A Brief History of Soldotna Baptist Church

The chronicles of Soldotna Baptist Church began in 1956 when two lots were purchased at 223 East Redoubt Avenue.  In August 1958, Paul and Esther Weimer, missionaries with Baptist Mid-Missions of Cleveland, Ohio, moved into a trailer on the property to establish the first independent Baptist Church in Soldotna, Alaska.  The foundation and basement were poured in October.  Meetings began at the home of John Weaver in December.

March 8, 1959, marks the first meeting held in the church basement.  In April, the church officially called Paul Weimer as the pastor.  Although no charter members were recorded, other church records show H.E. Justice, E.N. Barefield, R.L. Schmidt, Elmer Gaede, Clinton Ducker, John Weaver, John “Jack” Loundsbury, Mrs. Dorothy Johnson and Mrs. Anna Tachick as being part of the church in the early days.

May 30, 1959, the name “Soldotna Baptist Church” was chosen, and on October 10, a parsonage was purchased in Irons Subdivision near Four Royal Parkers.  The church began to support their first missionary, Ada Temple, in December of 1959.  The church continues to support several missionaries around the world.

During the summer of 1960 a pre-fab building and pews were ordered and by September the building was erected with the help of men from Fellowshipping churches.

The year 1962 brought winds of change to Soldotna Baptist Church.  The Weimers left for furlough and Bill Bursell came to fill the pulpit in their absence.  In the spring of 1963, the Weimers returned and one year later moved to Anchorage to take over the Grace Baptist Church ministry.

Chuck and Rhea Reeves moved to Soldotna in May of 1964 and took over the ministry of Soldotna Baptist Church.  In May, 1967, the Reeves left for furlough and once again, Bill Bursell filled in as interim pastor.  By July of 1972, it was time for Chuck and Rhea to go on furlough again.  George and Arlene Blood came to help in the ministry of Soldotna Baptist Church.

In February of 1973, the church voted to purchase a house at 37375 Lancashire Drive for a parsonage.  Phase one of a two-phase building program was begun in November of 1974.  This phase was the basement addition for Sunday School classrooms.

The church voted to take on their first self-supported pastor in June of 1976.  In October, Pastor and Mrs. Roscoe Smith began their ministry in Soldotna.

In 1977, the second phase of the building program began.  The 2,200 square feet sanctuary was added to the church.

In September of 1978, Pastor Smith resigned.  In October, Pastor Earl Barnett became the interim pastor and was later called as the full-time pastor.

On April 19, 1981, the first service was held in the unfinished new church sanctuary.  It was completed in February 1982, with a formal dedication to the Glory of God of the debt-free addition.

The church called Jon Craven to be Youth Pastor in 1996 and Tim Tiffner as the Assistant Pastor of Outreach Ministries in October of 1999.

In October 2003 Pastor Earl Barnett retired after 25 years of faithful service to the Lord and the Church

In November 2003 the church called Timothy Tiffner to be the senior pastor. In May of 2016 Pastor Tiffner retired and the church called Jon Craven to be the Senior Pastor.

Although no record has been kept of the souls saved, eternity will reveal the full effect of this testimony that God has established for His glory here.  The Eternal, Sovereign God founded this ministry and has used His people to maintain a fundamental Baptist testimony here since 1956.

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