THE AMERICAN BAPTIST CHURCH
On Sunday afternoon, February 28, 1965, a capacity crowd attended the dedication service of the new church edifice. A ground breaking ceremony was held on Palm Sunday, March 22, 1964, when the first shovel full was dug by Frederick Benedix, building committee chairman. Besides the building committee and Pastor Stock, board members present were Paul Brown, Wesley Nelson, Matt French, Ralph Helmbrecht, Louis Lawson, and Stanley Jurrens. The building plans were secured from Church Enterprises Co. of South Bend, IN. The cornerstone was laid on November 1 of the same year. December 20, 1964, was the first Sunday the new sanctuary was used and the Bible School Christmas program, “The Voice of Love” was presented that evening.
A new constitution for the church was adopted on December 2, 1965, and became effective as of that date.
The original church building was torn down in the summer of 1968, and the area is now used for the church’s parking lot. The exterior of the education unit was remodeled to compliment the new building. The bell from the old church, along with the cornerstone and window sills, was installed in a memorial tower in the church yard.
The former parsonage across from the church was sold, and on March 16, 1971, Pastor Richard Johnson, his wife Beverly, and their daughters Mary Grace and Sara moved into the new parsonage, which the congregation had built on two lots donated by Chaplain John Larson, one of the church members and a grandson of Rev. S. Van Tassel, who also was guest speaker the day the new parsonage was dedicated. Landscaping was later added for both the church and new parsonage.
First Baptist Church prior to 1965
From October, 1979 to May 23, 1999 five other pastors served the First Baptist Church.
In 1974, the upper floor of the educational unit was extensively remodeled to provide new facilities for nursery, rest rooms, library, Beginner’s Sunday School department, and pastor’s study and office.
Pastor Steve Dawson and his wife Gina ministered to the church from May 30, 1999 – August 13, 2006. Dwight DePenning, from Pillsbury Baptist Bible College in Owatonna, MN, served as interim pastor until June 8, 2008.
Pastor Harley Betzolt and his wife Diane ministered at First Baptist Church June 15, 2008 – June 26, 2011. Pastor Dale Phelps served as interim pastor until January 27, 2013.
Pastor John Todor and his wife Mythyl began their ministry on Feb. 3, 2013.