The story of Camano Chapel began in the late 1940's when a group of people felt the need for a community church to be built. Two acres of land were purchased and building began in 1949 at the present site. Leader Clarence Dirks had played football for the Washington Huskies and was a writer for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper. The articles he wrote about an island community building a church inspired people to send donations.
In 1951 the building now known as Wayland Sanctuary was completed and the leaders asked Billy Graham–who was in Seattle at the time for a crusade–to come and dedicate the new church. Thousands gathered for the dedication and many came to know Christ. An offering was given to Billy Graham but he, in turn, gave it back to the church; it was just enough to pay the final bills.
In 1967 the church was on the verge of closing its doors when the leaders heard about a group called Village Missions. Village Missions would help pay the salary for a pastor so he could work full time reaching out to the community. In August 1967 Village Missions sent Pastor John Duckworth and family to Camano Chapel. But because of poor health he was forced to leave the ministry in May 1968.
Village Missions then sent Pastor Bill and Gayle Wayland in June 1968. The church began to grow and God brought great blessings. In 1973 Jackson Hall was built for Sunday school classes. There were some who couldn’t understand why we were building such a big building; we would never fill it. That building now houses the pastoral and administrative offices. In 1980 the gymnasium (“Montgomery Hall”) was built so we could reach the youth of our community. In 1985 the Christian Education building (“Harrington Hall”) was begun. In 1992 the platform and rooms on the north and east sides of the gym were added to facilitate worship services, which had moved there in 1983.
Pastor Bill and Gayle Wayland retired in 1996 to begin a ministry of encouragement to Village Missions pastors. Pastor Kris and Joyce Kramer arrived in early 1997, and Camano Chapel continues to grow. In 2003 Island County approved a site plan for future expansion, the most immediate need being increased classroom space for both Sunday and midweek ministry use. Without incurring debt, construction began in 2008. Work continues as donations allow. Longer-range plans include additional multi-purpose meeting and office space, as well as a larger worship center.
The story of Camano Chapel will never end until our Lord Jesus Christ returns. Until then, we desire to continue to reach our community by being a “Harbor of Hope … Shining Light to the World.”