Our History

Bigfork Chapel found it’s beginning in October of 1953 under the leadership of Rev. Evelyn Peterson. Even in her early 20’s, Rev. Peterson felt called to minister in the flathead valley and would travel to the logging camps throughout the area holding services. Years later, shortly after her son Eugene (Author of The Message Bible) graduated from Seattle Pacific College, he encouraged his mother to start a church in Bigfork. The vision for Bigfork Chapel was born.

Initially, services were held Sunday afternoons in a schoolhouse on Cascade Avenue in Bigfork. In early 1954, a full schedule of services was begun, consisting of Sunday morning and evening services as well as Sunday School and a Wednesday night prayer meeting. Rev. Peterson considered prayer to be a vital aspect of the Christian life and made it one of the foundations of Bigfork Chapel. The Wednesday night prayer meetings would begin with a song and a scripture reading, followed by at least an hour of prayer for families, friends and the community.

When the church began, the congregation consisted of only the Petersons and one other family, but grew quickly and in 1957 with attendance growing, it was time to build a larger building.

Land was purchased in Bigfork to house the new Chapel. That building is located at 833 Grand Avenue, behind the fire hall. On August 12, 1959 it was dedicated debt free.

When Rev. Peterson retired in early 1967, she had pastored at Bigfork Chapel for nearly 14 years total.

Rev. Dennis Masters became pastor in March of 1967 and the church continued to see growth. They met in the building behind the fire hall until 1980 when congregation growth once again necessitated a larger facility.

Land was donated for a building just outside of Bigfork on Highway 83, and construction began. The congregation met in the basement fellowship hall for a number of years until the sanctuary was completed under the leadership of Rev. Chuck Tucker, who became pastor in spring of 1986. With seating for over 200 people, the sanctuary allowed for weddings and other special events as well as room for considerable congregation growth. The remainder of the facility houses classrooms, offices and a library as well as the spacious fellowship hall.

Under Rev. Tucker, many improvements were made to the church facilities, including a baptismal, altars for the sanctuary, and significant updates to the exterior of the building. Later, a larger foyer was added to the front of the building. This facility was paid off in 2006 under Rev. Richard Stewart, and the church now operates debt free.

Bigfork Chapel’s history shows a rich tradition of prayer. This is evident in the focus that Rev. Evelyn Peterson placed on prayer meetings, and is still seen today through the Intercessory Prayer team that meets weekly on Thursdays, and our monthly Encountering God service. There are families still attending Bigfork Chapel who were present either when the church was founded or who came to Christ during the early years. God has been faithful to strengthen the body of believers at Bigfork Chapel throughout the years, both in number but also in faith.

Where Bigfork Chapel is today is a tribute to God’s grace and provision as well as the leadership of Rev. Peterson, Rev. Masters and Rev. Tucker as they were faithful to the vision that God placed in their hearts for a church in Bigfork, MT. Today, we carry on that vision as we continue to share the love of Christ with our community and the world.