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Church project built on faith

EAGLE POINT — Flying on blind faith, a century-old country church is planning to raise $2 million over the next four months.

Members and leadership of the Eagle Point Community Bible Church say they're clearly in the business of believing in miracles. With an anonymous donor willing to donate half of the goal — if they can raise the other half — the funds will go to construct a new sanctuary to increase the church's seating capacity from 300 to 500.

Pastor Richard Bull said his congregation of between 200 and 300 members, up from 50 or 60 when he began at the church in the late 1970s, is so confident it'll meet its goal that it commissioned a design plan and has a contractor picked out.

Bull said the church's extensive youth outreach accounts for a large portion of the membership. So many teens attend the church, in fact, that Wednesday night services exclude adults and split the various youth groups into three locations — at the church and two nearby school gymnasiums.

"For our regular services, we fill the auditorium to well over 200 every Sunday," Bull said. "We're not totally maxed out in our sanctuary now, but Wednesday nights we have to use gymnasiums in local schools to fit everyone in."

Tracing its beginnings back to 1906, the church was constructed on South Shasta Avenue after a local farmer donated a plot of land. A building was constructed by volunteer labor, with room for two to three dozen worshipers. The structure originally hosted a Baptist church, followed by a Presbyterian congregation. In 1956, it was officially incorporated as the independent, nondenominational Eagle Point Community Bible Church.

Originally surrounded by fields and unpaved roads, the church has watched the community grow and has added square footage and additional buildings over the passing decades.

Mike Bull, the elder Bull's son and fundraising lead, said he realized that raising $2 million seemed daunting. With the anonymous donor, however, and $200,000 already amassed, Bull said that "only" leaves $800,000.

His philosophy? 

"We just have to believe that the Lord will provide," said the younger Bull. "I'm not a professional fundraiser by any means, so we're just depending on grace of the Lord and prayer from the congregation. So far, we held a yard sale and we're just going to try to keep it in front of people. We do Facebook updates and we have encouraged different groups to come up with ideas to raise money. We've had everything from a half of a beef donated to some ladies who made a quilt and are selling raffle tickets.

"Pretty much we're just going on faith that the Lord will help us with something, that for practical reasons, wouldn't happen," he said. "And we just believe that it's going to. It's a miracle already that somebody came forward and offered up the million dollars. So if you think about it that way, we're more than halfway there."

Donations may be sent to Eagle Point Community Bible Church, P.O. Box 192, Eagle Point, OR 97524. Online donations: https://epcbc.securegive.com.

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. E-mail her at buffyp76@yahoo.com.