by Dennis Dalman
A church whose congregation first met in a one-room Sartell schoolhouse is about to celebrate its 125th anniversary Sunday, Oct. 22.
Riverside Evangelical Church will hold a worship service at 10 a.m. Oct. 22. At 11:15 a.m. the congregation and guests will head outside to the site of the church’s new bell tower for a dedication ceremony, then return to the church for treats. Anyone in the community is welcome to attend the service.
The previous bell tower had structural damage so a new one was built. The original bell will be installed in the new tower in the near future.
“We don’t have much in the way of festivities planned, but it’s a nice moment for our church to remember how God has taken care of us over the past 125 years,” Riverside Pastor Isaac Gould told the Newsleaders.
Once upon a time, way back in 1898, there was a one-room schoolhouse on a hill in Sartell in the area by the current Sartell bridge on land in the area where the Kwik Trip and Holiday gas stations are now. In that year, 1898, the Church of Sartell was organized as a Sunday school under oversight of the St. Cloud Presbytery and in that schoolhouse worship services began.
The church was officially incorporated in 1908 with 28 charter members.
In 1909, the current church building was constructed on Riverside Avenue N., and later additions were added to accommodate a growing congregation, Christian education programs and fellowship meals.
In 1962, the name of the church was changed to Riverside Presbyterian Church. In 2006, the church voted to begin an affiliation with the international Evangelical Presbyterian Church, and at that time its name was changed again to Riverside Evangelical Church.
The church’s credo is solidly founded on the Bible as its sole authority, with emphasis on the gospel teachings of Jesus Christ. The church offers a children’s program for ages 1-3 during church services and a “cry room” where parents can bring babies and toddlers. There are also youth groups, small groups, men’s ministries and women’s ministries. The congregation includes people of all age groups. Worship services begin at 10 a.m. every Sunday with children’s Sunday school beginning at 11:20 a.m.
New members are always welcome. To find out more, google “Sartell Evangelical Church.”
Pastor Issac Gould was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio and studied at the Moody Bible Institute and Cordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He has lived in Washington, Maryland and Central Asia. He and wife Christy have six children. Christy directs the musical moments of the worship services.
Gould has been the pastor at “Riverside” since 2015.
“When I first came to Riverside,” Gould wrote, “I found a church where people would spend the better part of an hour after the service talking, catching up and sharing life together. There is a real sense of family in this congregation, and I pray that everyone who visits discovers this. We are also a church that cares deeply about the truth. The shifting winds of culture, fashion and opinion have nothing on the enduring riches of God’s Word, the Bible. Everything we do is rooted in the firm foundation of Scripture, and that rock-solid footing has kept this church faithful for 125 years.”