A BRIEF HISTORY OF FAIRVIEW MENNONITE CHURCH
Fairview Mennonite Church was organized in 1894 by a group of Mennonites coming from such places as Iowa
and Colorado. The earliest family to arrive in the Albany/Lebanon area was the Joseph Maurer family in 1887
and later followed by the Daniel Erb, E.R. Kennel and Jacob Roth families. Others in the late 1890's and early
1900's included Samuel Christner, John Eicher, Menno Erb, Mose Erb, C.R. Gerig family, John Heyerly, Peter
Neuschwander family, C.G. Nofziger family, John Ropp, Dan Roth, Daniel K. Roth family, J.M. Schlegel, Joe
Schrock family, John Sutter, Peter Widmer, and Sol Yutzi. In the middle and late 1930's, due to the prolonged
drought in Nebraska and Colorado, another sizable group came and among them family names including
Beckler, Birky, Burley, Jantzi, Schweitzer and Stutzman.
Jacob Roth served as the first pastor and was ordained as bishop in 1895. E.R. Kennel served as the first Sunday
School Superintendent. Dan Erb was ordained as pastor in 1898. Peter Neuschwander served as the first deacon.
After Jacob Roth moved to Kalispell, Montana in 1903, C.R. Gerig served as pastor and was ordained bishop in
1907. Others who moved into the area and ministered to the congregation were Joseph Schrock, Frank Roth and
Joe Whitaker. Nick M. Birky, who came from Colorado in 1937, was given charge of the congregation as
bishop in 1938. Henry Gerig and Melvin Schrock were ordained to the ministry by the congregation in 1934.
C.C. Steckley served as deacon until his death in 1944. Verl Nofziger was first ordained as deacon in 1948, later
ordained as pastor in 1954 and bishop in 1960. Neil Birky was licensed as pastor in 1957 and served until 1963.
Merrill Boshart was ordained as deacon in 1957. Percy Gerig was licensed to the ministry in 1965. Clarence
Gerig, also licensed in 1965 was ordained in 1970 and served the congregation as pastor. Roy Hostetler was
called from the Winston Mennonite Church and was given the responsibility as lead pastor in 1970. Al Burkey
was commissioned as pastor to the congregation in 1993, transferring from the Logsden Neighborhood Church
where he was serving as pastor. Don King, ordained as deacon in 1984 served until retiring in 2003. Brad Ils
was commissioned as youth pastor in 1996 and served until 2003. James L. Kropf was installed as senior pastor
in June 2000, transferring from Grace Mennonite Church in Phoenix, Arizona. In 2009 Phil Schrock was
installed as associate pastor transferring from Fairview Mennonite Church in Kalona, Iowa. On January 1, 2012
Phil became senior pastor and James Kropf moved to the position of associate pastor until retiring in May, 2013,
when Brandon Funk was installed as associate pastor. Deacons no longer are ordained, but are affirmed by the
congregation and then commissioned. Current deacons are: Alan & Julie Cowan, Cal & Mary Leichty and
Dan & Dorie Roth.
The property where the present church complex is located was purchased in 1911, and a building was
constructed that seated approximately 350 people. Sheds were built for buggies along the south and west
property lines. Outdoor toilet facilities were located in the southwest corner for men and the northwest corner
for the women. An addition nicknamed "the cracker box" was constructed in 1930 for Sunday School
classrooms and overflow seating space. Gas lights were used in the building until 1944 when electricity became
available. The first telephone was installed in 1959. In the fall of 1948, ground was broken for a new building,
the present structure, on adjacent land purchased from Oliver Schmucker and Dan Nofziger. Dedication for this
building was held in June 1951. In 1973 the foyer was remodeled with a new entrance as well as an addition
which was built on the south side to provide for Sunday School classrooms, library and offices. In 1982 a multipurpose building was constructed west of the sanctuary that included additional classrooms, a kitchen,
gymnasium and a stage. In 1999 the nursery area was remodeled, also constructing an adjacent bathroom
facility for nursery and handicapped access. In 2001 the front entrance was remodeled adding a bell tower and a covered entrance on the north side of the building. In 1958 the church established a cemetery on land purchased from the Joseph Erb estate on an acre of land adjoining the northwest corner of the church property. The first burial was for Christian C. Gerig in 1959. In 2001, land and buildings were purchased which adjoin the south
property and was known as the "Kelly/Lilly property." Presently part of the land is used for parking.
The congregation established Fairview Christian School (FCS) in the fall of 1974. The school was originally
held in the church basement and later moved to the multi-purpose building. FCS used Accelerated Christian
Education (ACE) curriculum provided by the "School of Tomorrow." The school provided an opportunity for
Christian education for both members and community families. Beginning in the fall of 2002, the school
dropped the ACE program and had a conventional classroom setting. The school operated under the direction of
a School Council chosen by the church. In 2009, the school was discontinued due to rising costs and decreased
When the congregation was first organized, it affiliated with the Western Amish Mennonite Conference until
the merger of such with the Pacific Coast Conference in 1921. The congregation remained with the Pacific
Coast Conference until October 24, 1969, withdrawing over concerns that the conference was beginning to
accept teachings not consistent with traditional Mennonite beliefs. The congregation was incorporated in the
State of Oregon on January 13, 1967. In 2004, the congregation affiliated with the Conservative Mennonite
Conference, Rosedale, Ohio where it continues to be at the present time.