Virginia Dale Community Church
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Est. 1880

Church History

The Church was first built as a Union Church west of its present location in 1880 near what was the home of Daniel Heckart.  In 1881 it was dedicated as a Methodist Church.  In 1884 the church building was moved during a feud among the congregation in the middle of the night to its present site on Fred Christman’s ranch on Deadman creek.  The logs were covered with clapboards and painted white and a small steeple was added at that time.  In 1889 the Methodists abandoned the church and for three years no services were held.  In 1893 Reverend Franklin Moore took charge of the church and a Presbyterian church was organized, he continued as the Reverend until the early 1900’s (somewhere around 1913).  There is also record of a Reverend W.H. Schurman who sponsored Bible Study and Sunday school, meeting in private homes and the schoolhouse.  Also, a Reverend Straight and Reverend Hall were ministers here in the 1900’s.  The church continued as a Presbyterian church for several years until it became non-denominational.  Others who ministered here for shorter periods of time approximately 1913 to 1938 were Reverend Cecil Bear, Reverend Cfichton, Reverend Parsons, Reverend Milnus, Reverend Young, Reverend Reiser, Reverend Holliars, Reverend Heineke and Reverend Elmer Parker.  Reverend Marcus Grether and Reverend Herb Grether conducted services in the early 1950’s followed by Reverend Donald Watkins, with Mountain Missions, then Reverend Phil Dunford, Reverend Daniel Arensmeier, and Reverend Tim Arensmeier, Pastor Steve Ratzlaff, Pastor Ken Hall and Pastor Richard Groh.  The Church also took great pride in ordaining its own ministers Pastor Bob Spence and Pastor Paul Matosky.  The church is blessed to have Pastor Rex Russell as the current pastor.   The Congregation recently decided to have a full time minister and return to having weekly services.

A number of people have been baptized in the Church, in the earlier years of the church some insisted on immersion when Deadman Creek carried more water.  A cradle roll that dated back to the early 1920’s hung on the back wall of the church with the names of all the children that had been baptized, it was destroyed in the fire of November 2003, a picture of the original now hangs in its place.

The first burial in a cemetery was that of a soldier killed by Indians in the late 1860’s and buried near the Stage Station.  A prospector who was found shot on upper Deadman was buried in the 1870’s across from the Christman ranch buildings not far from the church, the third was that of a Mr. Berrie, who was shot in a quarrel about 1885.  The first three burials resulted from shootings.  It was long the boast of old timers that Virginia Dale was so healthful a place that in order to be an up to date community it was necessary to shoot a man to start a cemetery.

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Virginia Dale Community Church in 1879-1880.

Land was donated by Fred Christman.

Services were held to the best of our knowledge each Sunday morning up until the late 1940’s.  In the late 1950’s services were changed and held only once a month, and moved to evening services in order for the area ranchers to have adequate daylight to feed the cattle and take care of their stock. Services are now held every Sunday at 4 p.m.

The Church has been maintained and cared for by the congregation of the Virginia Dale Community.  The congregation has been as few as 4-6 in the 1970’s and as large as 60-70 in the 1940’s.  Our regular congregation now is about 25.

An arsonist fire destroyed the Church on the night of November 15, 2003.  With the help of close to 500 cash donors and area businesses who generously donated building supplies; countless hours spent by church members and volunteers who lent their skills and time a new Church was built to a replica of the old Church and services were held again March 14, 2004.  Just 4 months after the old Church burned.  Many thanks are due to everyone who helped to rebuild this beautiful church, there is no possible way to tell everyone how much we appreciated their help and what it meant to us.  The arsonist received a sentence of nine years for his crime.

The first service was a service filled with tears of joy for the blessing of a new church and tears of sadness for a loss of the beautiful old church that held so many memories of ancestry, good times and fellowship for all of us.  On April 4th, 2004, the first wedding was held in the new church. 

The church has been blessed by a charitable giving congregation that is more than willing to help neighbors here and around the world if the need arises.

As always each church service at the Virginia Dale Community Church is opened with a prayer and time of worship.

The church prior to the 2003 fire.

The church prior to the 2003 fire.

The rebuilt church in 2004.

The rebuilt church in 2004.

Established in 1880.

Established in 1880.

 
 

Beliefs

Statement of Faith

 

We are a Jesus following, Bible believing church, which means we believe that God’s message to man has been given in the Bible, and the most important person in the Bible is the Lord Jesus Christ. This means the message of God was given by God and is understandable for man. This involves a grammatical-historical interpretation; of a God breathed Bible, an inerrant, infallible, inspired Word of God; (1 Peter 1:19-21; 2 Timothy 3:14-17)

We believe that a triune Godhead ([the historical Christian doctrine of the Trinity] – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), He did create mankind and then reveal to him, over a period of time, His plan of bringing glory to Himself. He did this namely through creation of the universe, creation of mankind, and ultimately His plan of redemption for mankind. (Genesis 1-2; Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Revelation 11; John 3:16-21)

