled by four or six horse teams, during two day trips to Plevna, Baker, Willard, Ekalaka and Beach, North Dakota. Construction of the church sanctuary was completed in 1918.
The building was dedicated in the summer of 1919. A crowd of about 25 to 30 people enjoyed a day of three services and a picnic on the church grounds. Ministers present for the occasion were: Rev. Harris, Rev. McGovern and Rev. Blake.
A few weeks ago, on July 28 and 29, the church people celebrated 100 years of existence. There was a time of reconnecting with old friends, lawn games and a praise/worship service each day. Special speakers for the occasion were: previous District Superintendent, Pastor Larry Johnson and previous District Superintendent/current Assistant District Superintendent, Pastor Isaac Smith. Current Assistant District Superintendent, Wayne Mueller, also attended.
Previous pastors/wives in attendance were: Pastor Johny Yerger's widow, Judy Yerger; Pastor Tom McCall's widow, Carol McCall; and Pastor Ron and Helen Burkhalter. Previous Interim Pastor, Paul Turner and his wife Janet, also attended. There were 250 people in attendance.
Pastors who have served the church are: Miss Gertrude Preston (1917-18), W. J. Edgar (1918), L. D. Harris (1918-21), R. J. Eling (1921-24), Leon Briggs (1927-29), Arthur Reisdorph (1929-34), Archie C. Buell (1934-40), Ralph Helle (1941-42), T. S. Lee (1943-45), Ellis Sollie (1945-47), Erwin Anderson (197-48), Harmon Vreugdenhil (1948-50), Clyde McCone (1950-53), Walter Kemp (1954), Eugene Gisselbeck (1955-57), Ellis Sollie (1959-63), Wilbur Kidd (1964-66), Wilbur Moulton (1966-69), Adolphus L. Cretsinger (1969-72), Dave Olmsted (1972-73), Benjamin Joachim (1975-91), Bob Ravenscraft (1991-93), Johny Yerger (1993-95), Art Wessel (1995-96), Tom McCall (1996-2002), Ron Burkhalter (2002-04), Mark Umfleet (2004-07), Ron Burkhalter (2007-13), and Jim Biswell (2013- ).