The congregation of St. Nicholas began its corporate life in
the fall of 1968 under the leadership of the Rev. Donald
J. Maddux. The first service was held on September 8, 1968 in
an unused one-room school house in Tahuya. The cupboards
and blackboards were covered with curtains and the desks
were replaced by pews from the Church of the Holy Spirit on
Vashon Island. The pews are still in use today in the present
church building.
The name was selected by Bishop Ivol Ira Curtis from a list of
three names suggested by Fr. Maddux. St. Nicholas was picked
because of his association with Advent and Christmas, a good
tie-in with the Christmas trees harvested annually in the area.
The first entry of the church register on September 8, 1968
noted, “On this date, the Tahuya church opened with ancient
furnishings in the school building. The power failed, but we
sang two hymns and the doxology without the organ. The sun
shone, so we got along without electric lights.”
The school building was a start for the church, and quite a
bargain at a rent of $25.00 per month, with the school district
paying the utilities. To help the church find a permanent home,
the building fund was started on May 27, 1969.
A new log building, built of native materials to harmonize
with its wooded creek side site, was dedicated on Saturday, April
20, 1974 by Bishop Curtis.
For the initial building of the church, the Ladies Guild
pledged $250 per month toward the full amount of the mortgage
payment. This pledge was raised through the Salmon Bake,
spaghetti feeds, bake sales, haggle sales, etc. and continued until
the burning of the mortgage on Sunday, November 22, 1992.
In the summer of 1976, Randall McCarty installed the
Emmons Howard pipe organ. This organ, obtained from
the Organ Clearing House, was built in 1890 and used in
several eastern churches before finding a home at St. Nicholas.
Members of the Organ Historical Society occasionally come
to Tahuya to hear this fine old instrument. A decorative gate,
hand-forged by a local artisan, was installed to protect the organ.
St. Nicholas serves the community of Tahuya, a vacation and
retirement community on the North Shore of the Hood Canal
(across the water from St. Andrew’s House). Members of the
congregation serve the area in many ways, supporting the local
fire department, tutoring at local schools and assisting at the
food bank, etc. The Salmon Bake, held each summer, features
alder-smoked salmon and involves both church members and
the wider community.