February 28, 2015
First Presbyterian Church – Coeur d’Alene
Message Series: How God Got Here – Knowing Your Mission Field
Message: Part 2
Scripture Text: Mark 4:10-12;21-23
1. INTRO (Craig) – 2 minutes
a. The year was 1887, when a
Presbyterian Sunday School was begun at Fort Sherman, near where Lake Coeur d’Alene empties into the Spokane River. The same spot where, 45 years earlier, the first Christian missionary, Father Pierre-Jean Desmet, met with the Schitsu’Umsh (Coeur d’Alene) Tribe.
i. That Sunday School led to the first church to be organized in Coeur d’Alene, which had only been incorporated that very year.
b. To help us understand the history of Fort Sherman and how churches first came to the new town which grew around it, I’ve invited Robert Singletary from the Museum of North Idaho to join me.
CRAIG: so Robert, help us bridge the gap between the 1840’s and 1880’s. How did Protestant Christianity get to North Idaho?
i. ROBERT: talks about Spalding & Whitman, the mission to the Nez Perce in Lapwai, Lewiston, Kamiah.
d. CRAIG: But that was quite a ways south of here; how did Protestant Christianity get to the Coeur d’Alene area?
i. ROBERT: talks about the Mullan Road and Fort Sherman Presbyterian, Episcopal, etc. First as Sabbath Schools and small gatherings: Interest centered on children. Children were at the Fort (1st school at Fort – Chaplain started).
e. CRAIG: the Fort Chapel still exists
today. What role did it play in the history of Protestant Christianity in CDA?
i. ROBERT: talks about 1880, when Chapel built. Became hatching place for many denominational churches. Still happening today!
2. Also in 1887, Major CD Warner and his wife Anna came to Coeur d’Alene.
a. ‘Major’ Warner was a Civil War vet
and fought at Gettysburg but didn’t rank higher than quartermaster sergeant.
i. His title “Major” was an honorary one given to him during his next phase of life: as an Indian Agent with the Nez Perce Tribe in Lapwai – where the Spaldings had labored as Presbyterian missionaries.
ii. He then moved to Coeur d’Alene where he opened a general store and was a land agent; he was instrumental in the town being incorporated later that year.
b. His wife, Annie, is the one who
organized a Presbyterian Sunday School for families at Fort Sherman. She went on to become a charter member of 1stPres in 1888, a member of the 1st building
committee in 1890, the first organist, a charter
member of Ladies Aid society, and the church’s first Sunday school superintendent.
i. All while also serving as the local postmistress.
c. began because of Annie Warner’s missionary impulse to teach about Jesus Christ to children at the Fort and in the town.
3. Through the centuries, Christianity has been caught when it has been taught – sharing Bible stories, finding ways to explain doctrine, sharing personal experiences.
a. Jesus was called “Teacher” by many of his followers, and used parables to help explain the basic principles of the Kingdom of God and the Good News he was sent to embody.
i. Read Mark 4:10-12;21-23.
ii. Jesus sets up a timeline for acquiring Christian faith: teaching, perceiving, understanding, turning, believing.
iii. The process has repeated over and
over, billions of times, over two millennia.
b. I remember going to Sunday School as a child – early memories of learning about Jesus and Daniel and Moses through felt board stories, singing songs, and coloring.
i. I don’t color anymore, but I am still learning my faith in my Sunday School class, Men’s Mentoring Group, and listening to my colleague’s preaching.
c. What this means is that the Christian faith has the ability to reveal itself if it is simply communicated and shared – person to person. –
i. Our task isn’t to do the revealing for it, but to be in the habit of gathering around it, trying to understand it, asking questions, listening and speaking, and ultimately be obedient to it.
ii. And when we encounter someone who doesn’t know about the faith but wants to learn, to simply invite them to join in = and give them the space to learn at their pace, in their way.
d. As a church, our mission is to teach
the faith with authenticity and consistency, love and listening, perceiving and understanding.
4. For all the work they did to start a Presbyterian Sunday School and then 1st Presbyterian Church for the benefit of children and families, Anna and CD didn’t have children of their own.
a. But they did adopt a young family that lived across the street from their home on Sherman Avenue between 6th and 7th street: the Manns. They loved and cared for them, and then in their old age the Manns returned the favor.
b. Guess who were in the 2nd batch of new members to 1stPres after the Warner’s charter class?