ONCE UPON A TIME AT FCC
This is a series of articles that are published in the FCC newsletter "Bell." The article will chronicle the lives of members and families who have founded our congregation and led us to love and service our Lord Jesus at FCC. Enjoy the articles!
Published in the March 2017 edition of the "Bell."
In early 1909 the Alexander Family arrived on the immigrant train from Iowa. They disembarked at Campstool, Wyoming yet they still needed to walk 10 miles to their new homestead. Today while we still face hardship's they are different then the ones that the Alexander Family faced.
Mr. Alexander built his barn before the house so his live stock would be sheltered, While there was a stream on the land, water still needed to be carried to the family.
The Alexander's ere very involved with their community. Soon Mr. Alexander had donated a corner piece of his land for a school to be built. Appropriately the school was named in honor of him, The Alexander School.
During the early years in Wyoming their family grew. First a son, George, was born. The May 18th 1915 a baby girl was born, named Leona. Soon after Mrs. Alexander had passed away.
Submitted by Cindy White and Mary Lou Harrington
Published in the April 2017 edition of the "Bell."
In those days, the early nineteen hundreds, duties of the husbands and wife's were more clearly defined then they are today. Women were home makers and child care givers. Husbands worked outside the home and were the bread-winners. Following that tradition, Mr. Alexander placed his baby girl, Leona, with the Judge Lacey family for care. Leona was safe and loved during that time when Mr. Alexander was busy working and re-organizing his family like. About ten months later Mr. Horace Alexander and Miss, Marie Chantry, who was living on a nearby homestead, became man and wife. The children grew to love Marie, She was their Mom. Leona told me of happy times, of driving to town behind horses driven by Maria, of picnics, of watching Frontier Days and of sitting by the fire while "Mom" helped the children with homework. Leona loved her new little sister and brother who were born into the newly formed Alexander family. (FCC's very own Betty Crider (Alexander) was the new baby sister) During high school Leona and George Harrington met and fell in love. A few days after graduation they went to Kimball, Nebraska to be married, The wedding was held at the court house during a terrible blizzard on March 6, 1933. A stipulation for this marriage came from George who insisted that the couple would belong to his church, First Christian Church. (FCC)
Submitted by Cindy White and Mary Lou Harrington
Published in the May 2017 edition of the "Bell."
George Harrington and Leona Alexander begun their lives as man and wife. They made First Christian their church home. As a new young bride, Leona soon received a phone call from one of the church matriarchs, Esther Christensen, who said to her "Be ready for me to pick you up tomorrow morning. Bring a bag of sugar. We will go to the church and make cookies which we will sell in order to pay the church's electric bill." Leona dared not deny the request of this well-established churchwoman, but she was terrified. She knew that she and George had no extra money (these were the depression years) with which to buy a bag of sugar. Like all "good" wives of that period in history, Leona referred the problem to her husband. He had a solution immediately. He said, "We can buy the sugar. We will use our milk money. We just won't drink milk for a while." With this sacrifice began many long years of service to God, through the Harington family at FCC. The churchwomen would regularly make cookies and sew aprons, which they sold door to door. Once these items created revenue, the leaders would proudly present their earning to the Pastor of FCC who would then pay the utilities, George and Leona had three children, one of whom was Bob. Bob Harrington and his wife, Mary Lou, raised their four children in the church. They continue to support FCC in may loving capacities.
Submitted by Cindy White and Mary Lou Harrington
Published in the July 2017 edition of the "Bell."
It is almost the turn of the century (1890's) and a young couple in Denmark fell in love. But before they would marry (Esther's parents) he wanted his betrothed to make sure moving to the United States was what she wanted. They soon homesteaded in the Granite Canyon area. There was another couple that had six children living in Denmark (Neil's parents) that decided to move to the United States. So, in 1906 Mom and kids followed Dad. The kids found Dad at the train station in Cheyenne, Wyoming, The Yensen (Esther's) family and Christensen (Neils) family became friends. The Christensen family purchased milk cows from the Yensen family to start the Plains Dairy. Through that family friendship, Neil and Esther found love and were married. They made their home in Cheyenne, Wyoming. And now, for the rest of the story.
