North Pole Chapel was started in 1954 by Richard Teeter. He built the first building which was a log church.When he left, the members of the church and the board learned that they were not currently affiliated with the Assemblies of God.The board asked the National Home Missions Department of the Assemblies of God for affiliation and to help them with their financial burden.B.P. Wilson met with them in a business session, and fully explained the involvement of such a step.With full knowledge of the process, they voted to be affiliated with the Assemblies of God in 1956.
Paul and Margueite Bills had first come to North Pole upon their arrival in Alaska.The members of the congregation were familiar with his ministry. He had previously been serving as pastor in Beaver. They asked if it would be possible for him to pastor the North Pole Assembly.He responded to their invitation and was installed as pastor on February 17, 1957.A small house at 7½ mile Richardson Highway was given by the Home Missions Department for the North Pole Assembly.The church later sold the house, and the Bills moved into a mobile home placed near the church.
They had only recently secured insurance on the church.One night his wife awakened him saying, “The church is on fire!”He responded as quickly as possible not even putting on his shoes.He went out through the snow and into the church to rescue his expensive guitar and his fur parka.He crawled along the floor to attempt to get his guitar.For some reason he stood and nearly lost his life in the heat and gases.God’s mercy was with him.
The local fire department responded and put the fire out before it completely destroyed the building.There was, however, a great loss.The inspector who investigated the fire came to the conclusion that without question it was arson.Another fire inspector brought to light the person who was guilty.
In response to the loss, B. P. Wilson and C. V. Malcom went to the scene to evaluate the loss and see what could be done to help. While there, Sister Bills started driving to Fairbanks to do some necessary laundry, using the family car.In a short time, she returned in a pick up and went to the house, saying nothing.Brother Bills went into the house to see what was wrong.When he returned he said, “Let’s go.”Brother Bills and Brother Wilson got into a car and drove out onto the slippery highway for a few miles.There was Bills’ family car with all for wheels in the air and the car resting on its top.It was the last time the car ever ran on its own power.They had skid out of control and the car ended on its top without hurting the passengers.
The Pentecostal Evangel ran an article making an appeal to the readers for financial help after the accidents.The Evangel received $73.13 from its readers earmarked for the church, but because insurance money rebuilt the building so that it is was much nicer than before, they sent the money along with some other gifts to Brother Bills.This caused concern with the board because the Evangel failed to tell them of their decision.The Bills received money for a new car.The people responded to the need in such a way that the fire and accident proved to help rather than hinder the work of the Lord.The Bills remained as Pastor of the North Pole Assembly until July 1958.
Afterwards David Schmidt became the Pastor and stayed until March 1959.
Rev. Ralph Miller followed the Schmidts. He remained as pastor 9½ years.During his ministry, he built a log parsonage on a concrete foundation.The building was not large but was beautiful and practical.He sold the church they had been using in late 1965 to the United Pentecostal Church for $7,500, and had started construction for a new church building in May 1965.The building was contracted in faith on a beautiful lot give to the church by Dave Ainley [the site of the present church].They occupied the building as soon as possible, then continued to complete it.
Rev. Hervel Hensley was Pastor from November 1968 to May 1969.
Rev. Roland Peretti pastored the church after Hensley and in 1977 they built the basement for a larger church.They had already built a very important addition which in the end will connect the two buildings.The addition for the larger church (our current day sanctuary) was completed in 1979, and with the development of the New Richardson Highway the church was in on the approach from the highway into town [North Pole].The new sanctuary was dedicated on October 4, 1981.
Rev. Peretti remained pastor for 23 years, and in 1992, Rev. Gordan Welk became the new senior pastor.Welk remained pastor until 1999, and was followed by Rev. Dennis Huenefeld. Rev. Huenefeld remained senior pastor for 9 years and resigned in 2008.
In February 2009, Rev. Damian Schoonmaker became the lead pastor.He ministered to the Assembly for just over 1 year and resigned in June 2010.During his short time at North Pole Assembly of God, he led the church in several building projects, giving the church more of a modern feel in order to appeal to more people in appearance.With the help of a MAPS team, he led the remodel of the sanctuary, the building of the office space and coffee bar, and a remodel of the front entry to include a handicap ramp.
Rev. Billy and Aubrey Welch were voted in, September 2010, and remain at North Pole Assembly of God as lead pastor, serving the church and the community as the Lord leads.
To God be the glory for the wonderful legacy this church holds!