As early as 1860 Wasco and Klickitat counties were part of the Walla Walla District served by a Methodist circuit minister, W.D. Nichols. The Methodist Episcopal Church built in Wasco under the charge of Rev. Frank R. Spaulding in 1883 was the first church built in the county. That building was moved S across the street and the present church was erected in 1902.
From 1872 to 1900, pastors named in the circuit records for the area Columbia River S to Antelope include: J.H. Adams, J.W. Helm, R. Barrett, Frank R. Spaulding, Thomas Starns, W.H. Marks, T.V. Atkinson, M.R. Brown, J.M. Denison, C.H. Miller, G.H. White, George E. Rawlins, Joseph Piggott, John Evans, E.C. Alford, Ed Baker, R.C. Moler, C.D. Nichelsen, F.L. Johns, Charles Elrey and Robert Warner. Lizzie McNeil was the first, maybe only, missionary sent to Africa by the Wasco M.E. Church, returning a few years later with an African girl, Diana, who graduated from an American college and returned to Africa where she was an active Christian worker.
~ J.A. Elder, WN, 27 July 1928; Kaseberg, Gleanings of the History of Sherman County Methodists, 1977; SC: FTR; Anne C. Fletcher, 1980; Gertrude, Ivalou & Esther Peugh.
Wasco M.E. Church Celebrates 75 Years
~ Sherman County Journal c. 1958
The Wasco Methodist church celebrated its 75 anniversary August 10 with about 95 people attending services. The church history was given by Mrs. V’leda Van Gaasbeck and Mrs. Harry Van Gilder. The church was organized in 1883 and James Helm was the first pastor. Rev. Barrett was here when the first parsonage was built and it is still standing behind the present parsonage. The work on it was done mostly by members of the church and Mrs. Barrett, the minister’s wife, helped with the shingling. Rev. Frank Spaulding worked hard in the church and was sent to Brazil for several years as a missionary. When he came back to Wasco he started a church at Monkland [“lined out” and “Spaulding Chapel” written in].
The Epworth League was started by Rev. Rawlins, later called the Methodist Youth Fellowship.
The present parsonage was built when Rev. F. R. Jackson was pastor. During the depression Rev. Walter Warner received the large sum of $200 for his entire year’s work. Miss Vivian Trounce started the Christmas bazaar which has continued to the present time. Rev. Cookingham was in charge here when a fire in the church necessitated the changing of the position of the basement stairway.
Rev. Fletcher Cannell was here longer than any other minister, and during his time there was a large choir of high school pupils led by Mrs. Ormond Hilderbrand. The MYF was a strong organization and the girls’ organization, The Standard Bearers, was organized and lasted until 1954, when it was disbanded because of the lack of a leader.
In 1948 when Rev. Carl Stierle was pastor one delegate, Patricia Kaseberg, was sent to the Methodist conference at Cleveland, Ohio. An outstanding event of 1949 was the entertaining of the Portland District Youth Fellowship for two days.
Under Rev. Richard E. Bruner the new building program was carried out, with new Sunday school rooms added and the basement enlarged and modernized. Siding was put on the church and parsonage and a new entrance and front door made. For this the church was awarded first prize in the Annual Town and Country Church Improvement project for 1955.
Guest speaker for the anniversary celebration was Rev. Ernie Wilson, the new district superintendent whose theme was “We Build for Eternity.” The church choir sang “Bless This House” and Mrs. Tom Moore sang “My Cathedral” accompanied by Miss Carmen Royse. During the service the southwest corner classroom was dedicated to the memory of Olive Robinson, beloved teacher and friend of all in the church and community. The dedication came as a result of a memorial fund given by her friends and loved ones to the church building program in the past few years.
(Olive Robinson died in 1952.)