Thanks to Jim Evans for snapping this recent photo of the original FBC Wayland building. I helped build this building with my own hands–when I was six.
Lois and Hope and I are in Oregon visiting Jesse and Holly this week on a vacation. We have seen many of the local sites, Cannon Beech, Haystack Rock, the Astoria Column, Mt. Hood, and Multnomah Falls. There is much, much more to see. Our first morning we had breakfast at a coffee shop built out on an old cannery built on pilings over the Columbia River. We sipped our coffee and ate amazing lemon and blueberry muffins overlooking the vast waterway. Out in the mouth of the Columbia River huge ships were at anchor. It is a place of stunning beauty.
Yesterday we enjoyed a great service at Coastline Christian Fellowship then strolled along the streets of Astoria’s Sunday open-air market among sounds of a folk band and smells of street-vendor food. Today we are spending time with Jesse and Holly and some of their friends, quietly remembering the war dead, and longing for our nation to return to God.
Thank You, Jim Parmalee
by Ken Pierpont
Jim Parmalee was a Marine ROTC from Wheaton College. He was a farm boy from Michigan. When I was a boy of about 6 years old. He and his family owned the house we lived in. It was the home-place of their family farm. They donated it to the church to use as a parsonage. The lived just down the road and we saw them every day and worshipped with them on Sunday. My Dad was the founding pastor of the church First Baptist Church of Wayland, Michigan.
Jim was a strong, athletic young man. I remember him leaning a ladder against a shed and going up and down the ladder like it was a staircase without using his hands. In my six-year-old eyes he was a young man of heroic qualities. In just a short time he would be a hero to everyone. He went off to Vietnam. He never returned.
One day Dad was walking me through the church building and pointed out the new carpet. He said; “Kenny, when Jim Parmalee died his parents used the insurance money to donate the carpet for the church. That was in 1963. My Dad told me it was anonymous. Jim’s dad, Russell died last year at 102. Today is Memorial Day. I thought it would be O.K. to tell our secret today.
I’m remembering First Baptist Church in Wayland, Michigan and the Parmalee family and the sacrifice Jim made so that we could enjoy a strong, free nation today.
“Seaside Bed and Breakfast”
May 25, 2015