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Calapooia Free Methodists Celebrate 100th Anniversary

Sutherlin's Calapooia Free Methodist Church was established in Douglas County, Ore., in the summer of 1918 following revival meetings. The first pastor was the Rev. Ernest Lee; however it was Sylvanus Payne White, a Civil War Veteran, who promoted the idea of its establishment for 20 years.

White spent time praying on a hillside behind his home for a church for his family and the people in the area to worship in. This was his routine for about 20 years, but he died in 1918 at age 91, short of seeing the answer to his prayers.

For many years, the congregation met in orchard groves, a preacher's shack, or in the home of Ezra and Nellie Baird.  In 1932 the people paid $100 for a church built in 1906 and known today as the Calapooia Country Church, located in the Stephens Community Historic District west of Sutherlin on Scott Henry Road. The congregation moved into a new building constructed in 1966 about four miles to the east, at 333 Church Road.  The 29th and current pastor is the Rev. Stewart Fowler who came in 1993.

Plans are underway for a 100th anniversary celebration this year.

Sources: Sources: Lee, Martha, Dick Baird, and Bev Baird. Our Beginnings. Sutherlin, Ore., Calapooia Free Methodist Church, 1999; Baker, Ida. "Sylvanus Payne White." Find A Grave, 1 Oct. 2004, https://findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSvcid=172896&GRid=9537968&. Accessed 26 Feb. 2017; https://www.facebook.com/pg/CalapooiaCommunityChurchAndLadiesClub/about/?ref=page_internal. Accessed 26 Feb. 2017; "The Calapooia Free Methodist Church." Calapooia Free Methodist Church, www.calapooiafmc.org/index.php/the-church. Accessed 26 Feb. 2017; "File:Calapooia Church - Sutherlin Oregon.jpg." Wikipedia Commons, 23 Nov. 2016, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Calapooia_Church_-_Sutherlin_Oregon.jpg. Accessed 26 Feb. 2017

Emily Blakely has published poetry and prose, and frequently displayed framed works at the Umpqua Valley Arts Center as well as restaurants and libraries in the area. Researching local history has become one of her favorite pastimes.