I recently had the privilege of meeting with Dorothy Gunton, who told me of her mother and father, Neil and Esther Christensen, and their role at the newly formed First Christian Church (FCC) in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
The year is 1925 when the Reverend Charles Hannan and his wife Mattie went door to door to introduce themselves and propose the start up of this new church. Dorothy's parents were recruited and became charter members, the church services originally were held at the old Schrader's Funeral Home, which was across from the State Capital building, In 1927, the church building was opened at 27th Street and Carey. The congregation walked in the street from Schrader's to the new church location. Baby Dorothy was pushed in her baby buggy down the street that day. The three Christensen sisters (Louise, Dorothy and Joanne) grew up at FCC. For Dorothy that means that she started at FCC at the age of 10 days old and has continued her service to God at FCC for the next ninety years. The girls participated in the "Mission Band," and proceeded to present youth groups of Chi, Rho and CYF. The Christensen family helped FCC grow, They sang in the choir, counted money, and spearheaded fund drives and any other function that might need to be done. They were always welcoming and an extremely hospitable family. When missionaries cam to visit, they always had a home with the Christensen's. During the World War II, the family hosted young men from the base (Fort D A Russell) for Sunday dinner, There were several couples that took it upon them selves to see that no military man was leaving FCC to go back to the base without Sunday dinner. Larry Gunton was on of those young men. Dorothy says "Guess who came to dinner and never left?!" Larry and Dorothy were married in 1947 and recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.
Submitted by Cindy White and LuAnn Chaffin
Published in August 2017 edition of the "Bell."
This month we continue talking about the love and service to God and FCC given by a five generation family, the Christensen, Gunton, Chaffin, and Zubrod family. We pick up our story in 1947. During WWII Larry Gunton was stationed at our then, Fort D A Russell, now F.E. Warren AFB. He attended First Christian Church (FCC) where he and other soldiers were shown great hospitality by the Christensen family. Each Sunday groups of service men were invited to Sunday lunch after church service. It was there that Larry Gunton and Dorothy Christensen met and fell in love. They were married on Good Friday 1947 and honeymooned in Denver Colorado. Their family number doubled when their daughters were born. Carolyn was born in 1952 and LuAnn in 1957. As was the family custom, both girls began their service to God at FCC when they were 10 days old. The Guntons served FCC in many capacities. Larry was the FCC Treasurer for 13 years. He also, served as Sunday School Superintendent, Deacon, Elder and is an Elder Emeritus. Dorothy served as Secretary of the Board, is active in the Christian Women’s Fellowship serving in every capacity, was in the choir for countless years, Elder and is an Elder Emeritus. Dorothy spent many hours in the kitchen of the church for any variety of occasions, again following in her Mother’s footsteps. This was a time in FCC history when there were as many as 500 people who regularly attended Sunday Worship Service. In 1950, the church had a revival with the purpose of increasing giving and tithing. The Gunton family was instrumental in paying for the building, which had been built at the end of the depression. The Guntons always connected with whoever was serving as minister at FCC, from Reverend Hanna’s family through the first Borgaard minister in the 1940’s (who actually preformed their wedding ceremony) and many others. Although Carolyn and LuAnn didn’t follow in their parents footsteps, many men serving in the military were hosted by the Gunton family for Sunday dinners following the tradition set forth by Dorothy’s parents. The Bell article “Once Upon a Time at FCC will continue in August featuring the next generation of this loving family.
Submitted by Cindy White and LuAnn Chaffin
Published September 2017 edition of the "Bell."
Generation #3 of the Christensen/Gunton/Chaffin/Zubrod family is represented by LuAnn Chaffin. LuAnn is the second child of Larry and Dorothy Gunton. LuAnn as was the custom of her family made her debut appearance at First Christian Church at age 10 days old. She continues her family tradition of love and service to God and the FCC congregation. Growing up at FCC LuAnn took advantage of all her church had to offer. As a youth, she participated in Chi Rho and Christian Youth Fellowship. Attended church camp at Allen’s Park and them camp moved to LaForet. While in CYF the group performed Jesus Christ Superstar in Cheyenne and in Colorado Springs at the regional assembly. LuAnn always participated in the youth musicals for the church. After high school, LuAnn worked at Burris Jewelry store. As tradition followed a young man would show up at Dorothy and Larry’s house to visit LuAnn and was asked to stay for dinner. Dennis Chaffin and LuAnn Gunton were married in 1976. After living in Denver for several years and finding a Disciples church there Dennis, LuAnn and Ruby moved back to Cheyenne and LuAnn re-established her connection with FCC. Dennis and LuAnn were active members of the group “Come as You Are.” Dennis has assisted in several projects around the church. LuAnn sang in the choir, played bells in the choir, helped with Logo’s, held several offices with CWF, served as a deacon, elder and was Worship chairman. LuAnn served as FCC Treasurer for 18 years. Dennis and LuAnn recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. For the past several years, she has worked as a software consultant, a job that demands a lot of travel. For a period, she traveled back and forth from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Juneau, Alaska every 2 weeks. Recently her job commute takes her from Cheyenne to Los Angeles every week. No matter how we look at that , it is a long commute. Dennis is currently a CEO (Chief Elevator Operator) at the Majestic building, where the oldest manually operated elevator west of the Mississippi still runs. Frequently Dennis and LuAnn can be found riding their motorcycles, anywhere from a day ride to a week-long trip. Dennis and LuAnn have one daughter Ruby. Next month we will meet Ruby and her family in their service to FCC.
