Hydesville Community Church - July 2021
Hydesville Community Church (HCC) is located in an unincorporated area of Humboldt County at the intersection of Rohnerville Road and State Highway 36 (3296 Highway 36, Hydesville, CA 95547; Mailing Address: PO Box 609, Hydesville, CA 95547). HCC is a partner with the Evangelical Free Church of America and the Western District, EFCA.
The church is situated on approximately three acres of land and is completely debt-free. The original church building is older with a historic architectural design. However, remodels and updates have been and continue to be made inside enabling the facility to include a Worship Center that seats about 220 people with a foyer; a Fellowship Hall with an ample, recently remodeled kitchen; a children’s wing with a small, enclosed playground; and office space. Connected to the church property is a field that is owned by the church and is used for youth activities and worship services during the summer months.
Congregation Participation and Demographics
Current, the average total attendance from two Sunday services and online streaming of both services is around 160 people. The Children’s Ministry held during the second Sunday service (Kids Rock, grades PreK-6th) sees 12-20 participants each week. HCC has robust, mid-week adult small groups with two women’s Bible studies, four men’s Bible studies, and two couples’ Bible study groups.
While HCC does consist of a multi-generational congregation, the majority of church attendees are 60+, with middle-aged individuals and young families as the second-largest age demographic present and young adults and teens comprising the smallest percentage of regular attendees. Ethnic and socioeconomic diversity is low, but this is consistent and reflective of the local community demographics.
The original church building was erected in 1889. At this time, Hydesville was home to two other churches, but by 1910, the Methodist Church had closed its doors, and by 1918, the Congregational Church who met in HCC’s original building had dwindled to just a few people. At this time, it was decided that the Congregational Church and the First Christian Church would merge. However, serious problems arose as two pastors tried to gain control of the newly combined congregation, and consequently, attendance declined until the church’s doors were ultimately closed.
A few years after the failed merger, the doors of the church were reopened by a local resident, Mrs. Rowley, who started a Sunday school. Eventually, two laymen assumed the pastorate, restarted church services, and renamed the church “Hydesville Community Church.” In 1961, under the leadership of Pastor Dewayne Flohr, HCC joined the Evangelical Free Church of America.
Facility updating and remodeling history began in 1956 when restrooms were added, along with lowering the sanctuary’s ceiling, adding four classrooms, and making space for a pastor’s study and nursery. In 1974, the corner lot was purchased, and in 1980, a Fellowship Hall, kitchen, new restrooms, nursery, and a Fireside Hall were added. A congregational survey in 1986, revealed the need to increase the seating capacity in the sanctuary, and in 1989, the church voted to add a new Sunday school wing, hire a new associate pastor, and remodel the sanctuary.
In 1997, computers arrived at HCC and the house next door was purchased and paid off. The church continued to grow and on Palm Sunday, 2000, a third worship service was added on Sunday nights. In 2003, the church approved an Elder Board form of church governance and updated its constitution. In 2010, the parking lot was paved.
2020 brought new challenges and opportunities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, a concerted effort was made to live-stream the Sunday services to enable families who were sheltering-in-place to continue participating in regular worship. In June, the church said good-bye to their long-time pastor, Michael Delmarian, who had served faithfully for over 37 years. His retirement also saw the addition of an Intentional Interim Pastor, Patrick Allen, to help in the process of finding a new, permanent senior pastor. Pastor Mike and his wife, Joan, are still attending the church, and have begun working with the Legacy Coalition, a ministry to grandparents who want to have a positive impact on the lives of their grandchildren.
Also in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the church began the first of their “Worship in the Field” experiences during the summer, bringing the church family together in one service. With the success and enthusiastic congregational response to this summer service model, leadership decided to make “Worship in the Field” a yearly summer experience. In light of this summer experience, plans were made and work began to tear down two old sheds and move four storage containers, remodel the backside of the church, create easier access to the field, build two new storage sheds, and add a patio area with more accessible parking. This project is currently still in process; however, great improvements to the field have been made included leveling the field and adding grass, building a new stage, and running electricity out to the field. “Worship in the Field” services have restarted for the summer of 2021.
Previous Pastors and Years of Ministry
Rev. A.R. McCollough (1894-1895)
There were several years when there was no church service. While a Sunday school was started around 1903, there are few records from that time
Rev. C.P. Cone (1896)
Rev. Floyd Anderson (1948-1952)
Rev. Roland Meyers (1952-1953)
Rev. Ernest Quaintance (1953-1957)
Pastor Dewayne Flohr (1958-1963)
Pastor Jim Best (1963-1965)
Pastor John Campbell (1965-1969)
Pastor Walter Cahill (1970-1974)
Pastor Bob Dillingham (1976-1982)
Pastor David Hamm – Interim (1983)
Pastor Michael Delmarian III (1983-2020)
Rev. Patrick Allen – Interim (July 2020 - Present)