A Brief History of Community Bible Church

Strawberry Point, IA


The group which is now known as Community Bible Church first met on Sunday, November 23, 1975.  For the first seven months, the group met in the home of Larry and Linda Jellings on the farm then owned by Doris Roys (approximately 2 miles west of Volga).  That group included the Bruce Bowdishes, the Ray Gienapps, the Gary Jellings, the Larry Jellings, Doris Roys, the Gale Seversons, and the Jim Whitfords.


After meeting with several representatives from denominations and churches, the group contacted Cedar Valley Bible Church (CVBC) of Cedar Rapids.  The goal was to understand the biblical pattern for a New Testament church.  Tom Fogle, an assistant pastor from CVBC first taught on Sunday, January 4, 1976.


At first, the group functioned under congregational church government with Bruce Bowdish as chairperson until June 6, 1976.  Ray Gienapp was then elected chairperson and served in that capacity until an elder form of government was implemented.  Based on the qualifications within the 1 Timothy and Titus passages, Ray Gienapp and Gale Severson were the first elders.  Tom Fogle, Larry Jellings, and Russ Ramsey served as the first deacons.


While considering Volga Valley Church as a name, the group decided that Strawberry Point might be a more feasible town in which to meet.  The group chose the name Community Bible Church (CBC) and began meeting in the basement of the Franklin Hotel in Strawberry Point on June 27, 1976.  Sunday school classes met in the homes of Russ Ramsey, Gale Severson, Tom Strauss, and the parsonage (once built).  Tom Fogle and Dennis Oelschlaeger, assistant pastors of CVBC alternated every other Sunday coming to Strawberry Point to teach the Bible at CBC from June 1976 through May 1977.


Tom Fogle and his family moved to Strawberry Point in June of 1977 to become the first pastor/teacher.  The house just east of the Hoover Hatchery was rented for them.  During this year, June 1977 to June 1978, a parsonage was being constructed at 213 Prospect Street.


The second pastor/teacher was Lowry Foster.  He came in October 1978 with his family and moved into the newly constructed parsonage and ministered here until February of 1981.  


In July of 1981, Bruce Klett became the third pastor/teacher.  He and his family lived in the parsonage until it was sold about 10 years later allowing the Kletts to purchase their own house. 

In June of 1981, approximately three acres of land located in the far southwest part of Strawberry Point was purchased from Earl Swales for the purpose of constructing a church building.  Goodman Builders of Joplin, MO drew up blue prints for the structure.  Construction began in the spring of 1987 with Dave Selden hired to co-ordinate the project with the work being done primarily by volunteers.  The first meeting in the new building was held on May 1, 1988.


The church continually seeks to conform itself to the New Testament. 

  May 2020  
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