Submitted by Cindy White and LuAnn Chaffin
Published in the October 2017 addition of the "Bell."
Ruby Zubrod (Chafffin) is the daughter of Dennis and Luan Chaffin. Ruby and her family represent her family’s heritage as the Ruby was born in 1980 in Fort Collins CO. 4th and 5th generation to worship and service God at FCC. Growing up at FCC Ruby was a member of Chi-Rho and Christian Youth Fellowship. She was also a member of Logos, which is much like vacation bible school. She was an active participant in church camp, president of the youth group and on the board of youth activities. She met and fell in love with Kody Zubrod during their high school years. They were both a part of the high school band. They were married in 2001 and lived in Grand Junction Colorado, where Ruby earned her PhD in Audiology. The Zubrod’s have two children, Rosalie and Drew. When the family returned to live in Cheyenne these two generations became active at FCC. Ruby now works with youth and often is the teacher of the kid’s sermon during Sunday worship service. Ruby is active in the Christian Women’s Fellowship. Kody is often in the projection production during Sunday worship services. Ruby started an audiology business upon her return to Cheyenne that business is consolidated with Brandt Audiology. The Zubrod children are active in the Kids’ Sermon, Kids Zone and church camp. Outside of church, they fill their time with involvement in Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, soccer, baseball, and gymnastics. FCC is blessed to have this part of the family back with in our congregation.
Submitted by Cindy White and LuAnn Chaffin
Published in the November 2017 edition of "Bell"
I, Ruth (Pace) Reynolds was born and raised in Hillsdale, Wyoming, a small town 20 miles east of Cheyenne. My walk in the Christian life began when I was in the 6th grade. I attended a revival meeting in my church, Hillsdale Methodist Church, and made the decision to accept Christ as my savior. I did not experience flashing lights or sudden revelations. My home life prior to this time was one of a caring family who taught me honesty and integrity and the value of responsibilities both on the farm where I grew up and in school. My 6th grade teacher taught Christian values within the course of teaching us reading writing, and arithmetic…….something that sadly cannot be done today. I attended church throughout my school years and was active in the youth fellowships, and after my marriage served as a Sunday school superintendent and Bible school teacher.
Always in the back of my mind were thoughts of trying to live more closely as Christ would have me live. I have a deep conviction of the golden rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Along with the golden rule, I have a very firm belief in always being truthful in every situation.
As I have grown, both in years, and in maturity in the lord, I know that God has helped me gain more patience, which is definitely an ongoing project, that he is always “There” to comfort me, to lead me, to strengthen me.
My prayer life is an essential part of my day, every day, as is my morning devotions and time with God. I use The Secret Place as a basis for my devotions and throughout the day ponder often on the message and scriptures from that source. I personally do not think I have to be in a church sanctuary or chapel or on my knees to pray. I often pray, in supplication, praise, and thanksgiving as I am going about my daily routine.
As I went through a divorce after a long time of trying to decide what to do in that situation, losing my first baby who was stillborn, entering the work place in my mid 30’s, raising 3 children, remarrying, and experiencing some rather serious health problems, I absolutely know without a doubt that my Savior was there with me all the way. I could not have done it alone!
I have told many, many people that my life may be the only Bible some folks read –that is a sobering thought to me, and I think should be to others as whatever actions I take or statements I make may influence others without me ever knowing about that impact.
