The year was 1941. Ted and I had moved into a second floor furnished apartment on East Second Street in Jamestown with our first child.

The young man in the apartment across the hall from us got in trouble with the law for drinking and disorderly conduct. When he went to court, the judge sentenced him to go to church a specified number of times. There was a church located on East Second Street right by our apartment, so our neighbor chose to attend that one. It was the storefront C&MA Church.

Ted asked our neighbor how he liked it when he got back. The neighbor reported that the church had an orchestra and the music was really good. Ted loved music, so we decided to go experience the church ourselves. The regular pastor, Rev. Hall, was out of town, so Norman Carpenter was preaching that day. After the message we responded to the altar call and got saved.

Ture Nordstrom, a member of the church orchestra, was a gifted violinist and songwriter. He took an interest in our young family and became a life-long friend and mentor. He was often at our home playing music with Ted.

Charles and Marjorie Morse reached out to us and became spiritual parents to us, as did Norman Carpenter and his wife, Irma.

The spiritual family of the Jamestown C&MA Church encouraged us and helped us when we had a house fire. At that time we had three young children and a newborn. Fran Ecklund shared her boy’s clothes. Packages come to us in the mail anonymously, but we knew they were from church members. “Aunt” Marjorie Morse helped our family in numerous ways during that time, even providing housing.

I thank God for the 78 years that the C&MA Church has ministered to me and my family. Sunday School teachers like Violet Lilly, George and Jane Daughenbaugh, Stan and Evelyn Erickson, Mrs. Harold Hill (a former pastor’s wife), Emily Newell and others helped to instill in our five children a love for God. And, I am so very thankful for the godly men who have served as our pastors throughout the years.

I will forever be grateful to that judge who sentenced our neighbor to attend church. God worked things for our good. He gave us a spiritual family.

submitted by Evelyn Russell


Editor’s note – All five of the Russell children became Christians. Two went on to serve as pastor’s wives their entire careers. All are involved in churches today, including Jeane Sherman who is still an active member and vibrant part of the Jamestown C&MA Church.

Above the Alliance Orchestra as it was in 1935.