Our Story

In 1923, at the age of 73, businessman and philanthropist R.A. Long of Kansas City took a trip to the Northwest with a desire to expand his lumber interests. He chose to bring the Long-Bell Lumber Company along the Columbia River just west of Kelso, Washington. His “planned city” was modeled after the nation’s capital with a hub at the center just opposite of where the Monticello Hotel still operates. He brought many of his Kansas City employees with him and provided for them generously. His original vision of Longview was for a single “Community Church” to serve the religious needs of all his employees and their families. That church became what is now Longview Community Church. 

Realizing that the vision of one church was not realistic, he donated the property at the corner of 20th and Kessler across from the man-made Lake Sacajawea. The group began meeting in 1928 but the present sanctuary building was not completed until 1931, making it just the third church sanctuary erected in Longview, after Longview Community Church and Longview Foursquare Church.  The first Sunday that FCC opened its doors, R.A. Long--a member of the Disciples of Christ himself--spoke from the pulpit.  Also at this time, Rev. Homer Wilson was called as the church's pastor, a post he served until 1934.

In 1934--the year of R.A. Long’s death--Rev. Ray Dew became the pastor until his death in 1945, dying in his study from sudden cardiac arrest after a choir rehearsal. But his dream was to complete a recreation hall attached to the sanctuary, which became a reality the very same year, mere months after his death, and the recreation hall is dedicated to his memory. Following an interim ministry by Rev. Grant Cole, the church then called Rev. Dr. James E. Whitaker who served the church as the senior pastor from 1946-1972, during which time the Christian Education/Chapel building adjacent to our historic sanctuary was built. 

Throughout the 20th century, First Christian Church kept a strong Christian presence in the Longview-Kelso community and has most recently benefited from the pastoral leadership of Rev. Eric Atcheson from 2011-2018.  Other previous pastors include Rev. Ron Naff,  1995-2010 and Rev. Dr. Tom Yates 1987-1993.   Currently we are using a variety of local pastors and/or seminary students as pastors while we are in discernment and transition.

In our time together as a faith community, we have built buildings, asked questions, sought answers, and performed ministry.  We are now seeking big answers to the big, 21st century questions about God, faith, religion, and spirituality.  If ever you are thinking about exploring your faith in a community of fellow seekers, know that here you will be welcomed with open hearts and open arms.