Wenatchee (Wash.) Brethren Baptist Church sold its historic church building earlier this year and is renting space from the new owners, Trinity Church, after experiencing dwindling membership in recent years.
The Wenatchee World newspaper reported that “the sale is a swap of roles for the two churches. For the past 10 years, Trinity has rented space from the Brethren. . . . [which] sold the building and land for 10 percent of the $1.7 million that it was appraised at. . . . Membership, at a high in the mid 200s in the 1960s and ’70s, is down to 75. The average age is 77, says Joe Roy, the lay head of the church, which has been without a pastor for a year and is worshipping with guest pastors.”
Now, according to Wenatchee Brethren Baptist member Leanne Ford, on Sunday the dually affiliated congregation continues “to worship in the building as we always have, following Trinity’s two services. The only difference is that the building will be under new ownership and care of another congregation.”
Wenatchee Brethren Baptist recently received a certificate from the state celebrating 100 years since the church was incorporated in 1922. A celebration of the centennial took place in September. Worship services began in the basement of the new building in 1924, and it was completed in 1929. In 1979, the Brethren merged with an American Baptist group. A scrapbook has been created to document the congregation’s history.
“There is some sadness that an era has closed, but joy that the building will remain a church and that we will be worshipping there,” Ford said. “And we know that Trinity will cherish and care for the building as we have for 100 years.”
This article first appeared in Messenger. Subscribe to Messenger here.