HISTORY OF THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH ON MERCER ISLAND
In 1963, the Washington North Idaho Conference, United Church of Christ, put in motion the steps towards realizing a new church on Mercer Island by allocating funds and seeking out a sponsoring committee. A sponsoring committee of fifteen Mercer Island residents was formed. The conference purchased a parcel of land on Island Crest Way for the future church. Permission was granted for early services to be held in Island Park Elementary School. In February 1964, the sponsoring committee called the Rev. Jim Gilliom as the first pastor of the Mercer Island United Church of Christ.
Over the years of the church’s history, membership has ranged from approximately 250 members to around 100 members.
The Congregational Church on Mercer Island has had several pastors since its inception:
The Reverend Jim Gilliom served as pastor from 1964 to 1971.
The Reverend Ray Boston was Interim Pastor in 1971
The Reverend Robert L. Haertig served from 1972 to 1980.
The Reverend Cynthia Brandt was Interim Pastor in 1980
The Reverend Bruce Van Blair served from 1981 to 1996.
The Reverend Michael Bush served as Associate Pastor from 1994 to 1996, and as Pastor from 1996 to 2001.
The Reverend Deborah Adams was Associate Pastor from 1996 to 1998
The Reverend Anni Stedman served as Interim Pastor from 2001 to 2003.
The Reverend Doctor Samuel Sawitski served from 2003 to 2008.
The Reverend Mark Travis served from 2008 to 2013
The Reverend Doctor Mark Henry Miller served as Interim Pastor from 2013 to 2015.
The Reverend Roberta Rominger began her service in 2015.
Worship services were held at the Island Park Elementary school until the new church was completed in 1969. The new building was designed by Don Frothingham, a Seattle architect. The church building extensively uses Northwest materials and takes full advantage of natural lighting, bringing the trees and sky into the sanctuary. It was also designed so that the sanctuary could be used for a variety of events and the church makes its space available for rental to non-profit groups.