Our History

The history of the church in Ottumwa dates back to the year 1873. Not too much is known about the early church group, but about the turn of the century, Elder C. F. Starr and C. A. Washburn held meetings in Ottumwa and organized a church. They met in a grocery store building on the south side, owned by the Neff family.

On April 15, 1905, the church was formally organized with 12 families who had attended the meetings held by Starr and Washburn. They had no church home, so until 1915 they met in various buildings on E. Second St., and at 711 Church St. on the South Side.

In 1915 they began construction on a building that was to house the Adventist group until 1970 when it was sold to the Church of Christ. This building was at 252 Ransom St. and was dedicated free of debt in July of 1920.

According to the records, many times it was hard to keep a pastor in the area. During the depression years, the local congregation had to struggle along by themselves with the conference personnel coming in for business meetings and quarterly meetings. Elder A. Miller, who was here for the dedication in 1920 remained until 1923 as local pastor, but returned over the next 12 years to help out whenever he could.

The membership of the Ottumwa Church group remained below 20 up to the late 30's and early 40's when it jumped to 47 and held quite steady until Elder Arthur Leach came in the early 60's and the membership reached 112. The highest number having membership in the Ottumwa Church came in 1964 under the direction of Pastor A. R. Klein, bringing the number to 116.

Some interest had been manifested for a new Ottumwa church building since the early 1960's, but eventually under the direction of Pastor Klein this interest was strongly encouraged.

In early 1964 a committee was formed to start plans for building a new church. The site selected was on Quincy Avenue, on the southside of Ottumwa where the Ottumwa Mall and the Hampton Inn sits now.  There were four acres available for a little more than $10,000. The land was bought in 1965 and was planted with soybeans and other crops until 1972 when on June 12 ground was broken to commence the building.

The work progressed under the leadership of Pastor Norman Rasmussen, and early in 1973 the shell was up and closed in. In August 1974 the pews were purchased and the furniture for the church was complete. The first service held in the new church at 943 Quincy Avenue was on August 24, 1974. Membership on dedication day was 88 and the valued $375,000 church was debt free.

Another historical event for our church was the construction of a new Community Service Building, was was built in 1984-85.

March 1, 2008 brought disaster to the Ottumwa church when it caught fire in the basement and the entire church suffered serious smoke damage. Everything was ruined. That is when plans began to build a new church further towards the edge of town. In April, 2012 the new church at it's present location was dedicated.

Feb, 2016 was another high point for the Ottumwa church when a low power fm radio station was erected on the church property. KHIJ-fm, (Keep Hoping In Jesus), 106.3 went on the air that day and has been broadcasting a Christian lineup of programs ever since. Being low power it covers an area of around 15 miles in every direction, although it depends on weather conditions and often can broadcast much further.