University Community Presbyterian


In 1941, the Rev. Bert Bingle was appointed Sunday school missionary to the interior of Alaska and in 1949 a new church was established near the University of Alaska at College. Bingle constructed the log church himself. The building is still in use today. As we learned earlier, this ministry originated as part of Bingle’s “Highway work”, and only later was broken off into a separate ministry. 

The University Community Presbyterian Church was organized May 11, 1949 at the home of the Rev. and Mrs. Bingle, College, AK. Elders were Clyde Sherman and Allan Rugg. Deacons were Mrs. Nest Palenski, Mrs. Zelda Eidem, Mrs. Claude Sibain, Mr. Carter D. Sherman, Mr. Nick Eidem, Capt. William Chisholm, and C.E. Swain.

Others involved were Clyde G. Sherman, Richard Eidem, Jerald D. Eidem, Ellamae Chisholm, Palma McGee, Mrs. B.J. Bingle, Mrs. Margaret Nielsen, and Mrs. Duncan Plowman. 

Files contain a report written when the church was just two years old. Polio and cold weather had taken their toll on the little church’s attendance – Sunday school had had to be dismissed for five Sundays and subzero weather had driven attendance down to near zero for several additional Sundays. Everyone was awaiting spring.

The first two years had focused on building the church itself. Fifteen beautiful oak pews had been installed; the sanctuary floor was finished. The previous year the basement hole had been dug and the cement floor had been poured. This year, the group hoped to finish the basement. The well was dug, but much still had to be done regarding plumbing “when the thaw comes.” The fireplace unit had arrived in the fall, but as yet was uninstalled. The furnace was working, however, the first heat being delivered for Thanksgiving Sunday.

“It certainly has been wonderful this year,” the report stated, “but we find scarcely enough money from the offering to keep the coal bills paid.”

Who Followed Whom…

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