Trail Christian fellowship came into being the way many churches do, in a living room where a group of Christian friends gather regularly to pray, meditate on the Scriptures, and share the life that Christ has given them. In our case it was Steve and Sylvia McCuistion’s living room up on Ragsdale Road in tiny Trail, Oregon. In the late 1970s, a handful of Christian brothers and sisters were meeting on Wednesday nights. They invited Guy Gray, a young pastor from Medford, to come and teach the Word. He made the forty mile round trip every week. As the home fellowship continued to gather it occurred to them that they should plant a church. Prayer led (as it so often does) to action, which turns out (as it so often does) to be providence on the move. Guy told his pastor friend Jon, who knew a pastor friend, Rick, who was on staff at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa in Orange County, California. Rick and his young family were looking for God’s direction in starting a church, having already explored other regions in the Northwest over the previous summer. Within months, the Booyes, Rick, Barb, Kristen (3) and Kelly (1) transplanted from the bean fields and business centers of Orange County to the forests and homesteads of the Upper Rogue Valley.
The first Sunday morning meeting of The Trail Christian Fellowship happened in January of 1980. There were about ten of us, plus kids … and dogs. We met through the winter and into spring, the McCuistions’ woodstove warming us morning by morning. When we outgrew the home setting, we moved to the Elk Trail School Cafeteria, perched on Trail Creek just a few miles up Highway 62. People kept coming to Christ and coming to church, so we migrated regularly, foraging for enough square footage to accommodate us. Over the next four years we used the Elk Trail School Gym, Shady Cove Grange, the Shady Cove School Multipurpose Room, the Shady Cove Gym, and the Shady Cove Community Center, as the body increased to roughly 300 souls. When the Shady Cove Gym burned to the ground and we crowded into the Community Center it seemed the Lord was calling us to buy property and build something of our own. He supplied the land and the money and since 1985 we have been at our present location, a 10 acre campus on a 20 acre piece of property just south of Shady Cove. We retained the name Trail because, though we are now located between Shady Cove and Eagle Point, we couldn’t agree on a new name. The Lord christened us Trail Christian Fellowship and we decided that moving to Shady Cove didn’t change that. We currently number around 1500 and see a steady stream of people coming to Christ.
The message around which our fellowship has grown is the gospel of Jesus Christ – the good news that Christ is the risen king of the universe, offering forgiveness and new life in his name to all who put simple faith in him. Our theology is of the classic evangelical sort and our worship style is casual, contemporary, and centered on the exposition of the Scriptures with a constant emphasis on the Cross of Christ. If there is any “secret” to our growth it is the open secret of the gospel itself, which has the power to change lives, heal sin, and transform society. Jesus Christ Is Lord. Soli Deo Gloria.