Big Timber Church of God

Big Timber Church of God
Big church
Image by J. Stephen Conn
I have many wonderful memories visiting this church in the summer of 1964. I was the 19-year-old leader of a "Pioneers for Christ" team from Lee College, Cleveland, Tennessee, which spent the entire summer in Montana and a week at this church. Our team conducted a Vacation Bible School in the Big Timber church in the mornings, held youth revival services in the evenings, and spent the afternoons doing door-to-door evangelism in the community. On Saturday, our day off, I mounted a horse and helped one of the members of the church round up cattle on his ranch . On Sunday afternoon we attended the local rodeo. On a church picnic, I also climbed up to the snowline in the nearby Crazy Mountains, my first time to ever have my feet in the snow in July.

I visited Big Timber again in August, 2009, my first time back there in 45 years. The town hasn’t changed much since that time and the church still looks the same on the outside. Inside, the church has been completely remodeled, although the congregation is smaller now than it was then. The entire county (Sweet Grass) has a population of only about 3,600 people.

I have written about that summer in my book, Growing up Pentecostal: www.amazon.com/Growing-Up-Pentecostal-Stephen-Conn/dp/160….

Big Timber Church of God – Interior View

Big Timber Church of God – Interior View
Big church
Image by J. Stephen Conn
I have many wonderful memories visiting this church in the summer of 1964. I was the 19-year-old leader of a "Pioneers for Christ" team from Lee College, Cleveland, Tennessee, which spent the entire summer in Montana and a week at this church. Our team conducted a Vacation Bible School in the Big Timber church in the mornings, held youth revival services in the evenings, and spent the afternoons doing door-to-door evangelism in the community. On Saturday, our day off, I mounted a horse and helped one of the members of the church round up cattle on his ranch . On Sunday afternoon we attended the local rodeo. On a church picnic, I also climbed up to the snowline in the nearby Crazy Mountains, my first time to ever have my feet in the snow in July.

I visited Big Timber again in August, 2009, my first time back there in 45 years. The town hasn’t changed much since that time and the church still looks the same on the outside. Inside, the church has been completely remodeled, although the congregation is smaller now than it was then. The entire county (Sweet Grass) has a population of only about 3,600 people.

I have written about that summer in my book, Growing up Pentecostal: www.amazon.com/Growing-Up-Pentecostal-Stephen-Conn/dp/160….

BlueStone Construction | Old World Timber in your MN lakehome

BlueStone Construction | Old World Timber in your MN lakehome

What is the difference between an average middle class Minnesota lake home and a one-of-a-kind upper end one? In a word, “detail”. One such detail that adds as much individuality as it does historical depth would be the use of “old world timber”. Old world timbers come from structures that often predate the civil war.

There is a rich history associated with these old timbers. When we build using them, we strive to document their story so future owners will not lose sight of the rich historical heritage their timbers provide to the overall cabin feeling. Here is one such story of some old world timbers we used recently: 

“St. Joseph’s Catholic Church located in Marathon City, Wisconsin was first constructed with these timbers in 1857. They remained part of that structure up until the year 1912. At that time, St. Joseph’s decided to build new.

Back then, people didn’t throw away things like they do today. Salvaging old materials was common practice because new material was costly and hard to come by, money was scarce and labor was cheap. Robert Ahrens acquired the material from the old church in 1912 and used them to construct a barn on his property 5 miles south of Marathon City. Reclaimed wood was not sufficient to complete his entire barn project so newly cut material was used in conjunction with reclaimed timbers.

It is easy to identify which materials originated from the old church when looking at the barn. Those pieces that had mortise pockets facing the wrong way or were used wrongly indicate which beams were used before.

Merlin Schumacher bought the property in 1987 and in 2009 sold the barn to Scott Slingsog. Mr. Slingsog disassembled salvageable material that eventually led to BlueStone using them.” 

Think of the many important events and conversations these timbers witnessed. Think of what it took to make each one. The sheer physical labor it took to hand hew each piece from a virgin tree trunk points back to a time when hard work using one’s own hands was the measure of quality and self respect.

Back then, simple living and valuing what you had defined success. They were testament to a life well lived.

Jim Raboin heads up BlueStone Construction & Project Management, LLC …a design/build lake home general contracting firm serving Minnesota and Wisconsin lake country. And he is a principal in Rural Energy Partners, LLC, a business that installs wind turbines for small wind generators in Minnesota and surrounding areas.