Rev. Mark Kohls delivers his sermon Sunday morning at North Creek Country Church on January 21, 2018. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)

Rev. Mark Kohls delivers his sermon Sunday morning at North Creek Country Church on January 21, 2018. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)

Standing the tests of time

A tight-knit congregation fills the pews of North Creek Country Church.

BOTHELL — A little country church has survived a change in times.

A dirt path out front became a four-lane highway connecting Bothell and Mill Creek. Businesses were built where trees once stood.

Inside, a tight-knit congregation sings traditional hymns from books. A pianist follows along.

Members tell stories about a Swedish immigrant who homesteaded the land where they worship, and how neighbors worked together to construct the building.

A new pastor hopes to honor the congregation’s 100-year history and make sure it has a long future.

The Rev. Mark Kohls officially joined North Creek Country Church last month.

He is not a preacher by trade.

He shuttles kids in the Northshore School District to class every day. In between morning and afternoon bus routes, he provides technology support to Microsoft’s human resources department.

The church’s former pastor, Jerry Back, recruited Kohls. Back joined the church as an interim pastor in 2011. His temporary stint turned into six years. He wanted to find the right person to lead the congregation before stepping down.

Kohls began attending Sunday services last year. He got to know the church’s 15 members.

“It’s a little bit like dating,” Kohls said. “You want to find out if they like you, and if you like them.”

There is something special about the friendly congregation.

A young man who lives locally is a frequent visitor. Sometimes he needs to get out of the house, Kohls said. He comes to the church and sits on the front stoop.

Members have invited him inside to join their potlucks.

It’s a place where people can “just be,” Kohls said.

Years ago, a quilting club met there. Boxing matches were held in the basement Saturday nights. Children would fill the room the next morning for Sunday school.

Kohls led his first Christmas Eve service in December. About 40 people filled the pews.

“This little church isn’t done,” he said.

Caitlin Tompkins: 425-339-3192;

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