In 1892, Everett was an unruly town rife with saloons, brothels and gambling houses.
That’s how Everett of 125 years ago is described in “Snohomish County: An Illustrated History,” a comprehensive book by noted local historians. Also that rough-and-tumble year, the civilizing influence of organized religion came to town.
Five Everett churches — First Baptist, First Presbyterian, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Our Savior’s Lutheran and Trinity Episcopal — trace their histories to 1892. All are marking 125th anniversaries this year.
“Celebrating God’s Love,” a 125th anniversary concert, will bring the congregations together Sunday afternoon. The concert is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday in the sanctuary of Everett’s First Presbyterian Church, 2936 Rockefeller Ave.
“The Everett Land Company office had a prayer service,” said Carolyn Hetherwick Goza, a First Presbyterian member along with her husband, Michael Goza. To get to those 1892 prayer meetings, the faithful walked Everett’s muddy streets, “past saloons and floozies,” she said.
“I grew up strict. You didn’t even play cards on the Sabbath,” said Carolyn Goza, who at Sunday’s concert will wear an 1892-style outfit, complete with a hoop skirt, old-fashioned hat, and lacy parasol suited to rainy Everett.
During the program, Goza plans to walk down the center aisle and share church history in a brief skit.
A combined choir from the churches, directed by Steve Torrence, will be among program highlights, said concert coordinators Tony and Lois Tyselling, members of First Baptist. Torrence is director of music ministries at First Presbyterian. That church’s organist, Gary Norris, will perform along with pianist Elizabeth Nelson.
John Sinkevitch, for many years the music minister at First Baptist Church, is scheduled to lead a hymn sing at the event. Also performing will be the Trinity Episcopal Choir under the direction of David Spring, Trinity’s music director.
Another history book, “This Train is Bound for Glory,” tells the story of “chapel cars.” In the late 1800s and early 1900s, more than a dozen rail cars served unchurched areas of the west.
The book tells how one of those train cars, “Evangel,” founded the First Baptist Church of Everett in 1892, a year before the city was incorporated. One surviving chapel car, the “Messenger of Peace,” is at the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie.
Of the five 125-year-old churches, four remain in central Everett. Only Our Savior’s Lutheran Church moved out of the city’s core, to Mukilteo Boulevard in the View Ridge neighborhood.
All five churches have rich histories. In their own ways, they all answer the call of today’s diverse spiritual and social needs.
Last week, Our Lady of Perpetual Help hosted the Everett Sausage Fest, an annual fundraiser supporting Catholic education. A mission group at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church has sponsored Socktoberfest, a dinner and socks drive to help people who are homeless.
Every Wednesday, First Presbyterian opens its doors for Dinner at the Bell, a meal program that serves people in need. First Presbyterian is also the site of a monthly support group for parents whose children struggle with mental health issues. Carolyn Goza, whose family suffered a tragedy related to mental illness, leads that group. She and her husband also teach a six-week class at the church, starting Oct. 23, that helps parents caring for young people with mental health challenges.
Goza, whose accent is an obvious clue to her Southern heritage, is a retired professor who taught special education in Texas, California and at Seattle Pacific University. Born in Jacksonville, Florida, she spent much of her life in New Orleans and Dallas.
For the 125th anniversary, Goza coaxed First Presbyterian members to share vintage recipes for a new cookbook. A few recipes come from her family, among them one she calls “Daddy’s Favorite Pie.”
On Sunday, she’ll look the part of a proper 1892 church lady. Goza, though, is a modern woman. With deep roots in her faith, she helps people coping with today’s problems. She serves on an advisory board of the North Sound Behavioral Health Organization.
Is she in the church choir? “I don’t have time to be a singer,” she said.
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; jmuhlstein@herald net.com.
“Celebrating God’s Love,” a concert recognizing five Everett churches marking 125th anniversaries, is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday at First Presbyterian Church of Everett, 2936 Rockefeller Ave. There will be a combined choir from the churches — First Baptist, First Presbyterian, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Our Savior’s Lutheran and Trinity Episcopal. A hymn sing, other music and a short drama about 1892 Everett will be part of the program. Concert free, but proceeds from a collection will benefit Catholic Community Services and Housing Hope.