In the fall of 2019, discussions began between the elders of The Rising and the elders of Berean Baptist Church about the possibility of merging to form one, new church. The discussions began by asking if both churches would be better together than apart, and whether merging would allow both to be faithful and fruitful in the long-term. In light of the pandemic, the elders of each congregation determined to move to combined services for the summer of 2020 to enable corporate worship and to allow for fellowship between the churches. A timeline was established to vote on the merge at the end of summer with the understanding that the churches would either merge or remain separate congregations. Independently, both churches voted unanimously on August 30th 2020 to move forward with a merge. Permanent combined services began September 6th, 2020 and soon after, the church was named Redeemer Fellowship. We are excited about our future as we seek to spread God’s fame in our city and to the uttermost.
Berean Baptist Church had its beginning on December 20, 1942 as a mission Sunday school through First Baptist Church of Eugene, Oregon. The first classes were held in a store building (Jensen’s Drugstore) on the corner of West 11th and Chambers with an initial attendance of 34. Situated in a rapidly growing area of southwest Eugene, the Sunday school personnel soon felt the need of more space as attendance increased. Property was purchased one block south of the original meeting place and plans for a building were begun. The new chapel building was dedicated July 9, 1950 under the leadership of Rev. Earl Peden.
All chapel indebtedness was cleared in April 1953, and the chapel voted to seek its independence in accordance with the established policy of First Baptist Church. Following a “trial year” during which the chapel functioned independently as a church with the membership raising a budget of $14,747, independence was granted by unanimous vote of the members of First Baptist Church on May 6, 1954. The names of 184 members constituted the membership roll of the new church.
In 1958 two significant events occurred. First, the church became affiliated with the Conservative Baptist Association of Oregon and America. Second, “Operation Nehemiah”, the building of a Sunday school addition, was begun adding an additional 5,300 square feet to the existing building.
In January 1980 Allan Stensvad took pastoral leadership at Berean and served until October 1993. Under his direction, several new programs were implemented including AWANA and the Navigator 2:7 discipleship series. A major remodeling of the sanctuary was completed in 1991.
A new building was begun in the fall of 1992. Work proceeded on a “cash only” basis until 1997. In September 1997 the church voted unanimously to authorize the selling of bonds in the face amount of $350,000 to raise the funds to finish the building. Bonds were sold to members and have since been paid off.
On July 1, 1994, Mike Jaskilka began his ministry as pastor. He worked with the Board of Elders to give the church a greater outward focus and to clarify the church’s vision for the future. A simplified by-laws structure was passed in May 1996 and simplified again in 2000. In January 2012, Mike announced his desire to retire from pastoral ministry by June 2013. He served faithfully and diligently for nineteen years, finishing his ministry here well.
The Pastoral Search Team began the search process and started communicating with prospective Senior Pastoral candidates in January 2013. In July of the same year, the church voted unanimously to call Dan Glockle to be the next pastor. Pastor Dan, his wife Tracy, and their children arrived in Eugene in September of 2013 and Pastor Dan began his ministry at Berean on September 15.