I thank God that he cared enough to send his son to save me. When I place that in a personal perspective, I am absolutely in awe that he could love me that much, the least I can do is to strive to do better each day in living a Christian loving caring life and pray for the understanding of just how to do that every day! Written by Ruth Reynolds
By the Grace of God, we at FCC have been blessed by the Four Generations of the Reynolds-Pace family. Ruth and her three children, Danny, Debbie and Doyle started attending FCC in 1969. Ruth’s parents Elvis and Maxine along with Ruth’s grandmother joined the church in the 1970’s.
Over the years, Ruth has assisted with Vacation Bible Schools, assisted, then chaired the Journey Though Bethlehem productions, served as an Elder, chaired the Pastoral Search Committee in 2002-03, served on the Pastor Relations Committee, substituted in church office in the absence of the office manager, helped with the Church Bell Mailings, is a member of the Martha-Ruth Group, served on the Finance, Worship, Education and Evangelism Committees, and served as Trustee.
Thanks be to God for his servants which came from this loving devoted family! Written by Cindy White
Published in the December 2017 Issue of the church BELL
We at First Christian Church (DOC) were blessed on January 20, 2013 to have Verla and Dave Jerde join our congregation. This couple was born in South Dakota, but did not meet until they were students at Black Hills Teachers College in 1961. They were married at a Methodist church in 1962. For most of their married life, they lived and had their careers in Casper, Wyoming. Dave was a high school counselor and Verla an elementary school librarian. Both are retired at this time. The Jerdes have two grown sons, both who live in Cheyenne. This devoted couple were drawn to FCC because we join in communion each Sunday. Weekly communion is central to Disciples of Christ congregations. Dave said that he is drawn close to the Lord because “Sometimes that is all that is left.” With that statement, he depends on the Lord to always be near. The Jerdes have a card ministry for FCC members. They make individual cards and send them to members, much to the delight of those who receive them.
Submitted By Cindy White
Published in the January 2018 Issue of the church BELL
Welcome Bob Crosby
Bob was born on February 15, 1960 in Cheyenne, WY. He has one brother. Bob graduated from East High School and has an Associate’s Degree in Welding and Metal Fabrication from LCCC.
He loves all things western and is a cowboy personified. He worked from age 10 for 25 years for a local veterinarian. He loves rodeo, hunting, fishing, roping, and riding his horses in the mountains.
Bob married in 1984 and has a married daughter, Andrea and a son Brian. They both make their homes in Cheyenne. Bob attended Zion Congregation Church and then the Cowboy Church until it closed its doors. Bob has been attending FCC for the last 2 years. He pitches in whenever he sees a need. He has shoveled our walks during the winter, helped with dishes, clean up after a church dinner, and worked on the float for the Cheyenne Christmas Parade.
Bob currently works for the Laramie County School District.
He loves the Cow Boy way of life. He states, “There is no better life here on earth.” I am happy to say that Bob is also one of my good neighbors and I am grateful for his friendship. Submitted by Cindy White
Published in the February 2018 Issue of the church BELL
Meet Robyn Yetka
Robyn was born in 1945 in Los Angeles, California. She grew up in the San Fernando Valley and later lived in Manhattan Beach, CA. The landscape at that time was rural with lovely orange groves compared to a “concrete city” that we find today. Robyn went to Humboldt State University in the wood country. Her major was in sociology with a minor in natural resources. She loves living in a small community. During college, Robyn was married and had her daughter, Chemine (known as C.J.) During college she worked as a nurses aid. It takes a lot of energy to be a wife, mother, student and work all at the same time. After graduation, Robyn worked as a Medical Social Worker at County Hospital and later at Child Protective Services.
Next she was off to Physicians Assistant school at Stanford, University. She was one of three students out of 150 to be chosen for that program. Pretty impressive!!! While preparing for that program , Robyn needed money or school. After talking with her Pastor, Robyn went home to pray. While kneeling in prayer she said these words to God, “Whatever you want I will accept.” The next day, God made it very clear to Robyn that he wanted her to become a Physicians Assistant, Gods timing is indeed perfect! The next morning after her prayer of submission Robyn's friends called to say that since their children were not going to college, they wanted to use the money that they had saved for that purpose to sponsor Robyn through Physician Assistant school. What a divinely inspired and precious gift she received! During the next ten years Robyn worked in Correctional Medicine. It was a dangerous job. She was attacked by the inmate; but Robyn believes that God gave her the right words to say to that inmate, which caused him to stop his attack. Robyn knows that her guardian angel was protecting her at the moment. She claims the Biblical verse from Matthew, when Jesus speaks of the prisoners, “As you shall do unto the least of these, you shall do unto me.”
