The History of Sellwood Baptist Church


~ Beginnings ~

On March 20th, 1904, seven committed Christians met to form Bethany Baptist Church. It was their desire to be a testimony to the glory of Christ made known in the gospel and to make disciples of Jesus in the Sellwood neighborhood of Portland, OR.  On the very next Sunday they had their first baptism service, baptizing Miss May Mullen. As the church was active in making disciples of Jesus Christ, it continued to grow. By 1911 the church grew to 50 active members, and by 1925 the church grew to 110 active members. In 1922, the church changed its name to Sellwood Baptist Church to reflect its identity as a neighborhood church. 

                                          original charter, 1904

                                      original church covenant, 1904

 

~ A Meeting House ~

For the first two years the church rented out rooms to hold their meetings. First they rented Campbell's Hall, a large bare room upstairs above the store on Umatilla Street. Then the church began renting a one-story building referred to as the "old gas house." However, in 1905 the congregation purchased the property on the corner of SE 11th and Tacoma for $350. On December 16, 1906, the church dedicated its first sanctuary.  In the early 50's the congregation began to outgrow its facilities, and the present large brick auditorium was constructed in 1956.

                     church building, 1906

                    church building, 1947

                    ground breaking, 1954

 

~ A Missionary Zeal ~

In the late 40's a great zeal for overseas missions swept over the church. As a result, the missions budget doubled in a single year, adding what would be the contemporary equivalent of $100,000 (inflation adjusted). The church sent many young people to the missions field and has continued to send and support missions work all over the world since those early days. 

                                                  Sunday School, 1952

 

~ The Continuing Mission ~

In 2013 pastor Mike Wilson, after faithfully pastoring Sellwood Baptist Church for almost 20 years, discerned a call from the Lord to engage in church planting in Ireland. Sellwood Baptist Church sought out Pastor Michael Lawrence of Hinson Baptist Church for help with the transition to a new pastor. Michael Lawrence helped the church find Jeff Lacine, and by a unanimous call of Sellwood Baptist Church Jeff began pastoring on January 5th, 2014.

Four churches are now partnering together to see the ministry and witness of Sellwood Baptist Church revitalized. Hinson Baptist Church (Portland, OR), The Gathering Community Church (Portland, OR), Bethlehem Baptist Church (Minneapolis, MN) and Creekside Community Church (McMinnville, OR) are each supporting the current revitalization effort at Sellwood Baptist in various capacities.

Sellwood Baptist Church desires to be a community of Christians who are committed to helping each other grow in Christ and to make disciples in the Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood of Portland, Oregon and across the globe. We invite you to join us in this endeavor.

 

~ Association ~

From its inception until 1947, Sellwood Baptist Church was affiliated with the Northern Baptist Convention (which is now called the American Baptist Convention). In 1947, Sellwood Baptist Church joined the newly formed Conservative Baptist Association and has been in fellowship with the Northwest chapter of the association until the present day.