EARLY CHURCH HISTORY
The Congregational Church first began on March 24, 1913 on the dry farm area of Kamima. Charter members were Mr. & Mrs. Jacob Roth, Mr. & Mrs. John Schenk, Mr. & Mrs. Gottlieb Kranzlar, Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Moldenhauer and Mr. & Mrs. Edward Pfiele. With the help of Rev. Schwabenlund, the first members pioneered the Lord’s work in the Church called Salem Church (Salem’s Gemeinde). In 1925, the Church was moved to Paul (where Becky Ann Café now stands). The Church cemetery (400 West 1270 North) was left behind, but is still kept by the church. The name of the church was changed to Zoar Church (Zoar Gemeinde). The first year of the new Zoar church passed without a minister. In the absence of ministers, the church brethren conducted worship services and prayer meetings. Records show that Rev. Hirsch and Rev. Auman served between 1913 and 1926. In 1926, Rev. Sauer came to shepherd the flock and did so until 1928. Rev. Wassenburger served from 1928 until 1935. During this time (1932-1936) an extension church sprang up north of the railroad tracks in Paul; it was called “The Little Red Brick Church.” Rev. Broze was the minister of the extension Church, officially called Pilgrim Congregational Church. In 1936, plans were made between the Zoar Church and the Pilgrim Congregational Church to merge and become one Church – The Ebenezer Congregational Church.
THE EBENEZER CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
The Zoar Church was sold to the Paul Baptist Church and remains part of the existing building complex. It is not known what happened to the little red brick church building. The Ebenezer Congregational Church was built on the corner of 2nd West and Clark, where it stands today. The building was built by the members who placed Jacob Fetzer, Jacob Knopp and Jacob Uhrich in charge. The church was dedicated in 1937 with Rev. K.K. Maier as the minister. Rev. Maier came to serve the Zoar Church in 1936 and was the first pastor of the new church. He served until 1944. The original building had wood siding and consisted of the sanctuary and the foyer. Rev. E.E. Ketterling came to lead the flock in 1945 and served until 1953. In 1946, a new parsonage was built south of the church by the members with Rev. Ketterling and Jacob Ketterling in charge. The first parsonage was at the corner of Lincoln and 3rd West. In 1947 or 1948, under the direction of Rev. Ketterling, members built an addition to the church building. Added were the Sunday school classroom, the parlor, the annex, restrooms and a kitchen. Rev. Rhinhold Opp came to serve in 1953. He served until 1960. Under his guidance another addition was added in 1958. Sunday school classrooms were added to the west side of the annex, and the kitchen was enlarged. Rev. Edwin Huber came in 1960 and served until 1966. The building was bricked during his tenure. Rev. Emil Hansen came in 1967 and his time with us was cut short when he went to be with the Lord in May of 1968. Daniel Busch, a Theology student from Yankton, came to Pastor until Rev. Raymond Milligan arrived in 1969 and served until October 1970. Pastor Ted Meter arrived in early 1971 and served until July of 1978. Pastor Larry Medcalfe and Rev. Kaurin filled the pulpit until Pastor Vince Frank, with his wife Marsha and family by his side, came to us in July of 1979. In 1982, another addition was built onto the south portion of the building: the Pastor’s office, classrooms, a nursery and more restrooms were added. The Parsonage was also covered with siding and some new windows were installed. Pastor Frank stayed as pastor of the Paul Congregational Church until November 2008 when the Lord took him home after serving nearly 30 years. The church was again without a pastor until January 2010, when Pastor Mark Browne was hired as an interim pastor. He stayed until September of that year, when Pastor Brandon Wallace, and his wife Zanna, accepted the call to pastor the church. He left in November 2014. The church pulpit was then filled by our men and visiting pastors until Pastor John Downs and his wife Misty and five daughters arrived in May 2016. Pastor John Downs is now currently serving as pastor of the Paul (Ebenezer) Congregational Church.
THE CROSSROADS BIBLE CHURCH
By 1983, the membership and attendance under the leadership and direction of Pastor Vince Frank had grown to require two services each Sunday. It was then that the congregation elected to build a “Sister Church” in Burley. Pastor Larry Pilkington and family came to assist at our church until the Burley Church could be organized. A core group of 15 families from the Paul Church ventured out to become “The Congregational Bible Church of Burley.” Their first official meeting was held on January 8, 1984 in the Soroptomists Building in Burley and it was on this day that 34 people became charter members. Two weeks later they moved to the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Heyburn, where they met until moving into their own church building. Their new building, located on the corner of Park and 16th in Burley, was built by members of both churches. The Congregational Bible Church of Burley held their dedication service at their permanent site on July 24,1988. Pastor Pilkington served the new Burley church until January of 1989. Pastor Ben Orchard and family came to lead in the fall of 1989 and served until July 1994. Pastor Brian Livermore and family arrived in December 1994 and are still current serving. On March 12th, 2006 they officially became the “Crossroads Bible Church.”
OUR CHURCH – THEN AND NOW
When the doors first opened in 1937, there was Sunday School, worship service, choir, Sunday afternoon and Wednesday night prayer meetings, Sunday night Christian Endeavor (CE) Service, confirmation on Palm Sunday and Mission Fest (Mission Fest was always a big event). Later came “The Ladies Aide.” The older women of the church met for fellowship, sewing and quilting. Later came “The Friendly Service Circle (F.S.C)” which was comprised of the younger women of the Church. There were also Sunday School picnics at Minidoka Dam and all-church picnics in the South Hills. After the addition of the annex and the kitchen, the F.S.C. held dinners were held as fundraisers. Prayer meetings, The Ladies Aide, F.S.C. and C.E. are now part of our past, but were replaced by Bible studies and the Church Women’s Organization, which includes all women of the church. Our last Confirmation Class was held in 1986. The men, both younger and older, have had baseball and basketball teams over the years. We currently have Sunday School classes for all ages, worship services, Bible studies, men’s breakfast prayer meetings, weekly youth group and monthly Women’s Organization meetings.
In 1963, a particularly noteworthy event occurred. The men of the church decided to hold a German sausage supper to finance the building fund. Initially, only a few hundred pounds of sausage were made at the church then, but has since grown into making 4,000 pounds of sausage each year at a local meat processing plant that is sold and served at the dinner every January. However, the labor is still provided by the men of the church and the German sausage suppers continue after 59 years with the proceeds going to “The Special Funds Treasury.” These funds are routinely used for church maintenance.