The History of Bellows Avenue Church of the Nazarene

By:Connie Conrad

Rev. H.W. Welsh, an ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene, suffered a severe sick spell in March, 1932 which kept him out of the gospel work for six months and left him in such a physical condition he could not continue in the field of evangelism.

While recuperating he got a burden upon his heart for a needy district in the city of Columbus.After much prayer and conference with Rev. C.A. Gibson, a building was rented at the corner of Rich and McDowell Streets where Rev. Welsh continued for over a year with apparently little success.Feeling that they were in the wrong location, a building was rented in May, 1934 on Sullivant Avenue where services were carried on until August 26, 1935 when a church of the Nazarene was organized with twenty-two charter members.Within a year the building in which the services were being held was sold, and the little band of Nazarenes were forced to seek other quarters.So on August 25, 1936 we bid farewell to the storeroom at 917 Sullivant Avenue, and the following Sunday, services were held at the home of Brother I.J Spitler, 876 Campbell Avenue.A tent was then secured and pitched on Cypress Avenue, between Campbell and Bellows, and there the little band of saints worshiped God until the tent was torn by winds and the weather was so cold they again were forced to secure other quarters..Another storefront was rented at 977 Sullivant Avenue in October, 1936

In the meantime at one of our services, the pastor, Rev. Welsh was handed two dimes which was the beginning of a building fund, and with God and twenty cents the pastor negotiated to buy two lots at the corner of Cypress and Bellows Avenues.This was a great step of faith, but God marvelously answered prayer and on our first anniversary as a church, August 26, 1936 the first shovelful of dirt was removed and a basement church was under way.God alone knows the trials and tests that the pastor and his heroic band had to go through, but in the midst of it all God was leading his dear children along; and on December 22, 1936 let us march triumphantly into our basement church, and for the first time we were worshiping God under our own roof.Of course the battle was still hard, the depression was on, and many said like Sandballet of old, “What do these feeble folks?Will they fortify themselves?Will they sacrifice?”But amid the taunts of the world, the jeers of the unbelievers, and the doubts of many of those who claimed God; the work was carried on and on September 10, 1939 we moved into our new auditorium.Like the Jews of Nehemiah’s time our people had a “mind to work” and “so built we the wall.”

Time would fail to tell of the saints of God and the sacrifices they made in order to have this place of worship to dedicate today.To all those who have contributed we say, “God bless you.”We appreciate your friendship and contributions and trust that in the day that god makes up His jewels you may be among the number.

We have toiled, sacrificed, and prayed that God may give us a place of worship where the glorious gospel of full salvation can be preached.This church was not built as a place of entertainment but as a place where God can be met and worshipped; a place where weary, tired, lost souls can come and find peace and salvation; and a place where the inspired Word of God, in all its fullness may be preached with the power of the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven.

If the time should ever come (God forbid) when this building shall be otherwise used, it will have been perverted from its God appointed mission and purpose.Its purpose is expressed in the words of our Lord, “My house shall be called a house of prayer.”

May God grant that this building stand as a lighthouse to tens of thousands of weary souls until Jesus comes to catch his waiting bride in the earnest prayer of the members and the pastor.


Additional Construction


1956 Kitchen, Dining room, classrooms, and offices

1985 New kitchen was added


Pastors of Bellows Avenue / Lower Lights Community Church of the Nazarene

1934 – August 1940 Howard W. Welch

1940 – 1944 Asa Sparks

1944 – 1945 C.E. Ryder

May 1945 – December 1960 James Everett

January 1961 – 1968 Ralph Sherman

April 15, 1968 – September 24, 1976 James Calvert

December 1976 – November 25, 1984 Loren Shaffer

December 1984 – June 1986 Paul Burkley

August 6, 1986 – December 1988 Ed Grindley

January 1, 1989 – March 2008 Jane & David Fulks, Sr.

April 2008 - Present Mike Vallangeon


Major Developments


1991 Lower Lights Ministries was incorporated

February 2002 Lower Lights Christian Health Center was opened

2006 Church name changed to Lower Lights Community Church of the Nazarene