New Hope Church Fairbanks
The pipeline was officially completed in the summer of 1977, three years after it was begun, the Rev. Gene Straatmeyer tells us in his doctoral thesis on the history of Presbyterian church work in the Fairbanks area.
“As many of the pipeliners moved south, a new group of workers came to the North Pole area to build a refinery. For many years First Presbyterian Church (Fairbanks) had conducted a ministry to the people in the Six-Mile Area, at the junction of Badger Road and the Richardson Highway. Finally, it was turned over to the Baptists, but people with Presbyterian backgrounds continued to attend First Presbyterian Church from the North Pole area.
“In the summer of 1976, the session of the church requested Presbytery to organize a new church at North Pole, and suggested we might ask the Methodists to join the effort. The Methodists accepted and on July 1, 1977, the Rev. Claude Klaver moved to North Pole to form a new church. A number of the families from First Presbyterian Church will become charter members of that congre-gation,” Straatmeyer wrote that year.
One of those members who deserves special recognition is Paul Grieman and his wife. The Griemans donated the six-acre parcel of land on Badger Road where the church stands today. The architect for the new church also was a member of the New Hope congregation, and charged nothing for his services.
The Methodists also helped with costs and design and the new congregation was able to start out debt-free, Straatmeyer recalls.
Who Followed Whom…