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Old Eastern Oregon Churches Share Pioneer History


The cornerstone of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer was placed in May 1875, making it the oldest house of worship in Pendleton.

The cornerstone of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer was placed in May 1875, making it the oldest house of worship in Pendleton.

E.J. Harris/East Oregonian

As pioneers moved westward across the United States, many brought with them a strong faith in God.

It wasn’t long before people began to assemble based on common beliefs. Many early gatherings took place in public buildings or people’s homes. Referred to as “circuit riders,” traveling ministers would come into town and preach. As their numbers increased, groups of believers set out to construct church buildings to worship in.

In Pendleton, a pair of early churches were being built in the late 1800s within a stone’s throw of each other on what is now Southeast Second Street. An informal race was on between the Episcopalians and the Methodists to complete their building first.

Rev. Charlotte Wells, the current pastor of Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, said Episcopalian pioneers focused on the exterior portion of the building, while just down the road, the Methodists concentrated on the interior.

Read more at the East Oregonian.

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