tHE hISTORY OF MRBC
The Maple Ridge Bible Church had its origin in an abandoned church building which stood in a beautiful wooded area at Foskett Corner. The building had been built on top of a hill by a group of interested Congregationalists.
Previous to 1896 The American Sunday School Union held services in the Reynold's school house. Then on Thursday, July 28th, 1896 The American Sunday School Union missionary began a tent meeting at Foskett Corner. The meeting lasted three weeks, interest increasing as the meetings advanced. August 2, 1896 it was decided to build a church. December 19, 1896 plans and specifications were drawn up for the building. Material, land, and labor was donated; $500.00 having been appropriated for cost. The congregation was organized with names such as Reynolds, Christ, Patten, Payne, Haskins, McKnight, Kinder, Flansburg, Dobson, Boak, and others.
Regular services were held until about 1914. From then on we have scant records until 1917 when a meeting was called to discuss reorganization. Then in the 1920's, The American Sunday School Union organized Sunday School Classes during the summer months. As late as 1932 these were held. The building deteriorated until 1943.
A stock-buyer, Cale Mallory, was converted in the Methodist Church in Boscobel. At once he became interested in opening the doors of closed churches. He obtained permission from the Patten people, who now owned the building to have a service. He called on families in the neighborhood and invited them to a service on October 14th, 1943. About 20 people were out- two families from the neighborhood and some from the Boscobel Methodist Church. The services were continued from week to week with many men and women from the Methodist Church helping in speaking and special music. The windows which were broken were repaired by Mr. Mallery. The wallpaper was hanging in strips. The church was heated by a huge wood stove in the center of the room. For lights, kerosene lamps and lanterns were used.
Then in December 1943, Rev. John L. Bray from Florida held a meeting. He was a Baptist and laid the ground work for the Doctrinal belief which was generally accepted later. As a result of the meeting a young people's group met in homes for choir practice and a devotional time. This group has never ceased to function except meetings are not held in the homes except for special times.
Mention should be made at this point of Mrs. Harold (Mary) Fricke's conversion. She was one interested in hearing Mr. Mallory's testimony. She had never attended a revival meeting but the first night of Rev. Bray's meeting she was unable to attend because of illness in her home. As she sat there with her sick child all her past life was revealed to her and she became conscious of her undone condition and humbly bowed to the Lord for forgiveness. The next night in the service as testimonies were called for she got up and told what the Lord had done for her. It was her first testimony and she was God's handmaiden to keep the work going at Maple Ridge in times of discouragement and testings. Through her prayers, her untiring efforts, her courage, through testing, and discouragement she was faithful. In a personal note from Mrs. Fricke as she sent some information for this history she states, "There were many 'ups and down' to be sure but I always said the Lord had a place for Maple Ridge and He surely meant to do more than to see that this poor sinful soul heard the Gospel message."
Bert Turner, a former contractor, who had accepted the Lord, assisted in Wednesday night services. Our music came from a little reed organ furnished by Joseph Zajicek, Jr. to replace the old reed organ originally in the church, and ruined by mice. New Year's Eve was bitterly cold and Mr. Turner had to drain the radiator of his car and bring the water and his car battery in beside the stove at the Watch Night Service.
Then for a time the services were held on Friday nights when pastors from various churches could be obtained. They would bring people from their churches who would inspire us with their testimonies and music. Among those who came to minister to us over week-ends were students from Moody Bible Institute.
The first regular speaker was Rev. Streblow who was a student at Platteville. About 1945 Johnny Lindell from Mt. Ida Baptist Church came for Sunday evening services. The two above speakers had been recommended by the Luther Swensons who visited our services frequently.
About this time the kerosene lights were replaced by electricity, and the church was painted on the outside. The interior had been papered, drapes hung to the windows, and it became a comfortable meeting place, a friendly church.
The Adams family came in 1944 and several other families, although still members of other churches, attended our Sunday evening services.
Interest and attendance continues to grow.
