Cherry Grove Baptist Church
Cherry Grove Baptist Church is
located in Cherry Grove, Oregon. It is located about 30 miles due west of
Portland. The church was organized January 28, 1912. There was a
total of 45 charter members. It had a membership of 42 and a Sunday School
average attendance of 43. The first pastor was Andrew Johnson who served
from 1912 to 1914.
Cherry Grove connotes spring and blossom time, followed by juicy, red fruit. It is a picturesque Oregon town in a pleasant valley. Gaston is its closest neighbor and Forest Grove is a dozen miles away.
The history of Cherry Grove is inextricably connected with that of August Lovegren who founded the town. He was largely instrumental in forming the the church.
A. G. Sandblom was the Conference Missionary in Oregon at the time Cherry Grove was becoming a town. He worked with Baptist people that had settled there and organized the church in 1912.
The picture on the left was down town Cherry Grove as it looked back in those days. The hotel (the building on the left with the sign on the front) was owned by Mrs. Ellen Milton, until it burnt down. Mrs. Milton was a long time member of Temple Baptist Church. In 1975, she was 96 years old, and has been a member of this church for more than 60 years.
Mr. August Lovegren, moved to town in 1911 and set up a sawmill, which was the only industry in Cherry Grove at that time. He previously owned a sawmill in the town of Preston, Washington. The Lovegren family were among the 45 charter members when the church was organized. A dam creating a 70 acre lake was built to power the saw mill. The town grew up with a hotel, stores, post office and a railroad line from Gaston. In January of 1914, during the ministry of Andrew Johnson, the first pastor, a freak flood rushed down the Tualatin river, washed out the dam and wiped out the lumber venture. No lives were lost but the employment base was gone and people moved away. The church had reached a peak of 119 members before the tragedy. The dam was not rebuilt. August Lovegren lived less than 2 years after the flood, but the the church he established lived on until 1979. The church was the adhesive that held the community together.
During the pastorate of David M. Anderson, the present church was remodeled. Andrew Danielson was largely responsible for its construction. When Loren O. Wahl was pastor of the church it was thoroughly remodeled and a parsonage built.
In the 1970's, Ron and Lorna Shafer came to Cherry Grove to live and serve while Ron continued his education at Western Baptist Seminary. The church continued to grow in membership. In 1977 they achieved self-support, not needing grants from the Conference any more. About that time, Ron's father came to help his son in the ministry. With him came two associates. They had earlier formed "The Dispensational Theological Seminary" and brought with them their students from eastern states. Ron moved to another senior pastorate as his father seized the opportunity to commandeer the defenseless situation. The students that Ron's father brought with him all became members of the church. The former members of the church were mostly maneuvered out. Then the time was right, May 14, 1978, the members voted to sever all connections with the Baptist General Conference. There was one negative vote, Levi Lovegren's, the son of August Lovegren. Levi graduated from the University of Washington in 1910 with a degree in civil engineering and helped his father plan the Cherry Grove development. This was a painful experience for Levi and came as a shock to many Lovegrens when the news reached them
The parsonage has been sold and the church is now called Valley Baptist Church. The church building and the grounds are kept in an excellent state as the color photos indicate. There were no stores or other businesses in Cherry Grove at the time of this writing. (Color Photos were taken by Frank Peterson on 8/22/2002.)
The above account of text and black and white images were copied from Gordon Carlson's book "Seventy-Five Years History" and John Bergeson's book "Fourth Quarter".