The History of Barron
The work of the “Foursquare Gospel” began in Barron the last week of June, 1930, when Miss Anna Kleist and Marcella LaMar started holding cottage prayer meetings, jail services, visiting the County Farm and the hospital. For a period of time services were held in the Lodge Hall on the corner of LaSalle and 6th Street which was above the feed store at that time.
The first four years of our baby church were a bit rocky. From 1930-34 our church cycled through 7 different pastors. Even during this tumultuous time, our gatherings that started in various places around town and in tents, settled in a small, simple tabernacle. The building project started in September of 1932 and was finished sufficiently to move into by November. It was a frame building with sheet iron siding, sawdust floors and wooden benches. This made for some interesting, cold mid-winter worship services, but God was doing something great in our family, adding to our numbers, even as the church was searching for a long-term pastor.
Their prayers were answered in May of 1934. Rev. and Mrs. Fred E. Clements with their two daughters Annie and Cora arrived to pastor this new church. And over the next seventeen years the church grew and prospered and became a well-established Gospel Church. The church building underwent many improvements, as well as adding a new parsonage next door. A cement floor was put in the tabernacle with a baptistery put under the platform. The walls and ceiling were sealed and new windows were installed along with new lighting and a new heating system. Seats were purchased from the Barron Theater and were bolted to the floor!
A typical Sunday would start at 10 am with Sunday School followed by an 11 am service and an8 pm evangelistic meeting. There were other various groups and meetings scheduled throughout the week. In 1948, a radio broadcast over W.J.M.C. was started by the youth and radio choir which aired every Sunday after the evening service.
Rev. Clements resigned as pastor in 1951. The church found their next longstanding pastor in Rev. Johnston. It was under his leadership that the current building, “a new modern sanctuary” was built. The new church building was begun in 1954 and the completed building was dedicated on Sunday May 29, 1955.
The new church was built with modern design that at the time was said to be entirely fireproof. Besides being built of near indestructible construction, the interior was built comfortably modern. New amenities included modern restrooms, a nice church office with built-in book cases, a modern kitchen and an annex with tiled floors. A new baptistery with heating elements built-in was also installed under the platform in the sanctuary. Most of the work was done by the people of the church and the self-sacrificing efforts of Pastor Johnston who gave himself tirelessly to the work.
From 1959 until 1972 the church saw more changes in the building. This included new pews, a brand new grand piano, a new Hammond organ and a lighted bulletin board! Six different families served as pastors in this time.
In December of 1972 Rev. and Mrs. Henry Boynton, with their children moved into the parsonage and assumed the duty of pastor. Pastor Boynton brought a renewed vision of progress and a spirit of labor to the church. And in March of 1974 a new parsonage was started on Taylor Avenue and by the fall of 1975 a new split-level parsonage was ready for the pastor’s family to move into.
In the summer of 1978 after much consideration and prayer it was decided to open a Christian Day School. GLCA continued to educate and minister to our surrounding community until 2013.
In July, 1981 Rev. and Mrs. Wayne Espeseth and children began as pastors of Barron Foursquare. During Pastor Wayne’s years the church experienced tremendous growth. The church and school had been steadily growing through the 1980’s and into the 1990’s. In the mid-90’s it was determined that the church needed to expand it’s current building. And in 1996 a brand-new edition was dedicated with a large kitchen, fellowship hall, numerous new classrooms and more restrooms. In 2010, another great project was underway. The 1955 “modern sanctuary” was replaced by a 2010 version. This included new carpet, seating, audio and video equipment and a overhaul of the baptismal.
Pastor Wayne and Janet resigned in the fall of 2012 and continue to be an active support to the church. Rev. and Mrs. Chad Halverson and their family assumed leadership in October 2012.
We are thankful for all the members of our church family past and present. Our story is ever changing and developing. Some of our church family have moved away, new members have been added and others have gone to be with the Lord through these past 87 years. Many things change. The Hammond organ is gone. The lighted bulletin board and pews are no more. The praise songbooks and hymnals have been replaced by HD televisions. The lighting is different and we have air conditioning! We celebrate the great work that God started here in 1930 and we are reminded every Sunday as we look at the verse above the platform that some things never change. Because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever! (Hebrews 13:8)