|Kingwood Bible Church is part of
the General Conference of the Mennonite Brethren (MB) of North
America and the Pacific District Conference with headquarters
in Fresno, California. As a member of the MB conference it is
also affiliated with Fresno Pacific University and the MB Biblical
Seminary, also located in Fresno, California.
Kingwood Bible Church was formed by a group of Salem residents
who were members of the Dallas Mennonite Brethren Church.
Several families began meeting in midweek prayer service in
the West Salem home of one of the members in May 1940. That
fall 27 signed a charter forming a new congregation calling
it the West Salem Mennonite Brethren Church. In 1941 they
built a new sanctuary at 1125 Elm Street. They also built
a parsonage next door at 1111 Elm Street.
The first pastor was Rev. Abe Loewen who led the congregation
from 1940 to 1946. The church experienced rapid growth under
his leadership. In 1944, Rev. Loewen formed a Bible college
named Salem Bible Institute. The original structure was expanded
so the classes could meet at the church. In the fall of 1945,
Salem Bible Institute was merged with the Beacon Bible School
of Dallas to form Salem College and Academy (now Salem Academy).
This new high school and junior college met in the facilities
of the West Salem MB Church during the 1945-1947 academic
years. In 1951 the church was renamed Kingwood Bible Church
since it is located in the Kingwood District of West Salem.
Under the leadership of Rev. Leonard Vogt, pastor from 1960
to 1975, the church grew to over 400 members building a new
sanctuary in 1965. The new building was attached to the 1940
structure, which was converted to an educational wing. In
1970 a gymnasium/activity center was added. Kingwood has continued
to share its facilities with other local ministries. It has
housed the offices of such ministries as the Polk County Child
Evangelism Fellowship and the Oregon Mennonite Residential
Services Administrative Offices. Salem Academy Elementary
School has rented the gymnasium for its PE classes and the
World Wide Church of God has rented the sanctuary. Kingwood
has been the site of many weddings of area couples not otherwise
affiliated with the church. The Activity Center has been the
site of many area banquets and other community events including
church league basketball.
Kingwood has a rich educational tradition, which is reflected
in its structure. The building contains many fine classrooms
and a well-stocked library containing numerous resources.
The church also has a rich musical heritage and has long been
known for its fine choirs and hearty congregational singing.
Instrumental music has always been an important part of its
Kingwood has been consistent in its theology and its leaders
have always been known for their practical theology based
on a literal interpretation of the Bible. The Pastor since
1994 is Gordon Bergman who received his theological training
at the MB Biblical Seminary.
Compiled by Ken Becker, on behalf of the Kingwood Bible Church
Information provided by the Kingwood Bible Church,1125 Elm
NW, Salem, Or 97304