When her second husband, John, and she were married she reorganized her life. The moved to Cheyenne, in 1992. C.J. also moved to Cheyenne where an auto accident also changed her life. Robyn was able to help her daughter through that difficult time.
Today, Robyn lives North-West, outside of town with her horse, Dude, her Pyrenees dog, Zack, and her big cat, Max. Robyn loves the it there and doesn't mind if she gets snowed in. Church has been a big part of her life since 1980. Robyn has been part of FCC since 2006. She is in charge of preparing and serving communion each Sunday . Robyn believes it is our Christian duty to care for each other and to let that service guide our lives. She says “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” FCC congregation is truly blessed to have Robyn with us! Submitted by Pastor Cindy White
Published in the March 2018 Issue of the church "Bell"
Meet Lea Bain (Leona Parks)
Lea was born in 1947 in Snyder, Oklahoma, which is “Native American Land.” She is of Irish and English descent, but has a great affinity for the Native American “Old Ways”; as her family also traveled the trail of tears. Lea attended kindergarten through 12th grade in Enid, Oklahoma. While studying at Oklahoma State University she earned a double major in Business Management and Economics with a minor in International Business. She studied in Japan for a year as part of her degree program. Lea grew up and was baptized in the Evangelical United Brethren Church and then left the formal church setting until she was in her fifties.
In her adult years, Lea sponsored a Vietnamese refugee family (boat people) and assisted them with their assimilation into a new way of living. She has tutored students in a virtual school and today has one student. Lea lives her life with awareness of needs of diverse populations in our society. She rises to the occasion to help however she can. It is apparent that Lea loves all people.
While still in Oklahoma, Lea joined the Christian Church of the Covenant (DOC). Here in Cheyenne she is dedicated to serving as First Christian Church Financial Secretary. Lea has one daughter, Robin Spencer of Enid, Oklahoma, one grand daughter Sheila Rockwell, and two great grand children, Lexie and Michael. She is the mother of Russ Bain and mother in law of Kathy Bain (FCC Office Manager), which has allowed her to be grand mother of two grand sons Kyle Lynn and Jesse Painter and great grand mother of Caden Painter. We here at FCC are so very happy that Lea shares her talents with our congregation and has made her service a family affair.
Submitted by Pastor Cindy White
Published in the June 2018 Issue of the church "Bell"
Meet the Baker Family
Derek Barker is a fourth-generation Disciple at FCC. That history began with his great grandmother, Dorothy Heneryard and his great aunt Emily in the 1920’s. His grandmother, Laura Watson grew up at FCC as did Derek and his mother, Sherie Schlabs. Sabrina Barker was born to a military family, and they settled here in Cheyenne when she was seven. Her family attended St, Mary’s church and a Methodist congregation as well.
Sabrina works at the Cheyenne Skin Clinic, and Derek is a route driver and maintenance provider for Candy Line Company; in addition he has his own handyman/property management business. Sabrina and Derek’s two children, Sabrina (age 13), and Tristan (age 6), both attend youth programs at FCC.
For family fun the Barkers enjoy being outside, going to the park, and fishing and camping. They have a pet dog named Dixie; she is one year old and training to be a service dog.
FCC is blessed to have this delightful family in our congregation!
Submitted by Pastor Cindy White
Published in the July 2018 Issue of the church "Bell
Each month, “The Bell” features a story of introduction about a church member. Hopefully these stories will encourage us to become acquainted with, and make a new friend.
Pam Rogers is a new church member here at FCC. She was born in 1948 in Indiana. As an adult, she became a very talented social worker with Elementary Education students and their families. She helped this population for nineteen years. I personally believe Pam passed on many of her social work skills to her daughter Kathy Bain, who was also a social worker before working at FCC.
Pam was married and had four children, one boy and three girls. Sadly, her second daughter died in 2001. Several years after her daughters passing, Pam and Dr. Rocky Rogers, DVM, were married. Shortly after she married, Pam moved to Rocky Rogers ranch located a short distance south of the Wyoming/Colorado border on highway 25. This provided a wonderful experience being on the ranch with animals, having open space, and in general a close family. When Rocky’s health failed, Pam returned to Cheyenne to be near her children.
The whole family enjoys traveling and recently took a fun filled trip to Mexico. Please welcome Pam to our congregation as First Christian Church is truly blessed to have her with us.
