A HISTORY OF
KEYSTONE NAZARENE CHURCH
REMEMBERING WHAT GOD HAS DONE
GIVING FOR WHAT GOD WILL DO
For over 50 years Keystone Nazarene Church has sought to "Make Christlike Disciples in Okinawa."
God impacted our family's life during our time at Keystone in teaching us what it is to practically be part of the body of Christ; living life together on mission to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ and also be sent to help others do the same.
On April 15, 1962, a Bible study started in the home of missionaries, Doyle and Mattie Shepherd.
There were 19 present.
September 16, 1962 the church officially organized with 24 charter members under Pastor Thomas Blaxton (active military) using the building of the Japanese-speaking Mashiki Nazarene Church in Ginowan. Keystone was formed as an English-speaking Nazarene church to minister to US military personnel in Okinawa. The church soon outgrew the Mashiki facilities and raised $7,000 to enlarge that church.
From 1970-1975 George Taylorson pastored Keystone, during which time (1973) Pastor Miyagi came and established the Chatan Nazarene Church, a Japanese speaking congregation, at the current Keystone location. In 1975 a Chinese congregation began worshipping at the Keystone location, who in 1977 merged with the Chatan Nazarene Church.
In 1983, by Rev. Kennedy’s encouragement, the Chatan Nazarene church moved from Keystone and built their own building in Chatan. This was the first pastor that was not supported by the Nazarene World Missions department. At this point Keystone became fully self-supporting. From this time Keystone was in a very fragile financial position.
In 2010 Brian and Julie Woolery came from the Philippines to follow Rev. Dunn as pastor.
In 2011 Keystone became official member of the Japan Nazarene district and began contributing financially to the growth and welfare of Nazarene churches across the country.
In 2013 the church purchased a parsonage in Ginowan.
From 1962 - 1964 Doyle Shepherd pastored Keystone.
Wendell Woods came to pastor in 1964 and led the church in a program of securing land and constructing the current Keystone building. In 1968, having purchased land in Chatan, the current building of Keystone was constructed for a
total cost of $70,000. Rev. Woods was followed by William Kelvington (1968-1970) who was pastor at the dedication service.
When Pastor Forster served (1975-1980) the 2nd story on the building was completed, which became the pastor’s home.
Rev. Forster was followed by the pastorate of Dean Flemming (1980-1981), who was followed by David and Linda Kennedy.
Not long after pastor Levi & Bonnie Johnson came in 1984, the pastor moved off-site and 2nd floor was used for church education.
Rev. Johnson was followed by Paul and Lillian Harris (1988-1992). In 1992 Wayne and Connie LaForce came as pastor. During this time (July 1995) the church annex was built.
Robert and Connie Dunn came in 1997 to pastor, during which time the church renovated, expanding the foyer, replacing carpet and pews, and changing the balcony from a classroom to sanctuary seating.
me with men's
Keystone led me to Jesus and His salvation, and for that, I will forever be thankful.
We were a young couple, new to parenthood, and new to the island. Keystone was the close-knit, God-centered, and loving community we needed to help us stay rooted in His Word and mature in our faith.
Followers of Jesus at Keystone taught us about the disciplines of the Christian Faith and walked with us in them. Keystone was a safe place to ask questions and serve.
We learned to pray for nations that aren't ours and to have a heart for people who aren't like us.
God helped me overcome an addiction while at Keystone.