Image Credit: Eve Rusk

Salmon Church Breaks Ground

It was a gloomy, cloudy, windy day. The forecast called for rain in Salmon, Idaho. In the hearts of the Salmon Church members, though, it was a day filled with promise and some sadness — promise, because they were breaking ground on a long-awaited parsonage, and sadness because one of the leading members in the process of raising funds for the parsonage wasn’t there.

Cindy Ford, a Salmon Church member, had passed away before she could see the results of the work she had done.

Over the years, the Salmon Church community has built a church, a school (which now serves as the community services building) and, with the assistance of Maranatha, a new school building. This new project, the Cindy Ford Parsonage, will fill a great need. It is being built next to the school and the community services building. Because of its remote location from any other church in the conference, the church is assigned a half-time pastor. Like many other locations in Idaho, finding housing is challenging.

Salmon is a beautiful, small town that helps each other. With a population of 3,277 and the nearest Walmart 136 miles away in Missoula, Montana, neighbors need to help each other. The Salmon Church is very involved in their community. Part of the fundraising for the new parsonage was from an auction, organized by Cindy Ford. Ford’s memorial service was held just hours before the auction on which she had worked so hard.

Tom Lighthall, the current half-time pastor, led out in the groundbreaking service. Dan Davis, head elder, opened the service with prayer. Shiela Johnson shared a history of the Salmon Church, which was founded around 1933. Gay Joers shared the song “Bless This House,” performed a cappella in the wind. John Cranney said a prayer of dedication. David Prest Jr, Idaho Conference president, shared a message for those who gathered.

Although the wind blew and the clouds continued to roll in, the rain held off. And although Cindy Ford's presence was missed, a golden shovel with her name on it had been prepared. Tom Lighthall painted the shovels with gold paint.

The groundbreaking ceremony included Salmon Church members as well as community members: Jerry Wycoff; David Prest Jr.; Brett Barsalou, former sheriff and current Lemhi County commissioner; Leo Marshall, Salmon mayor; Gary Goodman, project manager; Rick Snyder, Lemhi County commissioner; and Susan Schaffner. Also participating were Fords's husband, Gary, and her mother, Sharon Clark.. A golden shovel with Cindy's name on it was placed in front.

A month later, the foundation was excavated by John Cranney. And now, the foundation has been poured and trusses are up thanks to all who are volunteering their time to build the Cindy Ford Parsonage.

If you would like to help the church with their continuing fundraising, contact the church at or by phone at 208-756-6801.

Featured in: July/August 2022


Eve Rusk

Idaho Conference communication director