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Copalis Beach Circa 1933

History of Copalis Community Church

In October of 1933 20-year old Newt Rasor sat in a wooden chair waiting for the Copalis Beach school commissioner’s decision on his request to use the school for a weekly Sunday School class. The previous Sunday Newt’s pastor in nearby Aberdeen challenged everyone to do something for Christ and not just sit there in church, which is why Newt sat before the school commissioners waiting for their answer. 

One of the commissioners spoke for the others when he told Newt, “There will be a Sunday School in this school over my dead body!” Dejected, but still hopeful, young Newt realized that if there was going to be an outreach in Copalis Beach, it would take a miracle. What Newt didn’t know was that God had gone before him and prepared the miracle, which was 14-year old Evelyn Burlingame. Evelyn’s family had moved from Aberdeen to Copalis Beach that summer and she was disappointed that there was no Sunday School to attend, so she started praying, asking God to provide a place for her to worship and learn about God. 

A week after Newt’s rejection he received word that the “over my dead body” commissioner had died unexpectedly that week! Sensing God’s hand in the situation, he attended the next school commissioner’s meeting to resubmit his request and, to his delight and God’s glory, the other commissioners were now more than happy to allow a Sunday School class in the school on Sunday mornings. Young Evelyn Burlingame witnessed first-hand the power of God, seeing that “nothing is impossible with God.” Her prayers not only helped start the Sunday School, but, the following year, a regular church service was added. Several years later she would meet her future husband, a new teacher at nearby Ocean City, when he attended church in Copalis Beach. Even though she and her husband moved to Union Gap, WA, in the1950’s, she continued to support Copalis Community Church financially and with her prayers her whole life. 

Newt faithfully pastored the small church at Copalis Beach through the depression and WW II years. In the early 1950’s he met young Margaret Sealy at a Bible camp in Grayland, WA. They fell in love and married after a year of courtship and the small church really took off when the new town of Ocean Shores was established nearby in the early 60’s. To accommodate the growing congregation, a beautiful new church was built in 1967. 

Newt and Margaret raised 5 children and enjoyed over 50 years of marriage in Copalis Beach. Together, they impacted 3 generations of North Beach families the 59 years Newt pastored there. 100’s of men, women and children were led to Jesus Christ during their ministry there and their legacy lives on among the many people who are faithfully serving Jesus with their lives. One of Newt’s favorite sayings was, “You can’t out give God,” and he was living proof of that. 

Paster Richards began attending Copalis Community Church in 1978 after moving there in the spring of that year. In the fall of 1979 I received a call from God to serve Him in the ministry and left Copalis Beach in January of 1980 to minister with Village Missions for 12 years. In January of 1992 Newt called and asked me to follow in his footsteps, which I did, becoming the second pastor at Copalis Community Church in June of 1992. Newt is with the Lord now, but in October of this year (2019) the church he started celebrated 86 years of ministry in Copalis Beach. Even though Copalis Beach has experienced hardships and is now just a wide place in the road, God continues to bless the church with His presence in people’s lives there. 

In 1966 the church faced financial hardships and was tempted to take a loan to finish building the new sanctuary. Newt was driving to Lake Quinault one afternoon when the Lord spoke to him, promising, “Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” (Psalm 81:10) Newt continued “opening his mouth”, preaching the Word, and God faithfully provided for the church’s needs up until the present time. We do not proclaim ourselves, but Jesus Christ who died, was buried, and rose again to redeem a people for Himself. We proclaim that nothing is impossible with God and we live to exalt Him. He is worthy!