Fourth Memorial Church - History
On April 3, 1902, a small group of believers with a vision for establishing a new church began meeting at Spokane's Webster School, once located at Sharp Avenue and Dakota Street on the Gonzaga University campus. God began answering their prayers very quickly, and on November 1, 1902, two lots on the corner of Baldwin Avenue and Dakota Street were purchased for $600. Just one month later, the church building was completed. In January 1903, Fourth Presbyterian Church was officially incorporated with 61 founding members. Dr. S. M. Ware (1903-1912) was extended a call and became the first pastor.
Between 1913 and 1927, the church continued to develop under the leadership of several pastors: Rev. Charles R. Scafe (1913-1919), Rev. John D. Habbeck (1919-1920), Rev. Dwight Chapin (1920-1927).
In 1925, a new addition was dedicated, which included the gym, kitchen, Fellowship Hall (Room 2006/East Wing), Fireside Room (Uhden Overflow, Room 2110/East Wing), the old Sanctuary (Uhden Chapel, Room 2109/East Wing), and
Balcony (Room 2203/East Wing).
Between 1927 and 1941, God was gracious to provide faithful leadership with men such as:
Rev. Stanley Roberts (1927-1931)
Rev. W. J. Howell (1931-1933)
Rev. Andrew Caldwell (1933-1935)
Rev. Wilbur Scafe (1935-1941)
Rev. Wilbur Scafe was a young pastor and with his strong youth emphasis, Fourth Presbyterian Church soon had the choir loft filled with young people on Sunday evenings.
God continued to bless Fourth Presbyterian Church through the ministries of Dr. Edwin Deibler (1941-1950) and Rev. Wilbur Antisdale (1951-1961). Highlights during this period included the 50th anniversary celebration in 1952, the beginning of a Sunday morning radio ministry on KGA, (KCFA now KMBI) and the building of a new educational wing (East Wing). In 1957, the long process of withdrawal began from the Presbytery U.S.A. to become an independent Bible-teaching ministry. In 1959, the name was finally changed to Fourth Memorial Church [FMC] “A Living Memorial to the Faith of our Fathers.”
God also graciously provided 63 acres of wooded waterfront property on the Pend Oreille River for only $22,000 in 1959. The former ex-tavern and dance hall site became Riverview Bible Camp.
Under Rev. Edward J. Underhill’s leadership (1961-1989), the next three decades saw increasing area-wide leadership. By 1964, two Sunday morning services were needed, and a second Christian Education building (West Wing) was dedicated in 1969. Within a few years, we were out of space again and the leadership decided the best way to grow would be to establish a sister church. With the help of four of FMC’s Elders, Valley Fourth Memorial (2303 South Bowdish Road, Spokane Valley) was started on September 24, 1972 with 235 in attendance.
• Inland Empire School of the Bible (1972—1988), in association with Multnomah School of the Bible, began using FMC’s facilities
• Spokane Bible College (1989—1993)
• Moody Northwest (1993—2006)
A distance learning department of Moody
• Moody Bible Institute-Spokane [MBI]
(2006—2018) a full-fledged branch campus of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago
• Great Northern University (2018—current)
On April 27, 1976, a second sister church, Northview Bible Church (13521 North Mill Road, Spokane), was established on Spokane’s north side under the leadership of four more of FMC’s Elders.
Following Pastor Ed Underhill’s twenty-eight-year ministry was Rev. Chris Mueller (1989-1992). FMC continued to grow as the Word was faithfully taught, but because of philosophical and doctrinal issues, the church underwent a difficult split in September 1992. God does work all things together for good to those who love Him even in spite of our differences. This experience has allowed us not only the privilege of experiencing God’s healing, but has benefited Spokane with another evangelical church - Faith Bible Church .
God, in His faithfulness, sent Rev. John S. Repsold to be our senior pastor in 1993 (1993-2007) . Under his capable leadership, FMC saw the expansion of its ministries locally and globally, the dedication of a new Worship Center (1993), the celebration of our Centennial year (2003), and the reconciliation with Faith Bible Church (2004).
In March 2009, we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Riverview Bible Camp. We called missionary Neil W. Anderson to serve as pastor (2009-2012). Pastor Neil Anderson was instrumental in bringing health and healing to the body of FMC. God also used him to call his successor.
In December 2012, the Lord brought Dr. Keith Krell (2012-2018) to serve as our senior pastor. Pastor Krell also served as an Associate Professor at MBI. His desire was to further facilitate a greater partnership between FMC and MBI.
In the summer of 2016, under his leadership, the Lord graciously provided the funds to fully remodel the first floor of the West Wing, which is now the Children’s Ministry wing. This provided better security for the next generation of children (Ages 4—Grade 6), and brought them together in one location.
In the summer of 2017, the Lord provided funds to remodel the 20+ year old Foyer/Gathering Place area in the North Wing. The Lord provided funds over and above what was expected.
In the summer of 2018, MBI closed their Spokane campus. Through much work and dedication from past MBI professors and administrators, Great Northern University (GNU) was born.
Also in the fall of 2018, Spokane Classical Christian School (SCCS) grades 6-12, moved into the West Wing of FMC. It is wonderful to see how God has faithfully used this facility for the furtherance of His plan.
In October 2018, Pastor Keith Krell was called to the west side of the state and in March 2019, Scott Liddell became FMC’s Senior Pastor.
As most of you remember, 2020 was a year of Covid-19. There were many obstacles to overcome as this pandemic spread throughout the whole world, but we continue to look forward to seeing what God has planned for FMC in 2021 and in the future. Remember, He is always faithful.