After two years with Johnny Lindell, Rev. Gordon Hodgson, and wife Vesta, become the Pastor at Mr. Ida and he came for Sunday evening and Wednesday evening services. During all the years Sunday School was held every Sunday.
In December 1949 Rev. Oscar Hunerdosse with his wife Dora Mae and children Judy, Carolyn, David, Roger, and Arlene came to be our pastor. He came for Sunday and Wednesday evening services. It was during Pastor Hunerdosse's ministry the church was organized into the Maple Ridge Community Bible Church with 17 charter members. He preached many sermons on correct Doctrine to lay a firm foundation. Our first Constitution was drawn up at this time and there have been only four minor changes since.
In 1958 Rev. Orville E. Cypert, wife Ruth and daughter Carol of California was called as our first full-time pastor but due to the ill health of Mrs. Cypert they only stayed on year. Rev. Alfred J. Larson was then called on July 1959 with his wife Muriel (she writes for Christian publications) and daughter Gay. A new roof was put on the old church during Pastor Larson's ministry. The Church Constitution was revised to make it more adaptable for our congregation.
On February 2, 1961 Rev. Cypert returned. During his second tenure, on July 16, 1961 the radio program "Discovery" on WRCO, Richland Center, was started. It was broadcast on Wednesday mornings. Rev. Cypert drove to Richland Center every Wednesday morning and made "live" broadcasts. Under Pastor Cypert's ministry and help, the beautiful new building atop Shockley Hill was built. Situated high on a ridge it is truly " a lighthouse on a hill" a term which Rev. John L. Bray had previously called the older building. Ground was broken August 11, 1962 and the first service was held October 13, 1963; the original plans having been formulated in 1961. The building was dedicated Friday evening, July 24, 1954. Former pastor Oscar Hunderdosse was chosen to bring the dedicatory address.
Pastor Cypert believed he had completed the work here which he was called to do, so we then called Rev. Roy Hoover of St. Louis , Missouri, along with his wife Evelyn and children Christine, Mark, Timothy and Linda. He became pastor in December 1964. Under his leadership the church body continued to grow. August 22, 1965 the first Homecoming service was held. A total of 160 people attended the Sunday morning service. The Sunday afternoon and evening services each had an attendance of 140 people. The Royal and Edsel Lindquist families provided the music.
Beginning April 18th, 1965 on Sunday monrning our church sponsored a radio program at WPRE in Prairie Du Chien. The theme was "With Eternities Values In View" and it wa taped each week at the church. In March 196 we hosted the IFCA Regional Conference. The guest book shows 212 people registered. Pastor Hoover resigned in May 1968.
Our next pastor was a newly graduated Moody student James Papen and wife Phyllis. They came in August 1968 and stayed until May 1970. The church entryway was enclosed in 1969. The Papen adopted Jennifer while they were here.
On Septmeber 20, 1970 Pastor Thaddeus Peak came with wife Helen and four children, Sharon, Tad, Becky and Molly. He was here for 14 years, the longest term of any pastor thus far. During his ministry in January of 1973 the mortgage on the church building was burned in a public ceremony. The parsonage was purchased in August 1976. An ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) school was established in September 1979. Pastor Peak left June 3, 1984.
Next, pastor Thomas Clifford and wife Ruth arrived on August 12, 1984. In October of that year we had our first Annual Pig Roast in a deluge of cold rain. It was then decided to have in in August of each year. The year 1986 marks the third roast combined with the 30th reunion and homecoming. Under Pastor Tom's and Ruth's ministry at atmosphere of friendliness, good will and hospitalitiy has been generated. Pastor Clifford along with much study and sermon preparation, and the usual pastoral duties spend time landscaping the parsonage grounds, organizing men for the painting of the church and parsonage exterior and installing a new rood.
Some of the outreach of Maple Ridge Bible Church has included the Woman's Ministry Group "Marys and Marthas", the Miss Marys for high school girls, Awana, Child Evangelism classes, Daily Vacation Bible School, Gleaners High School group, and the Junior Young Peoples' group. Many from this church have gone into full-time and part-time work for the furtherance of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.