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History

On March 6, 1935, the Evangelical Community Church was organized as a denominationally and ecumenically independent body under the leadership of Dr. Albert C. Dudley. Within sixteen months the name was changed to First Evangelical Church. The church's first sanctuary was erected in 1941 on Union Avenue Extended.

After the death of Dr. Dudley, First Evan called Dr. T. Stanley Soltau on October 1, 1942. A new sanctuary was completed in April of 1954. Dr. Soltau, who served his church and community faithfully for twenty-six years, retired in June, 1968.

In the spring of 1969 First Evan called Rev. W. Earle Stevens, Jr. as Pastor. Dual morning services began in February 1971, and in 1973 the Union Avenue property was sold and the present property purchased. The congregation officially moved to the Ridge Lake Blvd location on February 22, 1976. Then in April of 1981, Rev. Stevens stepped down from the senior pastorate to devote more time to his missionary commitments.

Rev. Jay Letey, already serving as Associate Pastor at First Evan, accepted the call to Senior Pastor in April 1981, serving until October 1982.

For almost two years First Evan was without a Senior Pastor, but God continued to bless its ministry. The congregation began a major building program consisting of a new nursery wing, parking space, educational area, and a new sanctuary. In August 1984, Dr. A. Duane Litfin joined the church staff as the new Senior Pastor and remained until he was called to become the President of Wheaton College in June of 1993.

In August 1994 Ronnie Collier Stevens, pastor from Moscow Bible Church in Russia, was called to First Evan's pulpit as our sixth Senior Pastor. Construction of a multi-purpose facility began in October 1996 to house a gymnasium, kitchen, library and additional classroom space. This facility opened in February 1998. Ronnie Stevens resigned as Senior Pastor effective April 2003 in order to serve as a missionary with BEE International in Budapest, Hungary.

Dr. Howard Clark began his ministry as Senior Pastor of First Evan in June 2003, moving here from the First Baptist Church of Visalia, California. He served as Senior Pastor until his departure in February of 2007.

Cole Huffman joined the pastoral staff at First Evan in April, 2003 as the Pastor of Adult Ministries. In August of 2007, he was called to be the Senior Pastor of First Evangelical Church.