News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Church has new name, reflecting independence

Westside Sisters Church has adopted a new name. The former satellite church of Westside Bend is changing their official title to Wellhouse Church and has acquired the Sisters Christian Academy preschool into its structure with additional plans to expand in the near future.

The title change came after long talks with board members and prophetic words about the direction of Westside Sisters Church. Visitors and members alike talked about the nature of worship and sermons, feeling the church to be a living resource and “a place that welcomes all people home.”

“Westside is a great name, but we have become our own family, a new church body,” said Jerry Kaping, lead pastor at Wellhouse Church. “Although we are thankful for everything Westside has done for us we are launching out to become our own, and we maintain a great relationship with Westside Bend.”

The separation from Westside Church Bend should not be misunderstood as a poor relationship with them, Kaping noted. Instead, Steve Mickel, lead pastor for Westside Bend, expressed his respect and blessing over the name change.

“They really gave us a great foundation,” Kaping said.

Wellhouse Church’s vision remains: Live in His Presence, Love His People, and build His Kingdom. Wellhouse Church will make disciples, create community, and train and equip saints for works of service.

The former Bread of Life food pantry, under the direction of Westside Sisters, will change to Wellhouse Market, where they will continue to feed and provide groceries for up to 80 families a week.

Wellhouse Church has also adopted the preschool program from the recently shuttered Sisters Christian Academy. Following an application with the state to offer the Preschool Promise program — where financially struggling families can receive assistance — Wellhouse Church is looking to provide before- and after-care, summer care, and holiday and vacation care for preschool aged children. Pending approval, the program will provide a free place for qualifying families as well education for kids in Sisters.

Those familiar with teachers from Sisters Christian Academy will appreciate the new head of the preschool program. Mary Ryan, Head Teacher and Director at the former Sisters Christian Academy was hired by Wellhouse to continue the preschool program and maintain the reputation of excellent education.

For Wellhouse Church the expansion goes beyond names and preschool. With plans to expand in the future into the empty lot at 332 Trinity Way, and a remodel of the old New Hope Church, now leased by Wellhouse Church, their plans involve years of growth. The church will start with an initial expansion of the auditorium and restructuring of the lobby, increasing their seating to 700.

Following years will see the development of the new Wellhouse Bible College — the only one in Central Oregon — currently pending state approval. Additional facilities will be built on campus to accommodate students and additional expansion within their current building for classroom and office space.

“It is our desire to be able to resource the citizens in Sisters school district and surrounding areas,” said Kaping. “To provide a safe place of worship and help educate, train, and equip every generation that makes Central Oregon their home or comes to visit us for a short time.”


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