Idaho Falls Seventh-day Adventist Church

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The Idaho Falls Seventh-Day Adventist Church has a history dating back to 1886, preceding Idaho statehood and the establishment of Idaho Falls as a city.

In 1886, Olive Eldora Johnson of Seattle, WA came with Bible studies to Eagle Rock. In 1888, Dr. Grant Wallace Pendleton, a graduate of the Medical College of the University of Denver, relocated to the Eagle Rock area and set up practice in the Pendleton Building in downtown Eagle Rock. With the bible studies given by Miss Johnson, the love for the Lord and the Adventist message led to the conversion of Dr. Pendleton. Miss Johnson and Dr. Pendleton were married on December 18, 1896. Mrs. Pendleton continued to influence the area, as she held Bible studies and ran a church school in her home.

In 1922, Elders F. D. Wagner and C. H. Rittenhouse held meetings in Idaho Falls, resulting in additional church growth. The first converts were Mr. and Mrs. Dixon, who served the church until their deaths.

An officially organized group began consistently meeting in the Pendleton Building, starting in 1927. This group comprised 10 dedicated members at that time. Earl Osborne was the first elder followed by John Isaacson, Fred Porter, and Forrest Pendleton. Unfortunately due to a decline in membership this early church dissolved.

Reorganization occurred when evangelistic meetings given by Elders E. L. Neff, G. S. Belleau, and R. J. Kegley were held in the area in 1940. The congregation included 44 members at that time, with Mr. L. E. Ladd as Elder.

The original church building was a small schoolhouse which was purchased and moved to 1260 Lake Ave., on the corner of Lake Street and J. Street. The building is still there and is now the New Life Family Worship Center (Church of God). But, in 1962, with continued church growth, plans were set into motion for the procurement of a new site. Among several other possible locations, the present site at 800 Westhill Avenue was selected. The original land purchase consisted of a 2.42 acre plot; however in 1963 this was increased with the purchase of an additional 3.01 acres bringing the total to 5.43 acres. The reason for the additional purchase was to provide sufficient land for the eventual construction of a church school. A portion of this land was later sold to the Mormon Church to allow for a construction of an LDS Seminary adjacent to Eagle Rock Junior High on Pancheri Road.

Building plans by Idaho Falls architect Lawrence E. Matson were submitted to the Idaho Conference in 1964, for the construction of the present church building. The builder chosen for the church project was Ray Maas, the builder of the Pocatello Church.

Between 1964 and 1976 fundraising continued, and with its completion, the dedication service for Idaho Falls Church was on May 1, 1976. The pastor at that time was James C. Parmele.

The church school originally met in the church basement. School building plans drafted by Probart, Gowland, and Johanson Architects of Payette, Idaho were submitted to the conference in 1984 and school construction began. The school was completed in 1986. Idaho Falls Adventist School has seen fluctuating enrollment resulting in closures and re-openings in the recent past.

Recent church renovations have included the both the sanctuary and ground floor and basement. In 1996, church members, with the help of volunteers from Maranatha Volunteers International, completed the renovation of the upstairs. The basement renovation was completed between the fall of 2001 and spring of 2002.

The membership of the local congregation has fluctuated in number over the years, but recent growth has occurred with the planting of groups in Blackfoot, Teton Valley, and western Wyoming. In early 2010 the Teton Valley and western Wyoming groups moved forward with plans to organize as church companies, leading to their establishment as churches separate from the Idaho Falls church. Significant growth in the Spanish group has also led them to seek separate organization as a church company; however, for the time being they are continuing to meet in the Idaho Falls church.