—Submitted by Cindy White
Published in the March 2019 Issue of the church "Bell"
Meet the Hammons
It is my pleasure to introduce Debbie and Larry to our congregation. They have recently returned to our congregation from a sabbatical after being away for several years. It is difficult for me to speak about Debbie and Larry individually since they met at a Baptist church in California when she was 9 and he was 12; but I’ll try. Debbie was born in Moline, Illinois in 1954 to Robert and our very own member Carolyn Swafford. Debbie is the oldest of five Swafford children. The Swaffords were a military family. Robert was stationed with the navy in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Illinois and California. Debbie said as a “military brat” it was difficult to make new friends with each move. Because they were together, she appreciated her brothers and sisters even more. Her Dad was a navy medic assigned to the marines for three tours in Vietnam. Robert and his family suffered the effects of that horrific combat. Since Larry and Debbie had grown up together as children, they became close and were married at a young age. She was 17 and he was 21.
Stay tuned for the 2nd part of this article in the Bell in April.
Submitted by Pastor Cindy White
Published in the April 2019 Issue of the church "Bell"
The Hammon’s Story (Continued)
We will follow this young couple after their wedding to present day.
Soon Larry joined the air force, and the family’s first tour was in Spain. And then Montana, Idaho, Texas, and Wyoming. The Hammons have two children, a daughter living in Cheyenne and a son living in Longmont, Colorado. They have three grandchildren living in Ireland, and a grandson living in Longmont. They have a great, great grandson living here in Cheyenne. During Larry’s tours of service in Great Falls, Montana in 1981, and Rapid City, South Dakota in 1985, the family joined Christian churches in both towns. So it was for them to follow that tradition in Cheyenne to join FCC. Here at FCC, Larry was chair of the financial committee, and Debbie served as hospitality chairman. Their daughter Jesse taught Sunday school. They sang in the choir and Debbie worked with the children’s choir.
Sadly, in 1991, Larry lost both parents. When grief counseling was not available at FCC, the family found solace at another place of worship. Now for the fun part of their story: The Hammon’s hobby is medieval history. Working with SBA, Society for Creative Anachronism, they assist with administrative decisions for that group. Larry is a target archer and fights in armored combat. He has fashioned his own sword and shield. He and Debbie have created their Welsh Medieval personas. Larry leans to learning more about the Knights Templar, and Debbie has fashioned and constructed their costumes. Debbie has made a five-year study of period cooking and specializing in “bread.” She has researched period grains, leaven, and flour. Both Debbie and Larry will be happy to share their medieval expertise with church groups. They enjoy participating in medieval wars, and soon will be off to Phoenix to join 500 others warriors.
The Hammon’s are avid big game hunters here in Wyoming. They process their harvest, and hope to expand their hunting territory to Canada and Alaska in the future. It was a true joy to visit with Debbie and Larry, our church is blessed to have them back with us.
*I also interviewed the church members who work for the Wyoming State Legislature. Their article will be in the May issue of the Bell.
Submitted by: Cindy White
Published in the May 2019 Issue of the Church "Bell"
Meet FCC Legislative Assistants
A few short weeks ago, four of our members served to aid the process of the Wyoming State Legislature. In this article, we will address the duties and impact of two members of that group; next month’s Bell article will state the duties and hard work of the second two. They all worked tirelessly in that process. As you read these articles, keep in mind that in our United States of America, church and state are held sacred and separate, but these four members of our FCC congregation take the love of Christ with them to this endeavor.
Pastor Bob served as Chaplain for a week, during which time he tried to bring some peace and harmony to the legislative body with his power daily prayers. With Pastor Bob permission, one of his prayers appears below:
“O Creator God:
To set the context for the strange blessings of this day: We meet in this place to put a bit of order into the chaos of life, for that is what government tries to do. We try to sort through diverse opinions and complicated scenarios in search of that sacred place of middle ground, for it is in that place that rights of all are respected, and the people’s business is successfully done.
You have given us, O Creator, the gifts of our own creativities to accomplish this. Thank you for the blessings of imagination, that allow new solutions to be created that apply to long-standing problems. Bless us with continued vision that allow us to pursue new ideas that address new and old complexities of life. And grant, O God, continued grace that allow all the people of this state to be patient with the process, the always continuous process, of governance. Amen.”
It is with the strength and grace of these prayers that the members of the Legislature can enter each day with focus and stamina.
Thank you, Pastor Bob.
We move on to introducing the service of legislature star, Andrea Cook. Andrea is the longest serving contributor to the legislature from FCC having served since 1988.
