A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CROSS CHURCH
The church was organized on March 24,1932. There were about 30 people who came out of First Baptist Church (American Baptist USA) at 515 E. Yakima Ave to form Bethel Baptist. Some of the names of this group are Mr. & Mrs. John Knight, Mr. & Mrs. Garret(Faye) and girls, Arlene, Edith & Stella, Mr. & Mrs. Arnold Anderson, Mr. & Mrs. C. B. Lionberger, Mr. & Mrs. C. B. Turneaure, Mr. & Mrs. Elta Christopherson, Mr & Mrs. D. Richburg, Mr. & Mrs. Lloyd Salverda and girls, Don Moren, Miss Martha Nystron and S. B. Moren.
That first year the Bethel Baptist Church rented a log cabin at the Yakima Fair Grounds where they held their services. Their first Pastor was Walter J. Mead. Pastor Mead passed away June 2, 1933 leaving the church without a Pastor until October when Pastor Robert Gray took over. The cabin was destroyed by fire October 7, 1933 leaving the church without a building.
A lot at 1302 S. 8th St. was purchased in December 1933 and construction of a building began. The Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church is now at that address. When Pastor Gray resigned in 1938 the church called J. Frank Estep who came in October of that year. Pastor Estep stayed until June, 1943.
C. Ervin Boyle became pastor September 1, 1943 and with his encouragement the church became part of the Southern Baptist work beginning in the Northwest. Since its beginning Bethel was an independent church with no denominational ties. Bethel was among the 15 churches to form the Northwest Baptist Convention in 1948. Boyle resigned May 4, 1949 to join as one of the staff at the Northwest Baptist Convention in Portland.
In 1949 the Church moved to the corner of 6th and Chestnut (16 So. 6th Ave.) It had formerly been a Lutheran Church. The pastor then was William T. Bratton. About this time the name of the Church was changed to First Southern Baptist Church. Washington state began to divide up into different associations and First Southern became part of the Columbia Basin Association in 1950. Later the Church became part of the Yakima Valley Baptist Association in 1959. Today it is called the Central Washington Baptist Association.
First Southern throughout her history has been a mission minded Church. She led in the sponsoring and developing of a number of missions, many of which grew into churches. Among these are; Wapato, Packwood, Quincy, Union Gap Baptist in 1956, Terrace Heights in 1956, Granger in 1956, Tieton Baptist in 1957, Chestnut Street in Ellensburg in 1964, and Summitview Baptist in 1971.
The Church building on the corner of 6th and Chestnut was sold in 1995. Another building was purchased at 1019 Cornell Ave. This was done when Johnny Lay was pastor. Johnny Lay left in September, 1996. There was no full time Pastor from September 1996 till December 1997. Dr. Paul Clark became the Pastor in December 1997.
On June 12, 2004 the Church voted to change the name to "The Cross Church, SBC". Dr. Clark left in September 2007. Jeff White became the interim Pastor from 2007 till January 2009. Meanwhile Don Carpenter was interim Pastor at Summitview Baptist from 2007 - 2009.
To understand what will be happening next is to tell a little about Summitview Baptist church’s history. First Southern started Summitview as a mission in 1961. A new building for the mission was completed in 1965. Their first meeting was held on June 6, 1965. Summitview Baptist was constituted as a church September 26, 1971. Dean Melling was the first Pastor leaving in 1972. Gary Hambright was interim from August, 1972 until August 1973. The next 3 Pastors were Thurston Rock 1974-1977, Don Porter 1977-1992 and Alan Daws 1993-2007.
In October of 2008, The Cross Church and Summitview Baptist merged into one, kept the name of The Cross Church, and began meeting at the property on Summitview Avenue. Pastor Carpenter continued as transitional pastor until Brandon Reynolds was called in July, 2009.
In March of 2010 ground was broken to begin the construction of the new education wing. The dedication for the new wing was May 22, 2011 with a potluck. Afterwards prayer walking took place through the new classrooms.
Brandon stayed until September of 2012 and then Jeff White became interim Pastor again until July 27, 2014 when Dan Hager became the Pastor. He, his wife Ahnah, and son Caden came to us from Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
A major change in the church government came about in September 2019. By a near unanimous vote, the congregation changed the bylaws to shift from a congregationally-led body to an elder-led church. With this change, the church leadership consists of a team of pastors/elders in which all pastors are coequal. No single pastor has any more or any less authority than the others. The concept of a senior pastor and hierarchical structure no longer applies to The Cross Church.
Pastors from 1932 to Present:
Walter Mead: 1932-1933
Robert Gray: 1933-1938
J. Frank Estep: 1938-1943
C. E. Boyle; 1943 -1949
William T. Bratton; 1949 -1955
Elma Mundy 1955-1956
William T. Bratton; 1957 -1959
Lloyd Garrison; 1960 - 1967
J. A. Jorgenson; 1967-1971
Edward Shugart; 1971 -1978
Robert Y. Kerby; 1978 -1988
Johnny Lay; Sept. 1988 - Sept. 1996
Dr. Paul Clark; Dec. 1997 - Sept. 2007
Jeff White; Interim Pastor - Sept. 07-08
Don Carpenter (Transitional pastor); 2008- June 2009
Brandon Reynolds; July 2009-Sept. 2012
Jeff White; interim pastor; Oct. 2012 to July 2014
Dan Hager; July 27, 2014 to present
Michael Maloney; September 2017 to present
Joel Hede; September 2019 to present
Bill Davis; August 2020 to present
COMPILED AND REVISED BY Hilda Mitts in 2017; UPDATED in 2022