This redemption comes only through the shed blood, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Upon profession of faith in Him the lost are saved from their sins and indwelt with the Holy Spirit. From that day forward the believer learns to walk by the Spirit and live a fruitful life for God, following the example and teachings of Jesus as is clearly seen in scripture. (Philippians 2:5-11; 1 Peter 2:24-25; Luke 24; Ephesians 1:11-14; John 3:3; Galatians 5:16-26; Romans 12:1-2; John 14:15-31; John 15,16,17)

 
 
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Doctrines

God

God is a Spirit who has revealed himself as a Trinity in unity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit-three Persons and yet one God. He is the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth, inexpressibly glorious in holiness and worthy of all possible honor, confidence and love. (Deuteronomy 6:4Matthew 28:191 Corinthians 8:6Exodus 20:21 Corinthians 8:6Revelation 4:11 )

Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God, which is to say, He is Himself very God; He took upon Himself our nature, being conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin. Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is fully God and fully man possessing both deity and humanity united in one person, without division of the person or confusion of the two natures. He died upon the cross as a substitutionary sacrifice for the sin of the world. An individual receives the benefit of Christ’s substitutionary death by faith as the result of responding to the message of the gospel. Salvation is the free gift of God’s grace through faith alone, in Christ alone, therefore not dependent upon church membership, intermediaries, sacraments or works of righteousness to attain or sustain it. He arose from the dead in the body in which He was crucified; He ascended into heaven in that body glorified, where He is now our interceding High Priest; He will come again personally and visibly to set up his Kingdom and to judge the quick and the dead. This refers to the premillennial return of Christ at which time He will set up His millennial reign, during which time He will fulfill His promises to Israel. (Colossians 1:5Philippians 2:5-8Matthew 1:18-251 Peter 2:24-25; Luke 24; Hebrews 4:14-16Matthew 25: 31-46Revelation 11:15-1720:4-611-15)

Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is a divine person, equal with God the Father and God the Son and of the same nature; He was active in the creation; In His relation to the unbelieving world He restrains the evil one until God’s purpose is fulfilled. He convicts of sin, of righteousness and of judgment; He bears witness to the truth of the gospel in preaching and testimony; He is the agent in the new birth; He seals, bestows gifts, guides, teaches, witnesses, sanctifies and helps the believer. (Genesis 1:1-3Matthew 28:19John 14:16172616:8-11Hebrews 9:14)

The Bible

The Bible, including both the Old and the new Testaments, is a divine revelation, the original autographs of which were verbally inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Bible is without error in all it affirms in the original autographs and is the only authoritative guide for faith and practice and as such must not be supplanted by any other fields of human learning. (2 Timothy 3:162 Peter 1:21)

Man

Man was created by God. This affirms that the first human beings were a special and unique creation by God as contrasted to being derived from any pre-existing life forms. Further, God created everything “after its kind”, which excludes any position that allows for any evolutionary process between kinds. We believe the Genesis account of creation as being neither allegory nor myth but a literal, historical account of the direct, immediate, creative acts of God over six literal days. Man was created in the image of God but chose to sin, and, in that sense, is lost; this is true of all men, and except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God; salvation is by grace through faith in Christ who His own self bore our sins in His own body on the tree; the retribution of the wicked and unbelieving and the rewards of the righteous are everlasting, and as the reward is conscious, so is the retribution. This statement excludes any position which asserts a temporary or complete cessation of consciousness, or merging with eternal oneness, or annihilation of the damned, or a “second chance” or a period of suffering or purification in preparation for entrance into the presence of God. (Genesis 1-2; John 1:3Colossians 1:16,17Romans 3:1023John 3:3Acts 2:38-39)

Church

The Church of Jesus Christ is a distinct entity from Israel in the ongoing program of God. Further, this universal Church consists of all who possess saving faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ from Pentecost to the Rapture of the church and which will represent every language, people and nation. The Church is an elect company of believers baptized by the Holy Spirit into one body; its mission is to witness concerning its Head, Jesus Christ, preaching the gospel among all nations; it will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air before He appears to set up His kingdom. Christ will return in the air preceding the seven-year Tribulation at which time He will receive into heaven all believers who constitute His Church. During that tribulation period God will bring salvation to Israel and the nations while exercising judgment on unbelievers. (Acts 2:4115:13-17Ephesians 1:3-61 Corinthians 12:12-13Matthew 28:19-20Acts 1:6-81 Corinthians 4:16-18) The Church is manifested through the local church which is a congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant of faith and fellowship of the gospel. The two offices of the church are Pastors and Deacons, whose qualifications, claims and duties are clearly defined in the Scripture. The Church observes two ordinances given by Christ to the Church. The first ordinance is believers’ baptism by immersion in water, under the authority of the local church, to identify with the crucified, buried and risen Savior, through whom we died to sin and rose to a new life. The second ordinance is the Lord’s Supper, which is the commemoration and proclamation of His death until He comes and should be preceded always by solemn self-examination. The elements themselves represent the body and blood of the Savior in symbol only. There is neither common nor efficacious grace extended to the recipient of these ordinances. (Matthew 3:1628:19-20John 3:231 Timothy 3:1-7Acts 2:41-428:363839Romans 6:3-61 Corinthians 11: 23-28Colossians 2:12)