THE WINDOW By Rev. Benjamin L. Owre

Pastor: 1964-1967

In June of 2002 I received an interesting letter. It was from a Church to which we had been appointed from 1964 until 1967. It noted that we were invited to participate in a Dedication of the first stained grass window of the Covenant Methodist Church in Reedsport. This work, in honor of a prominent layman was created locally. It pictured Jesus on the beach urging the fishermen to cast their nets on the opposite side of the boat in order to make a full catch. It is a truly beautiful work of glass art.

What is truly remarkable in that small congregation is the witness it portrays, from the planning to the completion of the church. It was not easy. Hard times, a major flood, opposition to moving from Gardiner to Reedsport gave some real challenges, but the resolve of the members kept the vision alive and this celebration of the window. was a part of that same resolve.

How I remember that Church. I really loved it! On a Sunday morning as I was in the chancel, I could see the fir trees through a window in the peak of the back of the Church. They were always inspiring. The old Church had an illustrious history. Beginning in the 1840's Jason Lee, an early Missionary began Methodist work on the north shore at the mouth of the Umpqua River. The old Church, the third, was built in 1904. It stood at the foot of a Coast Range hill, and the springs from the hills caused the ground to be damp most of the time. In 1962 the Columbus Day storm caused major damage and serious discussions about moving began. In 1964 a major flood carried away the steps and a porch to the building. In addition, a sawmill just across the street had a wigwam burner that smouldered on the weekends and a paper mill was 1/4 of a mile a way. It took real devotion to be a steady parishioner.

Land was acquired in Reedsport and in due time construction began. It included a ground breaking in a driving rainstorm. The night that we moved into the new Church, (nothing was new, everything we had came from Gardiner. There was no money to buy anything at first). When the moving was completed, a hymnfest went until the wee small hours. The following day, in bright sunshine, and before a packed house, the Bishop Consecrated the Church. How glorious it was to be in our new house of the Lord!

The window is much more than a piece of religious art. It is a testimony of strength, devotion and witness found in a group of determined Christians to proclaim the glory and the vitality of their mission. That window and other works of art in many forms will nourish the sole of many in the generations to come!

A personal note: A complete surprise was mine when my daughter and her husband a long with their two daughters came from Portland to be a part of this service. My two grand daughters, then 9 and 11 were the Acolytes!

A bulletin for the rainy groundbreaking and for the Consecration service of the Bishop and the letter of invitation are included in this writing.

Christ, whose Glory fills the skies...

Christ, the true, the only Light...

(Charles Wesley)

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Webmaster Jim Ives, Dated 5/23/2003