Andrea writes about her service as follows:
I’ve always been interested in politics, and particularly Wyoming history. In 1988, after a session as an intern, I was honored to be hired on the House side for the state legislature. For several years, I was the assistant journal clerk, but with the advent of computers, that job was eliminated and I became the house receptionist, a position I’ve held to this day. Here I work closely with lobbyists, visitors, local pastors, the legislators and staff, providing information regarding bills, schedules, and daily agendas -- in general, acting as a hostess in the lobby. What a wonderful opportunity it has been to meet people from all over the state, many of whom have become good friends -- also, to learn, understand, and appreciate how government works. Having just finished thirty-two sessions in the house(longest on the staff), I now look forward to next year working in our beautifully restored capital. I hope you will visit Wyoming’s “Crown Jewel”. It’s going to be spectacular!
What wonderful dedicated service.
Thank you Andrea.
Next month we will hear from the voices of Jackie Whitehead and Linda Chasson as they share their legislative work with us.
Submitted by: Cindy White
Published in the June 2019 Issue of the Church "Bell"
--A Continuing Story--
Last month, we interviewed Pastor Bob and Andrea Cook about their volunteer work with Wyoming State Legislature. This month we continue talking about the service of two other dedicated FCC members who are regularly involved in legislative service.
Linda Chasson worked in a very responsible position with the Health Department for many years. There she gained leadership skills that serve her and others wherever she works. She displays many other work skills that she mastered during her work years and easily transferred them to work with Wyoming State Legislature. Now that she is retired, Linda works on the Senate side of legislature, serving as a committee secretary for the House and Transportation Committees. This involved many hard hours of work. She has enjoyed getting to know Senators from around the state. It was very interesting and educational.
Jackie Whitehead has worked for three years in the Senate. She worked as a Senate assistant, seeing to the needs of the Senators and keeping all communications in order. She said she has learned so much about the law-making process and has made good friends through that experience. She loves Wyoming. She looks forward to being in the renovated Capitol next session. Even though in the United States we honor separation of church and state, these four church members from FCC served the Wyoming State Legislature through the grace of God. With their competent skills and yet gentle spirits they displayed their Christian stance in life through their abilities and love for Jesus to serve. Thanks to all who work long hours to serve in this way.
Submitted by: Cindy White
Published in the July 2019 Issue of the Church "Bell"
How the West was won with help from FCC Heritage Families
This church, FCC of Cheyenne, has several families who represent many generations of early Wyomingites: Starting in July, we will honor these FCC Heritage families with stories told by their present day members. We look forward to celebrating Frontier days by reading the history of the Bondurant family. Other families will have their story told in months to come. Happy trails and God Bless.
Published in the August 2019 Issue of the Church "Bell"
FCC Heritage Families
I hope you are enjoying celebrating Frontier Days. Our celebration of FCC Heritage families will continue in the next few months as we learn from present day family members about how their lifestyles differed from ours of today. The idea that our history (our story) has shaped who we are today will be evident as the values of the Code of the West, those of integrity, perseverance and hope will become even more alive in the articles to come.
Due to shortness of space dedicated to these articles, they may include the pioneer spirit of two branches of one family over a course of two months. Our first pioneer family is the Bondurant’s. [Yes, the town of Bondurant, WY is named for this family.] Both Jay and Meredith have deep Wyoming pioneer roots. In August, we will talk about Jay’s sides of the family and in September we will share stories about Meredith’s family.
Jay’s paternal grandmother's family came as immigrants from Holland in the late 1870’s traveling across the country on their way to Oregon. Along the way they wintered in southwest Wyoming, stayed there and became cattle ranchers. Of course, this was the time of the horse and buggy transportation. They made their own home brand of entertainment with music, playing the organ, piano and guitar which bonded the family ever closer.
They established the now non-existent town of Hamsfork, and the town of Opal (pronounced O-pal) which became a railroad stop for marketing cattle. This was about twelve miles south of Kemmerer in southwestern Wyoming. Jay’s great-grandfather Bondurant ran a trading post/general store where members of the Shoshone and Arapaho tribes would often come to trade and he would also hunt with them. In 1928, Jay’s mother moved from northeast Kansas to Cheyenne. That was during the time that FCC was being established.
