Pastor Todd McKeown, the new pastor for the Oso Community Chapel. (Daniella Beccaria / For the Herald)

Pastor Todd McKeown, the new pastor for the Oso Community Chapel. (Daniella Beccaria / For the Herald)

New pastor at Oso church seeks to connect with the community

OSO — A new pastor at the Oso Community Chapel sees the church entering a different season of its spiritual life.

More young families are attending, and a Sunday school is being developed.

It’s time for a new chapter, after two years of being in disaster-response mode, said Todd McKeown, the 36-year-old pastor.

He and wife, Bobbi, are living in the Oso area with their two children. June 1 marked six months for him at the church along Highway 530. He was born in Seattle and grew up in Southern California.

“I heard about Oso from the mudslide, probably like most people,” he said. “And I just thought God might be able to use me in a way that might be productive for the community. The country setting is something I love, the small town church is something that’s important.”

He’s seen how the church is steeped in the history of the Stillaguamish Valley, he said. The chapel is more than a century old. It was started when Oso was a logging and railroad hub.

McKeown has been making connections within the church and the community. That’s been more important to him than making changes, he said.

“Just entering into people’s lives, for me, has been the most significant part of the ministry,” he said. “It’s relationships that I’m trying to build that aren’t just flash-in-the-pan relationships, but something that is long lasting for the kingdom of God, for people to know they are loved and that we can really truly be friends.”

The church is not without needs. The worship leader is moving away, and volunteers are needed to serve as the worship pastor on Sundays. That would give the church time to find the right person to fill the spot, McKeown said.

Sunday services start at 10 a.m., with Bible study held at 7 p.m. Wednesdays. A youth group meets every month or so.

The church also takes part in Days For Girls, an international movement to provide feminine hygiene kits in developing countries. The Oso chapter meets from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the third Thursday of every month.

Donations accepted for the Days For Girls program include 100 percent cotton fabric, 100 perfect flannel fabric, small bars of soap, gallon-size freezer bags, 100 percent cotton thread and new washrags. People also can give cash, organizer Nancy Vos said. For more information on that program, email

For more information about other church activities, email McKeown at

Rikki King: 425-339-3449;

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