The Church of the Full Gospel, at 180 E. Lake Street, Sand Lake, is celebrating 65 years in its present location. They will be celebrating this milestone on New Year’s Eve, Saturday, December 31, from 7 p.m. to midnight. There will be a special speaker, music, and photos taken through the years. Refreshments will be served during intermission. What follows is a condensed version of the church’s history submitted by the members.
How it all began
A group of young people, in a local church, was hungry for the things of God. Our spiritual needs were not being met. We cried unto the Lord to bring us someone to help us, someone who would be more interested in service than in money.
Meanwhile, Mr. Frank Allen, who lived nearby, had become a widower, and asked his sister, Harriet Eaton, who lived in Washington state, to come back to Sand Lake to help him. It just so happened she was a home missionary.
Shortly after her arrival in Sand Lake, in the summer of 1942, Frank and Harriet attended the Old Settlers picnic in town. When the time came for regulars and visitors to say a few words, Sister Eaton arose and openly proclaimed, “I left t his place a sinner and have returned a child of God!” Afterward, the first one to seek her out was her old-time friend, Vita Giddings Davies. The two were close friends from then on.
Some young people asked Harriet if she would come and speak for the youth group. She said she would and also bring her guitar. We were delighted and told her so. She said, “Come and see me.” We agreed to do so. This is the way Tuesday evening meetings began in Frank Allen’s home. She started us off studying the book of Genesis. The blessed word of God began to open to us. We learned how to pray. She ministered to us the whole counsel of God.
She told us to bring our friends and we did. A good number of teenagers and older women made their way to the Allen home that snowy winter. We were still attending the other church, and did so for quite some time. Meetings were held in various homes in the area, and we were teaching Sunday School in the church we had been attending. Finally the pastor told us to make a choice and the break with the church came. The new gathering then drew more people together.
The group eventually rented the local Grange Hall for Sunday night meetings, and began to search for their own building. Finally, 1-1/2 lots were purchased from Charles and Maude Williams on E. Lake Street in Sand Lake. The group then found an old schoolhouse, the Cherry Dell School, near Entican, about 30 miles northeast of Sand Lake. Built in 1882, the school was still in sound condition. They purchased it and moved it to their new property on E Lake St. It was a welcome sight to all to see the building moving south on old US131 and into the Village of Sand Lake. The building was replastered and a new chimney built. The first service was held in the building on December 31, 1946.
Sister Eaton had gone back to Washington to live with her son and grandson. Evelyn Rush, who had come for a two-week visit with Harriet in 1944, stayed on to help and became the pastor of the Sand Lake church group. Verta Kibbe was her assistant.
Through the years, there have been different improvements made to the building—a basement dug, a furnace, bathrooms and west wing installed, entry changed from the front to the side, classrooms added, etc.
Many of the original group of believers have died or moved away. New ones have come in and taken their place. But the message preached when the group started has not changed.
The Church of the Full Gospel has several meetings every week. J-O-Y children’s meetings during the school year, daily Vacation Bible School and a youth camp during the summer, three-day Labor Day fellowship meetings, and end-of-year anniversary gatherings on New Year’s eve. They also have gospel meetings at Metron twice weekly.
Verta (Kibbe) Giddings and Gary Giddings pastor the meetings. There are also capable elders, deacons, worship leaders and teachers.
The regular schedule is Sunday school at 10 a.m., followed by a worship service at 11 a.m., and Sunday evenings at 6 p.m. On Wednesdays Bible study at 7 p.m.