She met Jay’s father upon his return from the North African and Italian campaigns of WWII while he was stationed at Fort F. E Warren. They married and Jay was born in 1947. In the 1950’s Jay’s grandfather Bondurant would go to the Wyoming State Museum and proudly point out pictures of two Native American men and tell his family that these men would often come to his father's trading post. Jay and his family are third generation members of FCC and continue with service to FCC that was begun so long ago. If you want to learn more about Jay’s side of this family, check the Laramie County Library for Branches And Twigs or ask Jay to tell you more.
Submitted by: Cindy White and Jay Bondurant
Published in the September 2019 Issue of the Church "Bell"
- First Christian Church Heritage story -
Bondurant family continued…
I hope you enjoyed the article last month which talked about Jay’s side of this pioneer family. We will now continue with Meredith’s side of the family. Meredith’s maternal grandfather, Jesse Roseboom, fought in the army in Cuba with Teddy Roosevelt in 1898.
He married Lola Halliwell in 1900 and worked as a conductor on the UP railroad from 1900-1942.
In 1901 the government was using the Homestead Act to allow people to live on a piece of land with the stipulation that they stay for seven years and make improvements to the property. Jesse and his new bride took advantage of this program to set their claim to a home for their new family. The young Mrs. Roseboom and their three oldest children stayed on the homestead while her husband worked hard with the railroad. During the years of the family’s homesteading adventure, Mr. Roseboom would take supplies up from Cheyenne to Glendo each month and then return to Cheyenne to work. Imagine how different that was from the conveniences we enjoy today. There were no stores close by if you ran out of milk. The family built a sod house lined with stones. They helped others who were homesteading and participated in barn raising and received help in return with projects. That’s how things were done back then.
Scripture tells us in Luke 10:19 that God gave man “the authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy” and that “nothing will harm you”; and in Psalms 91:3 also says that “you will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.” Mrs. Roseboom must have taken these words literally. Often snakes would slither through the cracks of the house. At those times, she would incapacitate the snake with her bullwhip, place a large rock on the snake’s head and then stand on the rock. Understand that Mrs. Roseboom was a slight woman of only about a hundred pounds, but she was a trailblazer and a true pioneer woman who did what needed to be done. The result was – DEAD SNAKES!
Today the Roseboom homestead is under the water of Glendo Reservoir. In 1918, the family moved back to Cheyenne and built a home on 19th Street. This the house where both Meredith's mother and aunt were born. This also the home were Meredith grew up. Meredith's family then built and moved to a new home in Buffalo Ridge in 1957 when she was eight years old. She later met and married Jay. They came to be members of FCC in 1981 where she is also a member of the CWF and Jay is a deacon and they are part of Family Promise.
Submitted by: Pastor Cindy White and Jay and Meredith Bondurant
Published in the December 2019 Issue of the Church "Bell"
A CENTURY OF LOVE AND SERVICE
(Because of its length, this article will be divided into two parts.)
This month we recognize an FCC family who began their service to God more than one hundred years ago. Family names have changed during that long period of time, but their faithfulness has not.
The year was 1906 when the Christensen family left their home in Denmark and moved to Cheyenne via Nova Scotia, Canada. In their new home, they soon established The Plains Dairy, which was in business for 62 years. They bought their milk from local farmers. It was a popular business and today there are still those at FCC who fondly remember their milk being delivered to their doors.
Neils and Esther Christensen had three daughters, Louise, Dorothy and Joanne. In 1925 Reverend Hannah arrived in Cheyenne with the goal of beginning a Christian church. Neils and Esther were among those he recruited to go door to door visiting with residents to discover their interest in a new Cheyenne church. That began the family dedication to First Christian Church. In 1927, when the church doors opened Dorothy was pushed in her baby carriage from the temporary church (Schrader’s Funeral Home) meeting place to 27th Street and Carey Ave. The Christensen worked tirelessly to “grow” FCC. Esther would organize church women to donate flour and sugar. They would bake cookies, sell them and proudly give the money to Reverend Hannah to pay the electric bill.
During World War II and after, the Christensen supported the troops by inviting solders to attend church and then be their guest in their home for Sunday dinner. One of these young men was Larry Gunton. Dorothy and Larry fell in love and were married at FCC in 1947. They were married for 72 years. The family later, as they would say about Larry, “Guess who came to dinner and never left.” Dorothy and Larry supported FCC in every possible way throughout their long happy marriage. It was with the church sadness that the FCC congregation said farewell to this sweet faithful couple earlier this year. Stay tuned for more of this wonderful Christian
family next month.
Submitted by Pastor Cindy White