Johnson Corners Wesleyan Church is a rural church in McKenzie County with both a long history of and a vision for effective ministry locally and around the world. In regard to our history, we have been instrumental in helping plant several new Wesleyan churches, supporting missions especially through Global Partners and World Hope International, founding and supporting Johnson Corners Christian Academy, and equipping people to live for God’s glory in McKenzie County.
In regard to our vision, we aim to communicate the Word of God and the gospel effectively and naturally. We aim to love, disciple, and equip children and their families for service. We desire to raise up people who are passionate about Jesus and the Word of God. Johnson Corners Wesleyan Church will continue to be generous and selectively focused in our support of church planting, Wesleyan missionaries and relief projects, Christian education, and in meeting local needs as God provides.
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In the early 1900's, within a radius of eight to ten miles of the Johnson Corners area, Sunday Schools were started in schools and homes by Mrs. O. H. Olson, Mr. Florence, Mrs. Zimmerman, Mr. E. E. Parrish, Mr. M. E. Jones, Mr. Jacob Klamm and Mr. B. G. Bucklin.
On June 13, 1916 the first of six annual camp meetings was held at Williams Grove in the Croff community southeast of Johnson Corners, with the Rev. Gilbertson from Taylor University as evangelist. Entire families came to the meeting with their teams and wagons, bringing food, bedding, and a milk cow.
In 1921, the Rev. A. M. Wiley, an evangelist from Dickinson, heard of these camp meetings and came to see if he could be of any assistance. He was the evangelist at the 1922 camp meeting which was victorious, and many expressed a desire for permanent work here. The Rev. Wiley brought this matter before the Dakota Conference of the Wesleyan Methodist Churches at Aberdeen, SD. The conference authorized their president, the Rev. J. F. Simpson, and the Rev. Wiley to make the trip to McKenzie County and investigate the needs and possibilities there. They stayed over Sunday, holding services at schools near Croff and Watford City. The Rev. Wiley decided to remain for a series of meetings, and this is considered to be the real beginning of the Wesleyan Methodist work in McKenzie County.
In October of 1923, the Rev. R. A. Wilson, known as “Rattlesnake Dick” because of his fearless and fiery preaching, held a revival in a dance hall at Johnson Corners. The Lord so transformed the community that there was no more need for a dance hall; the building was purchased and rebuilt as the Johnson Corners Church.
The church was officially organized on March 8, 1924, with a membership of forty-seven. After one year the Rev. L. D. Harris succeeded the Rev. Wilson and building of the church was immediately begun. The first couple married in the church were Claire and Lillie Harris on May 16, 1928. Johnson Corners shared their pastor with Watford City.
The church grew steadily until the early thirties when there were eighty-five members. The Depression, however, brought reverses. Many families moved to new locations. Pastors went without salaries but were happy to live with the meat and vegetables people brought to them.
In 1950, electric lights replaced the old gas lamps. A stoker was added to the furnace and new pews replaced the old handmade pews.
In 1955, Watford City and Johnson Corners felt the need of each church having its own pastor. Therefore, each group then sought for a a pastor of its own, thus making it necessary for the Johnson Corners group to build a parsonage. Construction started in the fall of 1957 and finished in February 1958; with a cost of $6,200.
An addition to the church was added in 1977, and an addition to the parsonage was added in 1979.
In the fall of 1982, Johnson Corners Christian Academy was started in the church with a total of fifteen students. It continued to grow and in 1992, a school was built. As school attendance declined with an aging population and as the old church became difficult to heat, it was decided to add a sanctuary onto the school building and share facilities.
November 12, 2006 was the first Sunday in the new sanctuary. The sanctuary was dedicated on Sunday, December 10, 2006 with the District Superintendent, Rev. Isaac Smith, and his wife Esther present. During the summer of 2011, a new parsonage was built debt-free.
As a result of an accident, a semi and frack tank went through the school building on September 17, 2012 during the school day. God miraculously spared the lives of all staff and students. The whole South East part of the building was rebuilt and storage space was added in the attic. In 2015 an entryway/stairwell addition was added to the church and a garage with a pastor's office was built next to the parsonage.
1922 - 1924 Rev. R.A. Wilson
1924 - 1928Rev. L.D. Harris
1928 - 1935 Rev. Thos. Bailie
1935 - 1939 Rev. A.T. Reisdorph
1939 - 1941 Rev. Raymond Sausoman
1941 - 1951 Rev. L.D. Harris
1951 - 1955 Rev. Thos. Bailie
1955 - 1958 Rev. Ellis Sollie
1958 - 1960 Rev. W.L. Cretsinger
1960 - 1964 Rev. B.D. Veeder
1964 - 1965 Rev. Rolland Fletcher
1965 - 1969 Rev. John Watson
1969 - 1977 Rev. William Wetmore
1977 - 1980 Rev. Reid Hettich
1980 - 1983 Rev. Clark Umfleet
1983 - 1989 Rev. David Phillippe
1989 - 1996 Rev. David Olmsted
1996 - 2018 Rev. Adrian Timmons